Snack Time: Review of opening night showing of ‘Catching Fire’

A flaming bird? This seems like an excellent way to start a forest fire. Smokey the Bear would not be pleased.

A flaming bird? This seems like an excellent way to start a forest fire. Smokey the Bear would not be pleased.

Rated PG-13, 146 minutes (watched 11/21/13 and 11/24).

After reading the book, I wasn’t sure how Catching Fire would work as a movie. There’s a lot of exposition and – just like the first movie – we get another tribute-filled battle in a techno arena. Katniss shoots a bow and arrow. Peeta moons over Katniss even though she kinda/sorta/not really has a thing for Miley Cyrus’s ex. (I hope those crazy kids can #twerkitout.) As it turns out, it actually works better than the first in the Hunger Games trilogy.

Jennifer Lawrence is again brilliant as Katniss, the reluctant and emerging catalyst to revolution among impoverished citizens against the absurdly decadent Capitol. For a story that spends significant screen time world-building before we get back to gladiatorial, to-the-death reality TV, it moves along at a good enough pace and I was never bored, even in the second viewing.

Lawrence/Katniss is/are of course the heroines of the production and the plot, but puppy-dog loyal Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), earnest fop Effie (Elizabeth Banks) and new battle royale contestants Joanna and Finnick (Jena Malone and Sam Clafin) are all simply good. Woody Harrelson as the hard-drinking, grizzled death match veteran, Donald Sutherland as the dictator who may be losing his grip on power and ringmaster Phillip Seymour Hoffman all turn in deliciously fun and watchable performances, which is to say they do exactly what you’d expect them to do. Then there’s Stanley Tucci playing the talk show host to end all talk show hosts. His insane grin is reason enough to watch this movie.

It’s noteworthy that unlike The Hunger Games, this movie HAS NO SHAKY CAM. Huzzah!

photo 1

All that’s wonderful, but what’s the movie’s grade? I’m in a hurry here, buddy.
4/5 killer mutant monkeys. I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend it.

Where do I know that guy from?
Who, Woody Harrelson? Well, he’s been in a lot of things you’ve probably seen, but lately I’ve been watching Cheers on Netflix and he’s hilarious in it. Since he works in a bar, it’s kind of fun to imagine it’s a spiritual prequel to his alcoholic character in the HG trilogy.

What is the star’s spirit animal?
LEOPARD.

What color socks are you wearing right now?
Grey with purple polka dots.

Spoiler alert!
Donald Sutherland is not a real life evil dictator. Also, I would like Phillip Seymour Hoffman to read me bedtime stories.

Megan’s Take:
She loved it. I believe the word “Awesome” was used. (5/5)

Heard any good jokes lately?
What do you call a fish with no eyes? A “fsh.”

Snacks eaten:
Popcorn with M&Ms mixed in, two Diet Pepsis (no spilling of the popcorn this time). We went and saw it again three days later and – having just eaten Chinese food – did not get any refreshments.

Unrelated Word of the Day:
Homologate hoh-MAH-luh-gaytverb : to sanction or allow; especially : to approve or confirm officially

Would the movie have been any better with the addition of Morgan Freeman as narrator?
No. Since the books are told in first person present, if there was ever a time to use a narrator, this would have been it. But I’m just not convinced people would buy Morgan Freeman as a 17-year-old girl. 21 or 22, sure, but 17? That’s just a stretch.

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