My rating: 8
IMDB rating: 7.8
Okay, I truly do not want to ‘rant’, but I want to start by just mentioning something that I will spend my last breath contesting. A movie is not supposed to mirror its book. By comparing the two, you are basically asking someone to write a song about a Picasso painting and then be disappointed when the song does not match the painting exactly- it makes no sense! A director (and his writing team) looks at the source material, which in the case of this movie is a book, as a piece of art in itself and then interpret or filter this source material through their own lens, creating another piece of art altogether. It is not fair to either ‘artists’ that their work be demeaned in terms of the other.
People that like to read, like to tap into the imaginary world that they create themselves with the help of the source material. To enable the reader to do that, the book needs to add information, people and events that is deemed unnecessary when it is translated to a visual medium. Visual stimulation, that films rely on, is characterized by (specifically a film like this) constant actions, minimal characterization, impressive locality and an emphasis on ‘popular’ human interactions (love, anger, endearment, etc.).
Does this mean that one medium is superior to the other? NO. A hundred times no, because they are meant to be viewed as two separate, but equal interpretative forms of art. Therefore, when comparing Catching Fire‘s book and movie, it is no comparison at all, because it is two different artists’ views (Suzanne Collins and Francis Lawrence). I also would like to mention that I did read The Hunger Games books, all three of them, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I also enjoy the movies.
What I do actually want to base this post on is the dystopian dependency that rewatching this film emphasized for me. Katniss who is often viewed as a very strong, feminst character is ironically characterised by her dependancy. The ‘love triangle’ which makes these films so popular is not based on, for me, mutual love or attraction but rather dependancy. Katniss needs Gale for her survival and the survival of her family within district 12. While, Katniss needs Peeta in the Games, and in this movie in the press, to ensure both their survival.
Gale, who is a very strong character is neither dependant on Katniss nor on Panem for his survival which sets him apart from everyone in this movie (as will become clearer in Mockingjay). His feelings for Katniss is not born of dependancy, although hers is. Peeta, on the other hand, portrays a very dependant love that is often disguised as devotion. This dependancy of Katniss and Peeta take on a self-sacrificial nature which has very distructive consequences.
The dystopian nature of Panem induces a certain amount of dependancy that is needed for the constant devotion of its subjects. In the Capitol, this dependancy is achieved through the addiction to luxuries such as fashion and entertainment. The further you move away from the Capitol, though, the more the dependancy is stimulated by fear and need. Fear for the abscence of basic human needs and parallely the need thereof. The fact that the President has total control, with no sign of any democratic rule, underlines this dependancy, and any opposition against the ruling power is destroyed and made an example of.
This is, of course, very closely related to the theories of totalitarian rule and its consequences. (For more on these types of film see my review on The Double and this article on the forthcoming 1984 film) I have always said that The Hunger Games is one of the most well-thought out concepts in a while and the intricateness of the plot is evidence to that.
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