Friday, November 29, 2013

Ender's Game and Catching Fire Review

So in this supper odd twist of fates I went to two movies in a week.  Odd, because I see maybe two movies in the theater a year, but last weekend during babysitter switch Dr. J and I went Ender's Game, and then Wednesday night I went to Catching Fire with my girlfriend Melanie.

So Ender's Game had a lot to live up to for me.  I've read the book several times and just the week before Dr. J and I had finished reading Ender's Shadow which covers the same amount of time in Ender's Game but from the perspective of Bean, one of Ender's platoon leaders.  I'm thinking that being fresh with the material was maybe not a plus.  It is always a challenge to fit a book into a two hour movie and while Ender's Game is not particularly long, it covers several years.  The movie failed to convey this and instead you sort of got the feeling that Ender jumped from school to school to war and done all in the space of 30 days.  Another issue for me is that size plays an extremely important role in the book.  Ender is younger and smaller then most of the people at battle school.  It adds to his isolation and is what brings his ability to lead into serious question, why would anyone be willing to follow him.  It almost makes his attacks more impressive, but in the movie Ender doesn't really look particularly younger or smaller and in one of the biggest fights in the movie he actully stands taller then Bohnzo Madrid who is suppose to be a "strikingly beautiful boy of aristocratic Spanish lineage" but instead looks like this...tiny guy in the front.

Well maybe size doesn't matter, except when it is suppose to be this big surprise that this guy pushes Ender to use his killing instincts, and it should seem like an unfair fight...but really does this look that unfair...

Let's just admit it was bad casting.  You can act your way out of being the shorter love interest, I'm talking about you Josh Hutcherson and I'm not saying you can't be a psychotic short guy but in this case it just doesn't work!  Anyway it was just a whole bunch of little stuff like that, but the result was almost the whole movie I was cringing.  There was only one saving grace for me, every time I read the book I'm like what the heck makes Ender unique in his final battle, well seeing it on film I finally got it.  Thanks for that movie.  Otherwise thumbs down.

So I went into Catching Fire expecting to be disappointed.  Ender's Game was fresh on my mind and I wasn't a huge fan of The Hunger Game's movie.  Don't get me wrong I was glad I watched it but I didn't buy it and only saw it the one time.  For me it didn't live up to the book.  I had no reason to worry though.  Catching Fire was ten times better then Hunger Games.  You could definitely tell more money had been put into the film, the characters were more comfortable with their roles, it stuck fairly close to the book although it didn't get bogged down in to many details and where it did go off track it was seemless.  If you weren't some crazy person who read the series like ten times (hmmm, wonder who I'm talking about) you wouldn't even have noticed.

The best outfit of the whole movie in my opinion...this butterfly dress worn by Effie Trinket.  I have an obsession with butterflies that might borderline on unhealthy!

Effie Trinket --- Butterfly Dress

Most disappointing outfit of the movie, IMHO...I mean it doesn't really matter but that skirt covers more then a pair of swim trunks.  It just doesn't fit the book scene quite as spot on as it could have.  Although in all honesty, Finnick doesn't either.  I pictured tall, light and a swimmer's body and so beautiful that everyone, man and women would notice him on the street.  Sam Claflin is attractive but I wouldn't call him beautiful.  

Finnick Odair | via Facebook
This moment with Johana in the elevator though was just perfect.  Spot on, maybe even better.  Seriously the facial expressions were the best in the whole movie.  It was at this moment when I was like, you know Woody, I can finally forgive them for casting you.  This made it all worth it.

There were a few things I didn't like.  A couple of Peeta's line were really rushed and I think that's what sort of made them seem cheesy in the Hunger Games movie, made him lose some of his appeal, but overall I was a lot happier with Josh as Peeta this time around.  Also my favorite scenes of the book aren't there, at least not true to the way they happens in the book, you know when they start hugging again on the train, look at Peeta's work, run off to spend their days on the roof top and then start sleeping in the same bed again and when their prep team catches them they run off crying...well you sort of get a little of that, but mainly you have to wait for the beach scene and because they are then in the arena again you can't really trust that Katnis might not be acting, where in the book she makes it perfectly clear that she knows she is going to die and she is going to take back the comfort of this love for herself.  OH well.  Overall though, I really liked this movie and would definitely buy it to own or would even go see it again.  Can't wait for number three and four (really was that necessary)!  Really hope they keep Francis Lawrence as the director and Simon Beaufoy on as screen writer.  Just as a side note, Simon Beaufoy adapted Slumdog Millionaire and did an amazing job of it.  The movie is better then the book in my opinion and adapting books to movies is not always the easiest job!

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