Also, I haven't read the books either, so, feel free to distrust anything I have to say based off of that as well. Though, if there was anything to get me to read the books, then it would be to end on the worst possible way with one giant cliff hanger without any sort of resolution to anything.
Alright...here we go.
This movie had me asking a lot of questions by the end of it all. Questions like:
1. Why did they bother to introduce a bunch of characters and decide not to do anything with them ever again?
2. Why did they decide to make the final shot of having Jennifer Lawrence make one of the most hilarious looking faces since...well, I don't know when.
3. Why is everyone try to say "Peter" in a really bad British accent.
4. Oh, it's "Peeta"...why is everyone's names so silly?
5. Seriously! They introduce a character who carved her teeth to be able to bite people to death, but they never show her again throughout the rest of the movie, as far as I can remember.
6. Why are all the good guys normal looking people while all the bad guys look like they are one step away from being a part of The Rocky Horror Show?
7. If The Hunger Games take place in a dome, and it seems like they can create what every they would like, why do they always choose the most boring settings? The first time around, it was a forest. The second time around, it's another forest but with a body of water in the middle.
8. Seriously? They're going to end it right there?
So, it's half past the future and people are living in this dystopian world where the poor kids get sent off onto this reality TV show, called The Hunger Games, where they have to kill each other for the rich people's entertainment. The main character, Catfish Jellybean, gets caught up in one of these things, but, in order to survive, she pretends to fall in love with one of the other contestants, Pita Bread, in order to win the emotional support of her audience and to get help from sponsors. Usually, only 1 of the 24 people survive The Hunger Games contest, but Catnip and Pita Bread manage to both survive. Now, in the second part of this story for the second movie, Cataract has given people hope that they can somehow end The Hunger Games once and for all when she managed the unthinkable of having more than one person survive the last game. The richest of the rich people doesn't like that, so, he decides to throw her into another one of these games, only this time, it's with contestants who have already won before.
To be fair, there were a lot of things that I actually did like. Kit-Kat and Pizza Crust get caught up in the whole reality TV show thing where they really have to sell it to the audience that they're just hopelessly in love. It's a great satire on reality TV shows of today and just how BS the whole thing really is. Also, there are some things about class disparity, so and and so forth, but the whole reality TV show thing was really when the movie actually felt like it was trying to do something interesting
Other than that, the movie just kind of sits around, almost providing us a near identical experience of the first movie, and then finally goes, "Oh yeah! Hey guys, make sure you come around for the next movie, because that's going to be pretty cool and stuff...so, umm, see ya then" It's all well made and it's got good leading characters, but the movie just never really clicked with me. It brought up some good ideas, it likes to play with some interesting science fiction concepts, and a lot of the scenes(particularly the actions scenes) are even better staged than the last movie(even if it's just a small improvement).
Writing this part, I literally just saw the movie a couple of hours ago, and I'm already forgetting most of everything that happens other than the broad strokes of the plot and a couple of the characters names. This pretty much happened to me with the first movie as well. I could tell you that The Hunger Games was about a bunch of kids killing each other for rich people's entertainment, but having just re-watched it yesterday(in preparation for the new movie) I completely forgot about the relationship between Katniss and Peeta and how Peeta actually does start to develop feelings for Katniss, even though she's really only pretending just to help her survive. These things aren't exactly small plot points for the movie either.
Also, that ending. So, someone compared it to the Empire Strikes Back and how that sort of ends on a "To Be Continued" note. But that movie actually had a complete story and experience, even if the movie didn't exactly end with complete closure. It had characters and plot points that actually came into full circle in the end so it can open up a new story with its own plot points that come into full circle. Catching Fire, even if the entire movie was 2 and a half hours long, feels like it stops right in the middle of it all so it can force us to wait for the next part of the story...and then the one after that(Yes, they're splitting the last book into two parts for some, inexplicable reason).
I know it sounds like I'm being harsh and dissenting of a popular movie just for the sake of being harsh and dissenting, so, let me just clarify by saying that this isn't a bad movie at all. There were things that had me scratching my head, but it's all competently made and I was mildly engaged while watching it. But, it feels kind of weird when people get incredibly excited after the whole experience(there was a lot of cheering in the screening I saw) while I'm just kind of sitting back just thinking "Well, that was alright, I suppose."
The entire movie is really just fine. Sure, the movie is 2 and a half hours long, but it does go by at a good pace and I was engaged through most of it. Other than that, it is really hard for me to conjure any more of a reaction than just "Yeah, it was okay." It almost feels like a movie that was made because the books have gotten so popular and not because some people really wanted to bring these books onto the big screen. It is cool that a lot of people really do seem to be enjoying these movies and are even getting really excited for the upcoming parts. Hell, I'm at least looking forward to the next part. But it just sort of feels like these movies can do with a little more bite, if that makes any sense.
So, I liked it enough, I just didn't have that explosive experience that everyone else seemingly got. So, let's just say this movie gets my shrug of approval.