It goes without saying that I loved every second of this film and that I spent the entire time A) planning this completely inevitable blog post and B) wondering how on earth I would write a review of this movie without giving away lots (and lots, and lots) of spoilers. For nostalgia/research's sake, I took a look back at my review of the first film and was reminded of my own brilliance - I reviewed that one by character! Because I don't have time for originality, I will use that same technique here. I would advise you to read my old review to get some background on the opinions I'm about to give - and also because I'm funny and you should be re-reading my old blog posts on a daily basis anyway.
KATNISS: I didn't hate Katniss quite so much in this movie as I did in the first one. As has been the case since the first film, J. Law does a lovely job playing her in a manner true to the book - I just like Katniss' character arc a lot better in the second book. I think it's because, in this one, she has so much less control than she did in the first. I don't want to spoil the plot for you all, but even when Katniss thinks she's in charge in this movie, she isn't. And I like that in a female character. There's only room for one independent-thinkin', spunky young lady in my movie-going experience, Katniss Everdeen, and that young lady is me.
PEETA: I liked Peeta a lot better in this movie than I did in the first. First of all, thanks to the whole "year's worth of getting ignored by the love of his life" thing, he just seems sassier somehow this time around - and, unsurprisingly, I like that in a man. Secondly, Josh Hutcherson has finally started to look like he's only seven months younger than I am! (Yes, I mean seven months exactly. I looked it up. Don't worry about it.) In the last film, he looked suspiciously too young for his actual age, and, much like when I watched Tom Daley in the 2012 Olympics, I felt weird about finding him attractive. I didn't feel that weirdness in this film. So, thanks, Catching Fire costume department - because I'm pretty sure this shift came from all those stupid tank tops.
GALE: Still hot. This character exists literally only to be hot. I'm pretty sure he's had 10 lines in the entire Hunger Games franchise so far, and yet he still gets top billing for some reason. He is in these films solely as eye candy. Sweet, sweet eye candy. And this lack of respect for the acting process is...an...outrage. Yeah.
CINNA: I can't remember now whether or not I said this out loud mid-movie when the thought first entered my head tonight, but it's official: Lenny Kravitz is the love of my life. There's a lot I can't say about Cinna in this film in the interest of avoiding spoilers, but I'll say this: the Cinna-Katniss dynamic had a lot less awkward, cross-generational sexual tension in this film than it did in the first, and that is a step in the right direction. After all, Katniss gets Peeta AND Gale - leave Cinna to the rest of us.
CAESAR FLICKERMAN: For a hot second here, I'm going to shift from my normal reviewing mode and say something actually meaningful about the acting in this film. The subtle shifts in Caesar's character from the last film to this one as the Capitol becomes increasingly evil were fantastic. The constant over-the-top laughter, the constant creepy white teeth, the small tensions as things fall apart at the final interviews before the Games...all of it. Stanley Tucci for Best Actor. And for Sarah's Best Friend. Please.
HAYMITCH: You know, it probably reflects poorly on my character that I am deeply attracted to a character with both a serious drinking problem and arguably the worst haircut in the history of film, but I am, in fact, deeply attracted to Woody Harrelson in this movie. This review is quickly descending into just a series of semi-coherent ramblings about hot guys who I can't decide whether to identify by their real-life or on-screen identities, but, well, you know, I just don't care anymore.
I mean, honestly. Either grow your hair out or don't.
FINNICK: Like Gale, Finnick is another character who seems to be billed by the film as more important than he actually ends up being as a plot actor. Also like Gale, Finnick is just stupidly hot. I see a trend developing here, Lionsgate. You are robbing these characters of depth! I am outrage...ously over it. My only complaint here is, Finnick, when it comes to wearing shirts, do less.
EFFIE: Look! A character I'm going to discuss for merits/demerits based on things other than candidacy for Sexiest Man Alive! Like Caesar's, Effie Trinket's character progression in this film was really nice. Unlike almost anyone else in the film or the books, she has an actual emotional range here. She also continues to have awesome clothes.
That dress! Those SHOES! Second and third only to the incredible glitter tights she wears at the Presidential Palace gala. Watch for them. Observe them. Report back to me with your desire, on a scale from 1-10, to have those tights in your closet. I'm at about a 12.
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN: Let's not pretend anyone caught this guy's actual name. The character is played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and I think we can all agree that that weirds us out a little bit. He's too famous for this weirdly-named role, and not in a cool Lenny Kravitz way.
WIRESS, AKA "NUTS" OF NUTS 'N' VOLTS, AKA "TICK TOCK TI-" SHUT UP ALREADY: I'm including this character for one reason and one reason only. I spent the whole movie agonizing over where on earth I had seen this actress before, and thanks to a quick IMDB check after leaving the film, I figured it out. She was the crazy teacher lady in Get a Clue, the Disney Channel Original Movie starring Lindsay Lohan. You are welcome.
What she looked like in Get a Clue. Essentially the same as her look in this movie: pitiable crazy person
THOSE MONKEYS!!!: Thanks, Catching Fire, for instilling in me what is bound to become a lifelong fear of baboons. These stupid creatures look exactly like real-life monkeys, but larger, scarier, and with a much realer thirst for human blood. I'm writing this blog post at 2:35 AM partially so I don't forget anything important about the movie, but mostly because I'm trying to put off the genetically-modified-killer-monkey dreams I'm inevitably going to have when I finally succumb to sleep tonight. I hate you, stupid monkeys - almost as much as I hate the concept of tracker jackers.
So, friends, those are my lightly abridged thoughts on the people, animals, and unrealistically attractive men of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I have plenty more to say about actual plot elements of the film, so please, feel free to engage me in conversation about them if you run into me this weekend. To get those Catching Fire-discussing embers glowing, I'll leave you with this important, entirely non-rhetorical question:
Which cliffhanger was worse: this? Or Deathly Hallows Part 1? Discuss amongst yourselves, my friends. If you need me, I'll be kneeling at my bedside, praying for God to send me Stanley Tucci as my best friend and/or lover (went there) and to keep me safe from monkey-related attacks and/or nightmares. Good night, dear readers - and may the odds be ever in your favor.