(EDITOR’S NOTE: I do not like to unveil too much of a movie’s story line in case anyone has not yet seen it. Therefore I will try to be as vague as possible, which for me, is easy.)
Contrary to their titles, movies in “The Hunger Games” series are not about food or the lack thereof. Come to think of it, I saw more snacks being gobbled down in the theater than on the screen, but what’s new? Not many people seem to want to watch a movie without eating, a practice in which I do not participate because it distracts me from what is happening on the screen.
I had seen “The Hungers Games” a couple of months ago, and was a big fan, so I decided to plop down a few bucks and see the sequel. And while overall I did enjoy the movie, it contained a few “minor” things that bugged the daylights out of me. I am not sure if this is because of my OCD tendencies or not. You be the judge.
First of all, I would advise everyone to see the first movie in the series before viewing the sequel. If you have already seen it, see it again, as this will refresh your memory to the details. If you haven’t, then it’s a good idea because it will take you a while to figure out what is going on. The sequel may not stand on its own, so it’s important to do your homework.
What’s the Buzz?
In its simplest of explanations, “The Hunger Games” are all about dissention and rebellion in an oppressive state. To keep the masses under control, a group of young people are selected to compete in a brutal game of survival. Much more than that, I do not wish to say.
Academy Award-winner Jennifer Lawrence (above left) plays Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist and a competitor in the games. Lawrence may be the most in-demand American actress in film these days, and rightly so. Her performances are always captivating and believable. And her portrayal of the rebellious heroine with deadly bow and arrow accuracy has teenage girls flocking to this picture as she struggles to survive while thumbing her nose at President Snow (Donald Sutherland – above right), the white-bearded, iron-fisted, food hoarder with a penchant for white lapel flowers.
The good news about “HG 2: Catching Fire” is that if you liked the first movie, you will probably like this one as well. The movie never lacks for drama, and the acting is first rate. And though the film most likely falls in the science fiction/fantasy genre, it does not overly-rely on special effects, (always a good thing in my book). You will never be bored. The film has plenty of excitement.
Then What’s the Problem?
I am so glad you asked. The problem I had with this movie was in continuity and consistency between this and the first in the series. To put it plainly: the numbers just didn’t add up. And for a person like me – with OCD – this can be beyond distracting.
I movie terms, “continuity” means keeping all the details consistent from scene to scene. For example, if the hero drives off in a red car, she can’t arrive at her destination in a blue one. Everything needs to match up, or be consistent, or else your movie could turn out to be a disaster. Since I am very detail-oriented, I sometimes pick up on mistakes that were missed when the movie was being made. If the mistakes are big enough, or numerous, it can ruin a movie for me. I found one distracting mistake in HG 2: arrows.
Katniss Everdenn is an accomplished archer who thwarts her foes by shooting them with arrows. Everyone noticed this. But did anyone else notice that she never ran out of them? I did. And that is why I started counting. Whenever I had the chance, I counted the arrows in her quiver, and then the amount that she shot. There were times when she ran out – had none left at all – and then they magically appeared. This drove me crazy. Only once in the movie dis she say “let’s get supplies” (or something similar) and I breathed a sigh of relief.
The reason this drove me crazy was because this is an easy fix for a director. All you have to do is to have her picking up an arrow or two from the ground or pull them out of her foe and put them back into the quiver. After that, the fact is established that she “restocks her supply” after every fight.
Now I may need some help on this one from “Hunger Games” experts, so if you have the answer, please let me know. I am having an awful problem “doing the math” of this movie.
In the first movie, it was established that there were 12 districts, and 2 young people from each district would compete in the games. So far so good. But in HG 2, the rules were changed to make only past winners compete. We’re still okay but getting close to thin ice now.
It was stated in the first movie that each game had only 1 winner except for last year, when there were 2. That would mean that you would need the winners from 22 other years to fill the slots in the current games – and since the games were only held once a year, the age span among the current contestants would have to be a minimum of 22 years.
Of course this could only be possible if each and every district won exactly twice over that time span. The odds against this mathematic dispersion are very high.
We can solve this problem by saying that there were multiple winners (more than at least 2) from each district, but that creates another problem: the larger the pool of contestants, the greater the age span must be. If you saw HG 2, then you would agree that most of the contestants were roughly in the same age range, with one or two exceptions.
So, does this matter? Does anyone notice? Maybe most people don’t, but I do. This is who I am. Maybe I am a math geek, or just overly-observant. It doesn’t matter. It’s part of my personality. Did it ruin the movie for me? No. I liked it a lot. Would I have liked it better if it had none of those problems (for me)? Yes!
There are lots of things I can overlook in a movie and still enjoy it: inconsistent math, minor plot glitches, or an absence of Fritos. But if there is something BIG that bothers me, that will do the trick. The one thing that I did not like about HG 2 was that I wanted to see more of an uprising of the masses to battle the government. This was never accomplished. Instead, we had too much of a rehashing of the first movie: too much emphasis on the games and not enough on the politics. I felt that “The Hunger Games 2: Catching Fire” was simply made to take us from the first movie to the third one – and that annoyed me.
But I would still recommend the movie if you are a fan! I did enjoy it (despite the math).