Earlier this week, Gary Ross said in an interview that it would have taken him at least eight months to properly prep and film Catching Fire. At the same time, Fox announced that it did not have a finished script for X-Men: Days of Future Past (the title apparently refers to a time jumping subplot of the comics. Thanks, floralsandstripes!) and thus will delay filming until April. If Fox had realized that they weren’t adequately prepared earlier, Gary would have gotten his eight months.
OH, THE POSSIBILITIES!
A whole world of shoulda, coulda, woulda just opened up beneath our feet! Don’t feel guilty for wondering! We ALL wonder, even those of us who are cautiously optimistic about Francis Lawrence.
But then I remember my fiance’s response to The Hunger Games movie…
Me: OMG I AM BOUNCING OFF THE WALLS BECAUSE THERE IS A HUNGER GAMES MOVIE AND I HAVE SEEN IT! DIDN’T YOU LOVE IT?!
Him: Yeah, it was pretty good.
Me: Pretty good?! PRETTY GOOD?! Don’t you mean spectacular?
Him: I’m not saying it was bad. It was good! I just feel like something was missing.
(Quick Note: My fiance is not the movie critic type. He doesn’t hate on much of anything.)
The non-THG fanatics in my life had similar positive-but-still-pretty-neutral reactions. We can see it, even though that will never stop us from watching the movie repeatedly.
At the time, we weren’t really aware of Gary Ross’ process, as described by the man himself in this quote:
“I wear two hats. I don’t wear one hat. When you write and you direct that’s a linear process, it’s not a simultaneous process. I would’ve had to have written a script and prepped the whole movie in four months and on the first movie that’s a process that took me eight months. And I thought [Catching Fire] was a more difficult adaptation, not an easier one. I didn’t really feel I had the time I needed to live up to my own standards. And I haven’t had a moment’s regret.”
Before you get all hasty: COOL IT, HOMIES! YOU’RE MAKIN’ A SCENE! This is not a Gary Ross hate post! We’ve noticed that it’s kind of hip to hate on Gary Ross now that he’s left the franchise, but that ain’t happening here. Gary Ross was always be Boss for kickstarting this fandom right, but maybe this quote proves that a change in the reins isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The script for Catching Fire was the work of two Oscar winners, Simon Beaufoy and (allegedly!) Michael Ardnt, which probably wouldn’t have happened with Gary Ross at the helm. He writes the final version of all his film scripts. He’s a talented writer, but other talented writers may have been cut out of the picture. Gary had a very heavy hand in everything, including deciding every camera angle before shooting ever began and designing sets based on his specific vision. He describes his “neurotic” involvement in the DVD extras. Again, these aren’t bad things, but there’s valuable input from others being cast aside in what seems to be the “If you want something done right, do it yourself” approach.
We agree with what Hunger Games Fireside Chat discussed about three weeks ago: The more co-operative approach that Francis Lawrence is taking could yield interesting results. There’s more risk! It could blow up in his face. The costume designer or set guy or lighting supervisor could suck and an angry mob of fans will storm the Lionsgate office in an attempt to be the Mockingjay and lead a rebellion against Francis! We imagine they’d poke him with Mockingjay pins. BUT there could also be more surprise and vigor. One thing about The Hunger Games is that it’s pretty monotone. You can sense the strict control over the production as you watch it. Maybe Lawrence allowing other crew members be more actively involved in the creative process will breathe new life into the series.
Plus, if Gary Ross has no regrets about backing away from the series, maybe we shouldn’t feel that way either. We’ll always wonder what HIS Catching Fire looked like, but we’re interested to see the new team’s version even more.
“I Think She Would Tell You It’s Okay to Wonder” (Name that book!),
The Girl With The Pearl
WOW! We asked for your opinions on all things Hunger Games and we have been blown away by your submissions! So let’s huddle around the campfire and share everyone’s thoughts on The Hunger Games!
First up is Katrina, a lovely Irish fan who has a bit of a bone to pick with Gary Ross.
