Catching Fire! (spoilers, srsly)

*dusts off poor neglected always-down IJ which DAMMIT once again has outdated icons now arrrrrrgh*

SO! [info]alsha and [info]antiteb and I went to see Catching Fire tonight (that was AFTER going to the Weta Cave and randomly running into George R.R. Martin there, lololol wot are our lives) and I need to babble somewhere and this will do nicely! (This will mostly be incoherent rambling and capslock flail, natch).

OMG YOU GUYS. I HAVE SO MANY FEELS RIGHT NOW AND THEY MUST OUT.

Basically I loved it. I have nitpicks and I shall get to them, but aaaaaaah it was so good. The cast, the pacing, the lines, the cinematography. I was just blown away. I was so worried that after Gary Ross backed out that whoever came after him would shoot a glossy Capitolised film and that the mood was gonna be all wrong but the mood was SO PERFECT I CAN'T EVEN. I have a bad cold right now so I had a legitimate excuse for leaking all over the place, but dudes. I cried so much. I thought it struck just the right balance with the gritty hopeless/angry Districts bits and the glossy Capitol bits and how it insidiously sucks you into enjoying the show and then making you cringe at yourself realising it's revolting and these people are awful #metaFTW

My thoughts are all over the place, so in no particular order:

- Finnick. Obviously one of my biggest worries considering how bloody dull Sam Claflin's been in previous roles. I was fretting but I really really wanted him to pull it off but I didn't want to just convince myself he'd pulled it off if he didn't, I wanted him to ACTUALLY DO IT and was not terribly seriously hopeful that he would.

...I liked him. Quite a bit. I'm not at OMG PERFECTION because I don't know if the actor who would do OMG PERFECT Finnick exists, frankly, but I liked him and I have a feeling his performance will grow on me even more over time (kind of like I didn't think Billy Boyd was really what I expected Pippin to be when I first saw LotR but over time he totally made it his). It helped that he actually acted, lol (something he definitely wasn't doing in Pillars of the Earth or that terrible fourth Pirates movies that just should not exist). I was making doubtful faces at his very first scene (but that's when we get Katniss's perspective on him and of course he seems smarmy and lame!) but the first scene where I thought he might actually pull this off was during the lame televised "you'll always have my heart, my love" message - it's so deliberately cheesy and flaky because it has to be but you could actually see in his eyes how desperate and broken he really was and damn if he did not completely make me feel the horrid situation he was in. And he had a lot of just little gestures that I really liked, like wasting some of the precious water by wiping his face because it's so ingrained in him that he has to be pretty, and the tender moments with Mags, and all the sneering at Katniss and the "remember the enemy" scene at the end. So... yeah, he'll do. (And yes, "he'll do" may be a somewhat muted response to a character so intense and central but I was honestly pretty impressed and am looking forward to how he'll do in Mockingjay).

- Katniss. Argh. How damn good is Jennifer Lawrence! HER FACE AT THE END. HOW DOES HER FACE DO THAT.

- Johanna. Oh god. She killed me. I loved her so much. Every moment. Raging and cussing on camera during the big telly do. Telling Katniss to make Snow pay and that little solidarity moment. Not bothering to wash off the blood because why bother, right. "There's no one left I love." How fierce and broken and loyal and funny and totally badass she was. I cannot wait to see more of her. Cannot. Wait!

- THE VICTORS HOLDING HANDS and Caesar being all "argh, cut, cuuuut!" ngl, I bawled.

- Gale, wtf. This film gave me Gale feels. I do not do Gale feels! o_O But I felt like it made me get, for the first time really, how he could be a good choice for Katniss, and one she might make if circumstances were different. Book!Gale has always felt kind of... token to me, and this was the first time I felt bad for him, and her, and for what this fledgling thing might turn into if it got half a chance.

- And then Peeta feels, aaaaaargh. HOW DOES JOSH DO THAT. And I loved, LOVED, those little moments when he does something that is just so quintessentially Peeta, and in every other person in the world it would come across calculating or do-goody or annoying and he's just all earnest and genuine about it (while also still completely using it to their advantage, how!) and you realise - and watch Katniss realise, which is even better - that he seriously is just too good for this world but somehow he's also NOT annoyingly perfect and ugh, I do not comprehend how it works but it's brill. Like, seriously. That scene with easing the morphling as she dies. And Katniss watching him easing her along. MY EMOTIONS ARE IN PAIN JUST THINKING ABOUT IT.

