Thursday, November 28, 2013

Catching Fire Tenchi Review

Happy Hunger Games everyone. And may the odds be ever in your favor. Well except if your name is Peeta. Or Katniss. Or the other 22 Victors in the 3rd Quarter Quell. Really anyone in District 12 or any of the Districts....
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How will all the people in this picture fare in the second movie?
So yes. The second movie in the Hunger Games trilogy (oh wait, gotta milk the franchise more, make Mockingjay 2 parts!) has come to theater. And so far it looks like it is blowing all the competition out of the water. Take that Thor. When the Hunger Games came to theater last year I researched the movie a bit before I went to see it. Immediately after said movie we ran to the bookstore and bought all three books in a 24 hour period the next chance I got and the rest was history. Slowing waiting for the next movie, picking apart the last movie, and trying to find out any info/pics before Catching Fire came out. Oh and the fanfics. So many fanfics. So much wasted time...sorry anime blog.

Well after a minor set back (thanks food poisoning) and battling rude movie neighbors (why do people have to talk the entire time?!) we have finally seen Catching Fire. Rejoice the world, there will always be horrible ways to torture and maim people. So what is the Tenchi verdict?

Well...I don't know. Catching Fire was better than the Hunger Games. Well at least maybe visually anyway. But is that fair because the arena was so much more grand in the second book anyway? I went into the first movie not knowing about the book but now I can see how things were skipped over. A lot was skipped over for the second one as well (which I will cover) but at the core the message was there. I mean at the end of the first movie nonbook readers didn't KNOW that Katniss was not in love with Peeta. Kinda a big deal. This movie felt much more dire when things were supposed to be bad in the first. I don't know, I just know the second one was better.
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Where was this Finnick in the arena?!
The thing that bothered me the most about the movie was Finnick. Almost all about him and his scenes. I think the actress playing Katniss is too tall and imposing to be Katniss but (at times) she played Katniss how Katniss would be. The actor who played Finnick was...not Finnick. I don't think he was handsome enough. That might sound vain for me to stay but in the book it is like Finnick is Adonis. People in the Capital are tripping over themselves to sleep with him. The man playing Finnick is cute yes but not...Capital sex god. Perhaps it was all too much to live up to. However there was not enough Finnick The scene with the sugar cubes was almost a check list scene. Like got the sugar cubes, check. Like the real meaning of the scene was lost since it was forced. I know scenes were cut but this one almost played out in full and it was off. Finnick in the arena was almost robotic, borderline...something. Not evil but you know. I mean the Finnick that everyone knows and loves would not say cannons are music to his ears, even if it was for the cameras. I did like the glance after Peeta was brought back to life but...unforgivable Finnick didn't cry after Mag's death. How hard would it have been to add Katniss taking watch and having her hear Finnick cry? Him saying that Mags didn't have a chance and not following it up with his real made Finnick look cold hearted. He didn't have time to shine.
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Oh Katniss is having a bad day? Poor Katniss. GET IN LINE!
Johanna on the other hand was shining all over the place. She didn't get the memo she was a sidekick and not the actual Mockingjay. I thought her Caesar interview was way too in your face when I saw it. Then when I thought about it later....if other things were going get cut adding that in there made sense. Perhaps a bit more subtle after the Jabberjays as her simple message in the book was enough. I don't think anyone walked away confused on Johanna though. It was clear she was annoyed at this whole thing but went out of her way to help Katniss. While I thought it made no sense to have Johanna and Katniss alone backstage it set the tone well. Katniss thought all the Victors were crazy, especially after the elevator scene (MOG Katniss' face) but Johanna reminded Katniss who the real enemy was again.
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We are a team.
Another super positive in the movie was Effie. Don't ask me why we got one less stylist (any clue?) but 2 and Effie were enough to get the point home. Like okay you thought the Capital was bad before, welcome to crazy town. Effie just smiling away despite riots in the street and people getting shot. But not getting greeted by warm party people at the train station, the nerve! So clearly Effie and most of the citizens of the Capital are harmless yet...well brainless. It wasn't until the Quarter Quell tributes were revealed that Effie started to realizes how bad things were. Well sorta. It was still about the Capital. How they felt losing THEIR Victors. But Effie showed how (in added scene) how cracks were forming. That maybe tributes are good job Snow. Instead of putting out the fire you turned on some light bulbs in the Capital's otherwise empty heads. The scene where Effie pulled out Haymitch 's name...her face of OH they can still be together and then when Peeta volunteered...sadness but back to perky because they are on camera.
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I think that the trailers showed way too much though. Katniss' speech to Rue's family before this wasn't spoiled though so yay?
Another positive like I said before was the actual scenes. Makes the Hunger Games look like a student project. But almost all deaths in the Hunger Games.....wait all deaths were tribute related (well maybe not Thresh). This arena was meant to wow. 75th anniversary, dead Victors, no expense too grand. But since the first Hunger Games movie was successful they spent a lot more money on other things. District 12 actually has people. District 11 was beyond out of the book with being more grand and awful. Everyone was looking tore up that needed to and everyone that needed to look strange and colorful did. Why they even sprang for some hovercrafts to pick up the bodies. It was a visually appealing movie which sometimes that gets confused with a good movie.
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Everyone is rooting for you Peeta. Well at least Katniss. I guess everyone else is rooting for the other one. XD
So do I think it was a good movie? Obviously since I ready the books I can't help but compare the two. I try to separate the two and just focus on did this movie make sense on it's own? I think it gets a solid 4 out of 5 Tenchi Stars. Major points were made, some smaller points were covered, and necessary cuts were made. If I were just watching the movie though I think I would still have questions. Does Katniss like Gale more? It seems like it to me. Then why does she want to die to save Peeta? Peeta is a good person but why would Katniss want to die for him? Why was Peeta telling the Morpling to look at the pretty colors when she was dying? How do nasty blisters that nearly kill you magically poof away and leave no scars? Why didn't the Capital shoot down the hovercraft that saved Katniss, Beetee, and Finnick? To me it feels like more was filmed for this movie and then things were taken out that would have explained that. Especially Katniss dying for Peeta. What about her family?
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What pocket watch?
Now if I were to incorporate the book...well where to begin? And yes I know not EVERYTHING from the book can be in the movie without it being Lord of the Rings forever. So I am not crying tears about everything. I don't like how Katniss got the pin in the first movie so obviously there was no real reason to show Haymitch's games and what not. The Avox situation just added another layer to the suck factor but it wasn't necessary. There was enough suck without it. Twill and Bonnie ...I always that was a bit farfetched anyway so them cutting that made sense along with the locked out of 12 scene.
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Katniss is having a baby. Everyone scream and never mention it again.
But some scenes....were needed. Um hello so Peeta can paint now? I know he can frost a mean cake and make his arm look like mud but now we got Rue on the ground? Where are all the painting he did? I wanted vivid nightmares, not just waking up screaming. Without internal dialogue I can see how Rue's sister glaring might be hard to pull off but figure it out. I didn't like the Plutarch and Katniss scene. She was way too aggressive and open. The pocket watch was subtle and super low key. Once again not all the Hunger Games was..hard. Katniss knows what a spile is in 5 seconds. Peeta can swim. Peeta has two legs. Suddenly Peeta can use a sword. Suddenly we are escaping the arena without knowing WHAT TIME the rescue is. The Capital is not made of chumps. This was hard to pull off so make it look like it took effort. Um what about the baby? Again a check list scene. That comment was thrown away and never mentioned again. Also hello what about their scores? They are running around pissing people off and we aren't going to see their scores and how angry it made Haymitch?! I am sure there is more that was cut but that seems to cover it. Well there is the lack of Mag's death dance.... 