Can I just start by saying that I like Gary Ross. He’s cool. He has a beard. Who doesn’t love beards? And he’s a fan of the series, so that is definitely an added bonus. I just wish everyone was like him, and us, and had read the series before they saw the first movie. But they hadn’t, so the movie became kind of confusing for some, and I just don’t want that to happen in Catching Fire. I like him as a guy, but his directing in The Hunger Games wasn’t really (in my personal opinion), the absolute best. Nobody’s perfect, but he left a lot to be desired for.
I mean, look; a main part of the plotline is that Peeta loves Katniss, but she at first doesn’t return the feelings for him. Now, sitting in the cinema as a Hunger Games fan, I of course knew this already. But my friend did not, and she was confused. The only sign of her not loving him is when she pushes him against the wall (MANNERS! Effie screams in my head), but she could have fallen in love with him in the arena. Because, you know, hormonal teenagers are hormonal. Well anyway, my friend didn’t understand why I whispered “It was all for the games, how you acted” like a looney bin at the end. Á la me, she finally understood the plot (after we got shushed by a worker). But still, not really a big problem, right?
Wrong. How are they going to explain President Snow’s threat to Katniss in Catching Fire, saying he knows their love isn’t real? I mean, Gale kisses her, not the other way around. So in her mind she could be all, “Aw hell no!” and go back to Peeta. And then when they kiss in the snow it’ll just be like they’re in love. It’ll just really confuse the audience further when she’s so cold towards him in Haymitch’s house.
Try to look at it from the audience’s point of view: Katniss kisses Peeta, aww, they’re in love, she saves his life, they hold hands, boom, next thing Snow’s telling her he knows about the kiss, Gale kisses her in a flashback, she’s a bitch to Peeta, then she’s all loved up again? There has to be something in between to hold it together. Maybe a talk with her mother about how she doesn’t love Peeta or something. I don’t know, I’m not a director. Although I’m beginning to wish I had some input on the first movie…well, maybe not, I’d have myself playing every part.
Also, how do we establish how she knows her prep team? She barely gave them a look in in the first movie. You don’t just go all emotional with a stranger (unless you’re at Alcoholics Anonymous and/or you just have a lot of feelings), and her prep team are basically strangers. And the whole Mockingjay pin thing. She’s not going to go to the Mayor’s house and say, ‘Move bitch, I want to see what’s on your dad’s TV.’ So how is she going to get in to the Mayor’s house when we don’t know that she knows Madge?
I can think of several ways to pull taught the loose ends of this knot (or maybe I should ask Finnick), but not everyone is like me, sadly. So how Francis interprets this is going to remain a mystery until next November. I just hope he finds a way to make it all fit. There’s not really much I can do except complain until the next movie.
If he pulls it off right, the next two movies after that will fit together and be Cinna-sational. Marvel-ous. Effie-ortless. Someone-slap-me.
Poor Francis Lawrence, though. He has so much picking up to do. I have faith he’ll fill in these plot holes. He’s going to need a big shovel, but I’m sure with the help of the others on set it will be fantastic. With filming beginning in September, he has a lot of work to do.
As we say in Ireland; have a drink and go to work. Well, we don’t really say that. We’re not all alcoholics…at least, anyone under 18 isn’t.
Three names have been released from the short list Lionsgate has allegedly compiled of directors they deem fit to direct Catching Fire. When I first saw the list I balked, namely because I know these three people’s work, I may not know it backwards and forwards, but I’ve been around awhile– so of course I’ve seen a film of theirs or two. I’m not proud of my initial reaction to their names actually, and I know it was because I was a bit too wrapped up in the “HE’S NOT GARY!” fervor. However, now that I’ve had time to marinate on all of this, and frankly come to terms with the fact that Catching Fire is going forward no matter what we say or do as a fandom — I’m genuinely excited by the three names released so far. I know, I know — I’m a total betrayer, I’m going to hell, blah, blah, blah. Well, no– I’m not, I’m just an honest-to-fucking-god-serious-film-goer, and I’m looking at these names and going, “ooh, this could kind of work.”