- Effie. Effieeeeeeeeeeee. OH GOD WHEN SHE TRIES TO GO THROUGH THE REAPING AND TOTALLY FAILS AT KEEPING HER CHIPPER ON ALL THE WAY THROUGH BECAUSE IT'S JUST SO DAMN AWFUL. And when she earnestly states that she's gonna get them all matching gold tokens and they all GET how she means it even though it's so daft or SEEMS so daft and ugh. How fantastic was she.

- Haymitch! Haymitch Haymitch Haymitch and him and Katniss and their damn pact and basically everything that comes out of his mouth. I love that man.

- Cinna. I can't. *falls apart*

- Mags. Mags! Holy cow she was amazing. And how much did I love her scenes with Finnick? SO FUCKING MUCH. They're ultimately a large part of what sold me on Sam Claflin because their rapport just utterly broke my heart. And I had honestly forgotten how soon into the games she dies and gaaaaaaaaah. PAINCAKE.

- DONALD SUTHERLAND YOU CREEPY BASTARD. I COMMEND YOUR SOUL-CHILLING BRILLIANCE AT BEING A MONSTER. And big kudos to them for not overdoing the bloody-mouth thing. It was so gross but so subtle.

- All scenes of Katniss shooting a bow ever. Mrow.

- The assessment. When Peeta walks out and Katniss sees what he painted. OMFG her face. And then her own contribution with the snottiest "fuck you" bow ever. PERFECTION.

- I want all the dresses.

- The arena was amazing, loved how they brought it to life. And I even liked Philip Seymour Hoffman, of whom I'm generally just tired because he's been in Everything Ever, but he did a nice job.

- The mood, have I mentioned the mood?? Because I was seriously impressed by the mood. It's authentically darker and more desperate than the first film, the stakes are higher, the players bigger. It's ultimately a set-up book/film, of course, but it sets up SO WELL. And I just wallowed in how starkly the ugliness of the Games was painted and the sense of loyalty and defiance among the victors (even the Careers) and how angry and bitter they were. Damn but it was good.

- Kinda loved the scene where it's Katniss who suggests they should get married. I don't exactly remember how that went down in the book (I seem to vaguely recall it was just narration along the lines of "and then he proposes and I accept because I have to" but may be wrong), I just really liked how they did it - how businesslike and utterly cynical it is, and then that long shot on Peeta's back as he walks away. Ouch.

- Katniss' mum. It's such a small part but as in the first movie, I was impressed at the statements they let her make - like how she's the first one to do the tribute at the Reaping, how she pulls Prim back when she would've gone tearing after Katniss, how she lies to the Peacekeepers to cover for Katniss going to the woods. She rocks.

Ok, let's quickly do nitpicks though, because I do have them.

-Uhm, that quick shot of Annie when Mags volunteered. What? I sincerely hope it was just that they hadn't cast the actress yet and this was a stand-in but even then I don't understand why they picked someone who looked clearly middle-aged and more like a morphling than a mildly unstable young girl. What was that? I'll have to see it again because it was so brief, maybe I just got the wrong impression? Alsha and Bettina got the same one though, so IDK. it was such a wtf moment. ANNIE IS NOT AND DOES NOT LOOK 40.

-lol, they couldn't have found a cat that looked like the one from the first film? Now it'll just look like Prim got ANOTHER cat who ALSO hates Katniss and it's just silly. Let's hope they at least stick with vaguely the same one for the final films.

-Still on the fence about whether Katniss really needed to fall apart quite that often, at least in the first half of the movie - she was doing an awful amount of crying and wailing. I think I'd have been happier if they'd at least left out the freak-out in the very beginning where the turkey morphs into Marvel (lol wot). In general I do like Jennifer's take on the role and how it's more emotional/vulnerable/accessible? but there were SO MANY BREAKDOWNS.

-Random small thing but it was weird to me that Peeta and Finnick had pretty much the exact same shade of brassy blond. Sometimes when they were running and it was a long shot, I had trouble picking out who was who. How hard would it have been to actually give Finnick bronze hair?

