Monday, April 2, 2012

MTV's 5 Lessons for Catching Fire

MTV offers some sound advice for Catching Fire now that The Hunger Games is out:
DO keep the arena underwraps   
This one isn't so much for Ross as it is for the Gamemakers at Lionsgate, but we have to recognize the studio's smart decision to use only pre-Games footage in their aggressive marketing campaign for the film. In fact, I'd go so far as to say my favorite parts of the movie were from the arena, largely because they were fresh and unexpected. With the Quarter Quell's intriguing new venue, Lionsgate would be wise to build anticipation by keeping the tropical death trap shrouded in mystery. 
DON'T skimp on the CGI 
If there was a consistent complaint I heard from "Hunger Games" fans following the film's release, it was that the Girl on Fire scene — in which Katniss and Peeta introduce themselves to the Capitol, riding atop a chariot and flaunting flame-licked jumpsuits representative of their coal-mining home — was ... underwhelming. The flame effect just didn't look real enough. With a slew of new sci-fi aspects introduced in "Catching Fire," including mutated monkeys, we hope Ross can invest a bit more in the film's digital technology. 
DO capitalize on Stanley Tucci 
Say what you will about Jennifer Lawrence's gripping, gritty performance as Katniss Everdeen, but if anyone could be categorized as the film's scene-stealer, it was most certainly Stanley Tucci, whose blue-haired, big-teethed Caesar Flickerman was nothing short of mesmerizing (and a handy exposition device to boot!). Heck, I'd pay to watch a Caesar Flickerman spin-off once all three (four?) "Hunger Games" films debut. "Caesar Flickerman: Not So Blue." Think about it, Lionsgate. 
DON'T downplay the dangers of the arena 
Between her 23 fellow tributes, tracker jackers and muttations, Katniss had plenty to contend with in the arena. But, as my roommate so astutely pointed out to me long after I watched the film and didn't notice, we never really see Katniss hungry or thirsty. Limiting the violence for a PG-13 rating is an understandable edit, but why dull down the deadliness of the Games otherwise? In "Catching Fire," we need to see Katniss and her fellow tributes truly struggle, not simply limp along.

DO make artful additions (especially if they're directed by Steven Soderbergh) 
By shifting the viewpoint of the film from Katniss' first-person perspective, Ross was able to open up the world of Panem in a way we hadn't experienced before. The addition of the control room, Seneca Crane's implied death by berries and, most notably, the District 11 riot only added to the film.