Let’s get this out-of-the-way. Alfonso Cuaron is a brilliant artisan director, but he has a tainted reputation where it comes to making book to film adaptations. Yep, talkin’ about Prisoner Of Azkaban. Bluntly I have to tell you all that I’ve never read the book the film is based on, and I also have to tell you now that I actually liked the film very much — but I know (oh, man do I know), that devout Harry Potter fans have a major bone to pick with Mr. Cuaron where it comes to what he did to their beloved book. Personally, I thought the film was innovative, layered, and dark, I also think that it was the first film in the Harry Potter franchise where the young cast was asked to actually act, and not simply react to things. I know that Dan Radcliffe credits Cuaron with being the first director to really challenge him as an actor, and that the Prisoner Of Azkaban project as a whole was the first to make him think that he’d possibly like to continue in the entertainment industry as an adult, which we all know he has now. As a serious fan of The Hunger Games, even though I respect Cuaron as an artist, and absolutely loved his work on projects like A Little Princess (still makes me cry my eyes out), Great Expectations (made me fall in love with Ethan Hawke… again), Y Tu Mamá También (died a few times watching it, it was that good, not for the kiddies though. Also introduced me to one of my many long time crushes — Gael Garcia Bernal), and Children of Men (where Clive Owen owned it, seriously), — the reputation he’s cultivated with his treatment of the source material of Harry Potter makes me very very nervous. The only consolation to the job going to Cuaron is that Simon Beaufoy has penned the script, and that Suzanne Collins has stated that she intends to be just as involved with Catching Fire as she was on The Hunger Games, and that she also intends to keep the details closer to the novel as well. These are the only things that would help me get through the possible heart palpitations his getting the gig would induce.
Alejandro González Iñárritu – I’m sorry, but this guy is kind of genius. The first project of his that I saw was Amores Perros, and I think my mouth hung open for most of the 154 minutes. This was the second film I ever saw with Gael Garcia Bernal in it, and he’s actually the reason I searched out the film to begin with, and I’m very glad that I did. It’s a film that has multiple story lines going at once, and they’re all interconnected. If you’ve ever seen the film adaptation of a whole bunch of Raymond Carter short stories called Short Cuts, directed by Robert Altman (you should see it), — it’s like that only set in 1999 -2000 Mexico City. He’s dark, very dark — but he knows people, and he tells their stories in a way that gets to the meat of it all, the emotion, the dirty dirty guts and slime of it all, and you don’t like it, and you don’t love it, but you fucking appreciate it as art, and as a representation of life as it truly is — imperfect. I would never kick up a fuss if he gets the job, because I know now, after much thought and consideration, that Catching Fire needs to go to a much darker place — and that if I’m really and truly honest — I always pictured Panem to be much more scary, and adult, and grim place than the way that Gary Ross envisioned it. Please don’t read me wrong, I loved what Ross did with The Hunger Games, but Catching Fire is not The Hunger Games — and Katniss, and Peeta, and also Gale all need to transition to even darker and more disturbed places mentally and emotionally, than they did in Hunger Games. Also, the principle cast is going to transition from mostly teenagers to adult characters like Finnick, Beetee, Plutarch, Johanna, and Chaff. Perhaps procuring a director whose dossier is more geared towards adults will prove to be a good way to go. I’m certainly not too nervous about Mr. Iñárritu in that sense — and you shouldn’t be either.
David Cronenberg — Um, well, he’s been working a damn long time, unfortunately I can only attest to having seen about three of the over 30 or so projects that have dawned his name in their credits. The films are: The Fly, eXitenZ, and Spider. Again, like Cuaron, and Iñárritu, Cronenberg is a director whose work is not for children, it’s probably not even a good idea for people under the age of 16 to see most of his works. He’s dark once again, just like the other two released on the list, and also like the others– he’s interesting. His work always makes you think about things on a deeper level than your average film. He makes smart-people movies, movies that get played in art houses, or the multiplexes that cater to more high end films. He’s not cookie-cutter “Hollywood”, where you eat a bag of popcorn and come out of the theatre feeling like you were entertained for an hour and a half. His films, in my experience, are films that leave you sitting for awhile, like I said before — thinking. Catching Fire needs to make us think, it needs to make the world think. Cronenberg, he’s not my favorite on this list — but I would not cry, or spit, or hiss if he got the gig.