Ok, done nitpicking I think. Did I mention the shot of her face at the end and how epic it was??? Because it very nearly undoes the nitpick re: crying too much. IT IS THAT FANTASTIC.

Argh, there are so many more things and so many little things and so many feelings. I need to go again and see it roughly another seven times at least to pick up on everything and at least decide what my favourite bits were! But yeah, so I loved it and I CANNOT BELIEVE I AM ONCE AGAIN SUPPOSED TO WAIT. WHAT IS THAT. I JUST WAITED A YEAR AND A HALF. OMG GIEF MOCKINGJAY NOW.

Comments

Okay, okay, god bless this post basically and all it's little anchors of thoughts I can tie myself to while my mind is just screaming names and crying which started happening about the time of the opening credits had hasn't let up yet.

KATNISS! OMG Jennifer Lawrence is so fantastically expressive. Even while dealing with that ghastly airbrushed sheen that I quite liked because it was an outside demonstration of how the Capitol had changed her and controlled her. My favourite look was in the elevator with Joanna and the bow at the presentation. Katniss's is story is so fucked up, she's genuinely so confused and finds it so hard to see the larger plays going on around her and so desperate to do the right thing and also not die. I actually liked the first breakdown with the turkey/Marvel because it should so well how traumatised she is by the first games and reminded us of all the tributes who died, not just our faves like Rue and Thresh. I liked how it took something that used to be her favourite, most relaxing activity and showed how it's been ruined.

Where I ran out of patience with the gasping/screaming was when they all lunged for the water after the poisoned gas. LOLOLOLOL. Some things are always going to look bloody weird. This was the "Peeta painting himself as a rock" moment for me.

JOANNA. OMFG, she was perfection. I can't add to what you've said except. I SHIP IT SO HARD right now.

What you said about Gale I totally agree with and had in fact begun to find that in the first movie already. It was a bit of a surprise after having basically no feelings for him in the book but I think they're doing a great job with him in the movies. I think it actually enhances the Peeta/Katniss storyline too because it makes them inevitable in a different way, and it emphasises all too clearly that they're being thrown together and they are becoming the only ones the other can relate to. No one else from before can understand what it's like to be them. Katniss's "I need you" had me weeping like a baby.

Also yay Snow's granddaughter.

So, Cinna. My heart is a messy pulp on the floor basically. I would have loved more of him but I feel like I had more because all of the outfits were amazing and so full of statement that it was like he was speaking so much more. Ugh he is so beautiful. So many tears.

Haymitch was I don't know so entirely Haymitch. Sigh. And his bits of softness for Effie slayed me. Effie was a trembling, courageous mess and I loved it how it was still unresolved how much she understood and didn't understand, bought into it and couldn't help avoiding. She is such a great character.

Mags was amazing and so was Beetie, especially, I thought.

I thought Plutarch Heavensbee did well because that was such a tough sell to keep Snow going along like that. One more time with him saying, "oh wait they'll hate her soon I promise, aren't I clever" would have been too much. I liked that he didn't play up the evil game-maker too much and stayed fairly innocuous through out so it didn't feel like a grand movie twist either, it was nicely signposted.

I liked Sam as Finnick a lot more than I thought I would too. I can see that they were going for something a little different than I had in my head for Finnick - someone who can sell the gloss a lot better than I imagine in my head - but that's no bad thing. On the close ups I definitely appreciated his cheekbones that's for sure. I also loved how much he liked Joanna. The hair thing was annoying though. What were they thinking? I think they had it the same colour then tried to make them look different by what, making Finnick's hair more messy? That did not work at all. Very silly choices. You already have your main characters in identical outfits. AND Finnick and Katniss have a lot of meaningful/flirty/angsty conversations during that time AND she already has two boyfriends.

I had a nitpick in the magically reappearing weaponry. Like Finnick was carrying Mags, and then Peeta as they fled the gas but his trident is still waiting for him on the shoreline and Katniss's bow. Not too mention Beetie's wire that was not explained at all and just should have been labelled CONVENIENT ZOOPERSPECIAL WIRE TO BRING DOWN THE ARENA THAT WE ARE DEFINITELY GOING TO LEAVE HERE FOR THE MAN WHO INVENTED IT TO USE AGAINST US. Or something to that effect.

I loved grown up Prim. I loved how they could show that so well without giving it one line except I love you.