I do like some stuff that they added from the book. I think the first kiss between Gale and Katniss was....odd and out of nowhere but the third was done well. It could mean so many things. I loved the families standing up the picture of the fallen tributes instead of a busted down pen. Snow's granddaughter was almost a glimmer of hope that the world isn't sick...and how confused the Capital is. I like how Snow was personally watching the games, really showing how involved he is/worried. Since there is no Madge I like how Katniss saw the riots on the screen. I mean they are traveling on a train, Peacekeepers need to know what is going on around them. 

Overall I liked the movie despite any critics I might have written. When you have high expectations going into something of course you are going to have an opinion on the matter. Movies are not books or we would still be on the Lord of the Rings Two Towers. XD Especially books with inner character dialogue, told from one point of view, and unreliable because she is crazy. I thought the actress that played Katniss really stepped up, especially in the District 11, dead Peeta, and Haymitch is a liar scenes. Apparently 40 minutes of the movie is on the cutting room floor so maybe when the movie comes out on DVD most of my complaints will be pacified. So yes. The movie was 4 out of 5 Tenchi Stars and it was worth attempting to see it twice. But Peeta has one leg folks. One leg. 

On a side note the husband had a frowning face at the end of the movie.. He said why would you end a movie that way?! Wonder what he will think about how Mockingjay part 1's ending haha.....

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