Who do I want to get the gig though? If he was available, and he wasn’t neck deep in his current project — I’d want Sam Mendes.
Them There Eyes
As you can tell from our posts this week, Gary Ross’ departure from Catching Fire shook us, and we’re not alone. To say that The Hunger Games fandom has been upended is a bit of an understatement.
We’d been following Hunger Games movie news from the very beginning. Every casting decision was questioned, every bit of news dissected, every photo and second of footage examined and debated about. And then we saw it and in general were impressed and very happy about it. We were supposed to be okay for Catching Fire! “Who’s your choice for Finnick/Johanna/Beetee/etc.?” they’d ask. “I trust Gary!” we’d say. His decisions turned out to be pretty spot on regarding pretty much everything and we knew he’s a fan like us, so we weren’t worried about Catching Fire.
Now it feels like it did all over again. All the uncertainty we felt regarding The Hunger Games movie is back, and it feels as if it’s gotten even worse. Now we’re worried that this little franchise that could will get derailed because they’re bringing in someone new. We’re worried that the choice of director will be all wrong. We’re worried about an inconsistent vision for the series. We’re worried that some of the most beloved characters in the series will be cast poorly and in a strictly superficial way. We’re worried that this new guy won’t stick to the book because they don’t have the same respect for the source material. We’re worried that whoever directs won’t have enough time to do a good job.
It’s a little unfair. I don’t exactly envy whoever is coming in to replace Gary because there is so much doubt among such passionate fans. Whoever it is will have a lot to prove to us. The bar was set pretty high, and frankly, we’re kind of pissed off that we have to worry again.
So, future director of Catching Fire, be careful. We want you to do well, we do. It only benefits us if you turn out to do a great job, because we’ll get a good movie we can be proud of. But we are worried, and we don’t like being this way.
All this worrying is not good for my health
Yes, of course I’m going to write about Gary Ross today, what else would I write about?! Last night I was sad about the news, even shed a few tears, it literally felt like someone had died to me. But now, oh now — now I’m just angry. I thought I would write an article today about who I think would be a good replacement for Ross, but I’m kind of too pissed to do that right now, so no fantasy director lists will be blinding your retinas all thanks to me today. Nope, today it’s about hissing, and biting, and railing and wondering one thing, one tiny fucking thing (oh yeah, there might be swearing today), if time = money, and money = time, and Lionsgate has all the money — why can’t they just make more time?
No matter who takes the helm on Catching Fire it’s my opinion and many others, that they will not have enough time to make the kind of film Catching Fire deserves to be made into. The schedule is this: Four months for pre-production, that includes casting, concept art, set building, location scouting, legalities, permits for special effects — like pyrotechnics, transport, lodging, story boarding, costuming, training of actors and stunt people for action sequences, rehearsal time. Oh, and the most important thing — finalizing a script. That’s right people, they don’t have a finished script yet, they have a first draft, and no film ever gets shot with a first draft of a script. Production is slated to begin in late August, and they have to be done by December so Jennifer Lawrence can travel to England (I assume it’ll shoot in England again), to work on X-Men in January. That’s four months to shoot Catching Fire. Do you know how long it took to film The Hunger Games? 5 months. There’s not enough time in this schedule to make a truly quality film, a film that deserves to be the visual representation of this installment in The Hunger Games series.
Shylah Addante of DownWithTheCapitol.Net proposed an interesting idea, that I personally think would solve a lot of these scheduling problems. First it involves pushing back the release date by four months, so instead of having a November, 2013 release — it would have a March, 2014 release. The filming schedule would have to be altered, or blocked, or divided into even wider blocks of time, i.e. shoot the District 12 scenes in the autumn of 2012, disperse the cast and crew until summer of 2013, and then shoot the Arena and the Capitol scenes. Productions do disperse for months at a time, it has been done — so don’t think this idea is odd, please. I know it’s a long shot, but a petition has already gone up about this, we’re asking people to tag Tumblr posts with “CatchingFire2014″, your tweets with #CatchingFire2014, and if you’re so inclined — make youtube videos declaring that you’re willing to wait a few extra months for Catching Fire, and urge Lionsgate to simply push back the release so the story can get the treatment it deserves, not a rushed slap up job it may turn out to receive. Also, pushing back the release means Gary Ross, who has bowed out, could potentially come back to direct if he wants, and this time with enough time to make something consistent and quality. He has the notes now, the fan reviews, the professional reviews, he knows what people think he did wrong — and he can correct it or take it into account.