Lol trust you to notice it was a different cat. I just saw it and thought, Oooh cat foreshadowing moment, nice.

The Annie thing was the absolute worst part for me. It threw me out of the movie for a good moment of WTF. She didn't look at all Annie-ish age or personality wise. She didn't even look particularly sympathetic or like she's later described aka as a "girl". VERY WRONG AND DISAPPOINTING. Hopefully they are yet to cast. But how hard is it to get someone fragile looking?

Need to wallow in it at least two more times before I start hankering properly for the next one but seriously. WHY IS IT NOT READY NAOOOOOOO.
AND Finnick and Katniss have a lot of meaningful/flirty/angsty conversations during that time AND she already has two boyfriends.

Aahahahahahahahahahahaha. I srsly reached a silly point with Katniss and all her poignant angsty embraces with all these gorgeous men that she cares about DEEPLY AND CONFLICTEDLY IN SO MANY DIFFERENT PAINFUL WAYS that I started imagining what if she snogged Cinna and Haymitch and Finnick too because come on, two boyfriends are peanuts and you can so up that ante, lolol. Oh yeah, and Chaff. KATNISS/CHAFF PLS. RAREPAIRS FTW.

/my brain, IDE

Hahahaha, well yeh, the first cat was black and white and this one was ginger (which I think the book!cat was too). Kinda noticeable!

Yes good point about remembering the non-sympathetic tributes. The scene just didn't really work for me and I thought a later point (like the train nightmares, perhaps) might have been a better time to showcase it. Oh well.

They have definitely cast Annie and she looks lovely, just... that definitely did not look like the same person?? IDK, I have not googled yet or anything, maybe it's been explained somewhere already. But yeah, that was an unfortunate moment. It's not like Annie Cresta is someone insignificant where you can just throw in any old extra if you'd not cast the actress yet at the time of shooting!

Such a good point about the magical weaponry. I was too wrapped up in it to notice it really but yeah, bit convenient. I had a similar moment at the end when all the falling debris comes crashing down from the sky and would TOTALLY CRUSH AND BURN KATNISS but I let it go because eh, it was pretty and sometimes I am easy!

Yeah, I thought they did totes fine with Finnick's looks in general - it's not like Sam is ugly, just not as drop-dead-gorgeous as the book set him out to be, maybe. But he looked munchable enough. Just yeah, odd hair decisions there!

Yeeeees, Beetee was brilliant. Loved him. Basically all the tributes rocked.

And yeah, yay for more depth to the whole triangle thing. I guess in the books I just never felt like Gale was much of a serious alternative. Basically yes to everything you said about what it does for Katniss/Peeta too.

*clutches you and your feels* WE NEED A MASSIVE ESKIVIEWING FOR THIS SRSLY.
LOL okay Annie does look divine. I am pacified. Maybe it was just the violence of the reaction that was kinda strange.

Hahahaha yes the falling arena. I totally thought oh well they're all dead now, good job revolution.

Katniss and her men! Yep I support all the ships. Where is that Fest? I ask you!

*clings desperately* My feelings right now could only be appeased by a Double-Bill Eskiviewing followed by a full reading of Mockingjay.

<333333
AIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII WASN'T IT SO AAAAAAAAAAMAZING OMG I CANNOT EVEN EXPRESS HOW GOOD IT WAS!!! OR HOW MUCH I NEED TO SEE IT AGAIN!!! (And we did not get to go last night, because Diana got out of class late and I was knackered after workshop. But OMG SOON!!!)

I just have to countersign nearly your entire post. Jennifer Lawrence was just too deadly every time she was on screen. I have to say I liked that breakdown in the forest because it really underscored their PTSD. The dreams did too, sure, but they came so much later, and I think it was needed earlier. The book was able to capture that more easily. I guess in the movie I needed it shoved down my throat. It was such a brutal reminder that "Hey! Katniss and Gale are out hunting again, but it's not like before. At all."

Also, the desperation of their relationship hit me hard. Like you, I'm not a fan of Gale in the books, and in the last movie he didn't sell me. This time, yeah, unsettling Gale-feels all over the place. Maybe the Hemsworths have been in acting classes or something! (In shallow, however, they should never do profiles from the right side of his face, because I could not stop thinking how he has almost no nose. Distracting no-nose actors!)

