The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Director: Francis Lawrence
Problems: Racial, mostly to do with casting white actors to play roles that were written as POC
Bechdel Test: Pass
So, firstly, this is good movie. It’s got great acting, great writing, works as a YA film without condescending to kids OR adults, and it’s a damn good adaptation of a really good book. Incidentally, this review will contain no major direct spoilers, but it will kind of assume you’ve seen the first movie, or read the first book. If you haven’t, you might want to get on that.
Just to get it out of the way, fuck the whitewashing of characters in this whole series. Jennifer Lawrence is terrific as Katniss, but the fact that the casting call was limited to white actors is egregious, and the fact that the cast in the movie is, overall, whiter than the cast in the book, just sucks.
Apart from that, though, this is a really solid movie, and is consistent with the book (by Suzanne Collins) in terms of putting forward a revolutionary storyline. It picks up a short time after the first one left off, with Katniss Everdeen tentatively safe after having won the Hunger Games. She learns of how she embarrassed the Capitol of Panem in the process, thus unintentionally becoming a symbol of resistance for the already discontented people of what is usually described in summaries and reviews as a “futuristic dystopia” but might better be referred to as a “fascist state,” since there’s nothing particularly unrealistic or speculative about the levels or means of oppression it employs. More on that in a moment. In an effort to destroy her and her fellow victor, Peeta, as revolutionary symbols, President Snow arranges a Hunger Games in which Peeta and Katniss will fight again, this time against an assortment of hardened killers and experts, and hopefully be killed.
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