This is really about making this film into what it should be, even if Gary doesn’t come back to direct — giving the new director enough time to make something truly amazing is key.
Them There Eyes
This is NOT a drill. Prepare to panic, people! You’re getting two Gary Ross posts in two days but dammit, there’s good reason!
Is this.. Are you… Are you breaking up with us?
No. No! NOT REAL! This fandom is about to become your crazy ex-girlfriend that refuses to just let you go without a damn good explanation!
You’ve always seemed like a passionate, down-to-Earth fan. You weren’t some director who was only looking to make The Hunger Games into the next big franchise. You understood its depth and intricacies. You never took the power of the fanbase for granted, either.
While it’s true that the movie was not absolutely perfect, it was one of the best book-to-film adaptations we can name in recent years. Sure, there’s a few points that could have been explained more thoroughly, like the District 12 salute and why Peeta joins up with the Careers. However, those small changes didn’t detract from the movie so much that we couldn’t enjoy it, nor do we know of anyone who didn’t understand the film because they haven’t read the books.
Of course, there’s always those sorry “fans” who will say they movie sucked because the dead bodies weren’t collected by hovercrafts or some character’s eye color changed. Please ignore these crazies. They need some sense slapped into them. (Critics fall into the same category.)
At first, they said you were threatening to leave us for the money. Frankly, we didn’t really buy it. You DESERVE more than $3 million, given that a raise is standard for these sorts of jobs. But even so, you don’t seem the type to pitch a fit for the sake of some extra dough.
Then they said you just don’t care about us anymore. You’re burnt out on the whole Hunger Games crowd. You want to run off and work on your own feature, which you can apparently only do at the same exact time as Catching Fire. Unless we hear this from you, we CANNOT believe it. Besides disbelieving that IndieWire of all sites got the exclusive, you have been so lively and passionate about the series! Just days ago, you were discussing the changes in aesthetics and tone that you plan to make in Catching Fire. Either you were trolling the fans or you seriously believed that you would be in the director’s chair for Catching Fire!
So what’s happening, really? Studio bureaucracy? Many of the people working on The Hunger Games dipped their hand in Twilight at some point, so we know they wouldn’t be afraid to sacrifice quality for sales. Do they want to do something disastrous like heat up the “love triangle” or hire a talentless prettyboy like Alex Pettyfer to play Finnick? You can tell us, Gary. We worry about these things too! WE UNDERSTAND.
Of course, none of this is confirmed. We’re waiting for negotiations to finish or contracts to be signed or press releases to be written up. Either way, it kind if sucks to be a fan snuck in non-confirmation limbo.
In the meantime, we’ll take the advice of The Gin Blossoms–
I don’t wanna take advice from fools / I’ll just figure everything is cool / Until I hear it from yooooooouuuuuu…
The Girl With The Pearl
P.S. Click READ MORE to see how you can get involved with the Gary Ross is Boss campaign!
Right now, media sites are reporting that there is trouble getting Gary Ross locked in for directing Catching Fire, mostly due to salary negotiations. Now, normally we roll our eyes when projects hit a snag due to money. Poor guy, he wants more millions. But here, we’ve got to side with Gary.
For directing The Hunger Games, Gary Ross was paid $3 million. That sounds like a lot – and it is, but not when you’re talking about the caliber of director he is. But The Hunger Games had a much smaller budget than most blockbusters and the success of a first movie of a franchise could not be guaranteed, so the relatively small salary makes sense.