Did you not love the Victors Tour? Before all the hell broke loose with the Quarter Quell? I've read some reviews (damn reviews!) saying the first half was boring. But that District 11 scene... As soon as Rue's picture came into view, it started raining on my face. And Peeta, being genuinely good and generous and guilty and gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah yes, how does Josh pull it off without being milquetoasty? It is sorcery, no doubt about it. (And then with the Morphling omg.... *splinters*)

The other victors, though...

JOHANNA. How. Perfect. Was. She. All the Victors, dammit, they all broke my heart, but Johanna had exactly the right amount of seething fury right at the surface that is going to be perfect later.

And MAGS. And HAAAAAAAAYMITCH. When Katniss was critiquing Mags and he said, "She's actually a wonderful woman," it was worse than any slap in the face.

Sidenote: I really need to go pack. My flight leaves in two hours. LOLOLOL.

However!

That cat lolololol. I was saying that it had gotten a Capitol makeover - that seems the kind of thing that Katniss would've done to it. I do think it was closer to the book's description this time, but gah. NOT BLACK AND WHITE.

I'm not nearly the fan of Sam Claflin's performance. I found him lackluster at best. Which would have been fine if he was another Victor. But I wanted Finnick. And ANNIE YES SHE WAS HORRIBLY MISCAST WTF WAS THAT? UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!!!!

OK, I really need to pack. I haven't even mentioned Cinna and how that stopped my heart or Caesar or Plutarch who I adored or Snow who gives me nightmares. But any last moments I have must go to EFFIE TRINKET because OH. MY. GOD. THAT. WOMAN. The betrayal and the inner conflict she was feeling - these were her people, this was her team, and yes they were her ticket to fame and fortune and she wanted so hard to make them into something that she could be proud of, and then she was going to lose them, and all of a sudden the whole injustice of the thing hit her in a way that it never had before. It felt very earnestly self-motivated to me but that was PERFECT because her little brain and her social conditioning and everything was being thrown into a turmoil and you could SEE IT HAPPENING. I have overwhelming Effie feels and hopefully I will be able to channel them into something.

Also, that thing she was wearing with the gorilla arms with one shoulder pad that went way up? WHAT WAS THAT?!!!

OK. Really must run now. I LOVE THIS POST IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY AND I CANNOT WAIT TO SQUEEEE ABOUT THIS WITH YOU IN PERSON!!!!!!!!!!!!
I need to see it again SO BAD too! Bettina found out yesterday that the wait between the two parts of Mockingjay will be A FULL YEAR and I absolutely can't even deal with that idea, so for now I'll just focus on rewatching Catching Fire. A lot.

The Victors' Tour was amazing and those reviewers are idiots. I loved that we spent a decent amount of time on what happened before the Quarter Quell instead of just rushing into the action of the games. I thought it was so well paced! And yes, major feels in District 11. Gaaaaah.

I take your point about the necessity of showing the PTSD effects but on the whole it was still a bit too much for me - not even necessarily in any particular breakdown scene taken by itself, but in total I felt anvilled - like someone behind the scenes had been one of our YouTube viewers with the "MAKE HER CRY MORE, SHE CAN'T BE TRULY AFFECTED IF SHE DOESN'T CRY ALL THE DAMN TIME", lol. And book!Katniss is such an internaliser - I know for some of these scenes you need to make how it all affects her visually clear, but I wish they'd let her take a subtler route for some of it, because Jennifer can do so much with just the nuances of her face without needing to have about five full-on flaily breakdowns.

Yeah, Effie was amazing. Srsly, that Reaping scene. I broke. And Mags and Johanna and Haymitch, aaaaaaaah, how were they all so good!

Apparently the cat was recast because there'd been fan annoyance about them casting the wrong colour cat for the first film, LOL. And they didn't think if fans were making a big deal of the wrong colour CAT that they'd better make sure not to fuck up an Annie shot?? lololol.

Awww, sorry Sam didn't do it for you. Initially it could've gone either way for me but he did convince me enough that I'd rather accept that his Finnick is different from the one in my head and appreciate what I can about him, rather than let the fact that he's not perfect ruin the movie character for me.

Hahahah, I didn't notice Gale's absence of a nose. Must take a closer look next time. But yes, favourably impressed with the Hemsworth on the whole.

NEED. REWATCH!

November 2016

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