90 Movies in 90 Days: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Release Date:November 11, 2013
Director: Francis Lawrence
Production Company: Color Force | Lionsgate
Summary/Review: I hadn’t intended on watching this movie for my 90 Days project, but my younger child has got into reading The Hunger Games book series and we ended up watching the first two movie adaptations. I’d already reviewed the first film ten years ago (!) but had never gotten around to watching the rest of the series.

The movie shares some problems it has with the book in that it squeezes two stories into one narrative.  The first half deals with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) dealing with the trauma of surviving the Hunger Games while on their victory tour, as well as somewhat forced love triangle involving Gale (Liam Hemsworth).  In the second half of the movie, Katniss and Peeta are returned to the Hunger Games after trickery by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) having all the tributes drawn from surviving victors.  Throughout the story there is burbling of rebellion but as it’s told from Katniss’ point of view we don’t see the planning of that rebellion.  This makes sense from a dramatic point of view although it does seem unfair to Katniss’ character.

All that being said, this movie is well-done and balanced in its approach which could easily drift to far in the directions of exploitation and inspiration.  It’s also packed with stars in supporting roles such as Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, and Amanda Plummer.  Sam Clafflin and Jena Malone appea as Katniss’ allies Finnick and Johanna and are both good in their roles.

Rating: ***1/2

Book Review: Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule

Author: Charles Soule
Title: Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi
Narrator: Marc Thompson
Publication Info: New York : Random House Audio, 2021.

This is the first in a series of books set in the Star Wars galaxy two centuries before the time period seen in the films.  The Galactic Republic has ushered in an era of peace and prosperity and is expanding into the territories of the Outer Rim.  The book begins with a bang as a freighter called the Legacy Run breaks apart in hyperspace with pieces emerging throughout the galaxy and threatening to destroy the Hetzal system.  Several Jedi arrive to not only attempt to stop the annihilation of planets but save passengers still trapped in the fragmented compartments of the ship.

The crisis leads to the closing of hyperspace lanes which are necessary to connecting the various far flung planetary systems threatens the stability of the Republic.  A group of marauders known as the Nihil take advantage of the crisis. Marchion Ro, known as the Eye of the Nihil, has found a unique way to navigate paths through hyperspace, allowing the raiders to continue their attacks.  But Ro has even bigger plans to consolidate his power that the leaders of the Nihil are unaware of, including facing off with the Jedi.

It’s refreshing to have a piece of Star Wars media that is completely unconnected from the Skywalker Saga (although Yoda is mentioned).  That being said, there are a lot of new characters in this book and I don’t think I ever got a handle on the significant characteristics of each one.  I do like that the Jedi seem more independent from the Republic than they were in the prequel movies, and also a bit more mysterious.  My favorite character is Burryaga Agaburry, a sensitive Wookiee padawan.

Rating: ***1/2