But it’s two weeks after the movie’s release, and The Hunger Games has made a butt-load of money and I don’t mean $1000. Not only has the movie been a box office SMASH, making almost 5x its budget already, it has gained Lionsgate credibility with a positively received movie. It’s pretty understandable for Gary to ask for more money. He truly did a lot of hard work for the film and is a big reason why the movie had stayed as close to the book as it did while enhancing it.
Gary Ross is the ultimate Hunger Games fanboy. He’s proven it to the fans by showing how much he understands the story and what it means to us. Which is why Lionsgate would be hard-pressed to find an adequate replacement if they don’t cough up the dough. I’m sure directors would be chomping at the bit to get the Catching Fire gig, but it was such a miracle to have a director so in touch with this story that we doubt lightning can strike twice. Frankly, we don’t trust anyone else.
Switching out directors is not the way to go here. It’s what makes the Harry Potter films feel so inconsistent, and we’d be damned if we let that happen to The Hunger Games movies. The movies should have the same feel, and since Gary was such an integral part of what The Hunger Games became, losing him would make the subsequent movies different and when it comes to franchises we like consistency. So Lionsgate, you should know that we want Gary Ross to direct Catching Fire. Suck it up and pay him, please.
Think of it like an investment
Every now and then, we get a quote of brilliance from someone involved in The Hunger Games series, something that makes us go “YES! YOU GET IT! THANK YOU!”
One that was released once a while ago is still filling us with all sorts of happiness even after the film’s release!
What is it?
Gary Ross, discussing why no part of the films will ever be in 3D:
“No, absolutely not, no [I wouldn’t consider 3D for 'Catching Fire']. I don’t think it’s appropriate for this film. I think that if we shoot this movie in 3D, we become the Capitol; we start making spectacle out of something that I don’t think is really appropriate here. There needs to be an aesthetic distance because of the nature of the material, the premise, what they’re doing. I think that cinematic techniques designed to intensify the experience if you feel them that way, aren’t really appropriate. I mean I love 3D, I really do and I think it’s a wonderful tool, I just don’t think it’s the right tool for this.”
Why are we bring this up now, you ask? The entertainment media is ripe with reviews and critiques (which we’ve mainly stopped looking at, lest we end up punching a critic in the face). In a few of them, critics have suggested that a 3D would have enhanced the viewing experience, which is just about the stupidest thing we’ve ever heard.
This is a story about HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, people! It’s children killing each other and families being ripped apart and a government system that is beyond corrupt! It is not a children’s cartoon or a sci-fi drama or even a cheeseball horror movie.
The films are not meant to be a delightful visual spectacle. They are meant to make you uncomfortable and make you consider our current society’s dangerous desensitization toward violence.
We’re not saying 3D is good for nothing. It was appropriate for Josh Hutcherson’s flick Journey 2: The Mysterious Island to be in 3D, because it was a children’s adventure film with a heavy hand in visual effects. It’s meant to inflict these fantastically warm, fuzzy feelings. The Hunger Games is not.
“Well, then why did they bother with IMAX?” You ask. Simple. They are not the same! IMAX is meant to intensify the movie-going experience by providing you with a larger screen and better sound. It doesn’t actually change the movie and make things jump out at you for cheap thrills.
Yes, there are a lot of awesome tricks filmmakers keep up their sleeves, but it’s important to know when to use them!
So thank you, Gary Ross, for knowing the difference between telling a story and mindless entertainment!
How About We Just Get a Longer IMAX Run Next Time,
The Girl With The Pearl
The world premiere of The Hunger Games was almost a week ago exactly, and I was one of the lucky few, um — probably thousand who got to attend. No bragging happening here, because the object of this article is this — to review the film, or at least I’m going to attempt to. Maybe you should know something about me before I get into all this though, I’m a former film studies major, so I’m not just a casual movie watcher — I’m a freakin’ shark, or at least I like to think I am. Any who! The movie, like OMG the movie, better yet — let’s call it what it is, a freakin’ film, yo!
Yep, brothers and sisters, children and not children — The Hunger Games is not a movie, it’s earned the right to call its self by the uppity term, film. Why? Because it’s not something that you can just go into thinking, “oh, I’m gonna have the best time ever, tee hee!” No, you go into this film thinking, “oh dear god, I hope I don’t pee my pants, or ugly cry all over my seat mate!” By the way my seatmates were Adam Spunberg and Savanna New — and as far as I know, no ugly crying was happening, yay us! Okay, okay… the nitty gritty, this is probably one of the best book to film adaptations I have ever seen — and I’ve seen a lot of book to film adaptations and been passionate about the novels they were adapted from, and like a handful of what I consider the best, this one has one of the same things in common with them, the screenplay (ex. Atonement, The Cider House Rules). From the very first few seconds of this film Suzanne Collins’ hands are all over it, because it opens with a cold open, a short history in written from of the country we’ve all come to know, loath, love, and cherish. It was perfect, because dead first the audience it sucked into the world she’s created, it’s not “hey, look at all the big fancy movie stars that are in this movie, flashy letters are cool!” No, it’s straight up, “hey, um guys, this world is not your world — welcome to hell!”
We’ve all seen the trailers, the clips, the stills, some of us have even bought the companion book — but it’s just got to be said, those snip-its do not prepare you for how easily this film draws you in, and keeps you there for the duration. For loyal fans there will be few things to nit pick about, and if you are going to nit pick it — I want you to think long and hard about what you’re ripping apart, and ask your self these questions: 1. Does it change the motivation of any of the characters? 2. Does it change the plot of the story and/or series? 3. Does it change the personality of any characters? I guarantee you, if you ask yourself these questions before starting to needle away at the fact that, oh — um Buttercup isn’t orange, or mangy yellow, or whatever color he was in the book — it’s a cat, people, jeeze! Or, oh yeah… Peeta doesn’t say certain lines. There, those questions will make sure you live a long and healthy life free of Hunger Games nit-pick-itis.
I guess I haven’t gotten to the nitty-gritty as much as I thought, so anyway! The acting is amazing. I think I spent about 3 hours after seeing this film, and the next day muttering “Peeta, oh, Peeta…” to myself in a forlorn voice, and this is all a testament to Josh Hutcherson’s performance. I mean, I already knew the guy could act, but actually seeing him up there for 2 + hours being Peeta to the nth degree, it was visceral, and I think my mouth was hanging open almost the whole time. You know how Josh has been saying for months now that he is Peeta, well — he’s right, no ifs and or buts about it, Josh Hutcherson is Peeta, and he will never not be. Jennifer Lawrence, just — Jennifer Lawrence, she proved herself in Winter’s Bone, but as Katniss Everdeen she’s like Ripley from Alien only much younger and less weird-looking, and she makes you cry within the first 10 minutes of the film, because you want her to be your big sister so bad.
All right, here’s what you probably really want to know, or need to know. A. You will not be disappointed by this movie, unless there’s perhaps something clinically wrong with you, and you’re never satisfied by anything, not even a cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. B. The acting in this film is top-notch, and that includes even the background supporting artists. I’m not even kidding when I say that, seriously — watch the people in the Reaping scene, they’re bloody fantastic. Tucci is hilarious. President Snow is a creepy Santa, and you should fear him. Wes Bentley, gotta be said, we’re so glad he’s back at the party, and we never want him to leave! Woody, he’s Haymitch, guys. Lenny, he’s so warm and generous, I want him to pick out my next formal outfit. C. The so-called love triangle is not played up. I’d even go so far as to say that if you didn’t know that there is supposedly a love triangle, you won’t notice it — because it’s only subtly touched on in Gale’s reactions — much like how many of us imagined him to react anyway. D. It does not feel like a Hollywood film at all, it’s more like an independent, it’s quick, it’s downright frenetic at times, so in other words it plays out how most of us read the book. Honestly, it feels like 30 minutes, but you’ve been sitting there for 2 + hours, that is the true mark of a good film. E. The costume and set design is some of the best I’ve ever seen. F. As soon as Arcade Fire’s song starts blasting through the sound system, and the credits roll, you itch for Catching Fire to be at your finger tips, just like when you finished reading the book.
G. Excuse me, I need to go write a love letter to Gary Ross!
Them There Eyes