With 2013 fast becoming memorable for the likes of Miley Cyrus and her pre-pubescent-looking behind twerking all over our television screens and sirens like model & food blogger Robyn Lawley being labelled as fat, it is fair to say that we’re in desperate need of a strong, beautiful female role model that can dominate our screens. Feminism is a dirty word nowadays, reality TV with self-obsessed posers is plastered over every channel and lead female protagonists in TV and film are few and far between.

We need a revolution right?

Cue Jennifer Lawrence’s return as the gregarious, effortlessly beautiful and tough Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The actress and fictional character, both of whom are hailed as the ultimate modern day role model, all rolled into one seriously talented brunette.

Of course it is helpful that this film is the blockbuster that breaks the mould. The trilogy has become something of a phenomenon and the narrative is relatable yet fantastical whilst being at times spectacularly scary – a totalitarian state where the rich are getting richer, and the poor, poorer is something that audiences can relate to yet the games-til-death saga keeps it far away from reality for us to enjoy it.

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However, for me, the true driving force of Hunger Games, is the fact that this smart film based on social commentary of our own lives is led by a female character who is unlike any other female protagonist I can think of off the top of my head. A genuinely interesting, intense piece of action, mixed with social commentary, dystopian dread and a little bit of romance for good measure – all centred around a woman – now how often do you see that on the big screen?

The sequel Catching Fire has an even bigger sense of female empowerment as this film centres around the adoration for Katniss as the people realise she’s the game-changer for their deplorable society.

This want for revolution, and the people of Panem revolting against the system shocks the trilogy back into action. Plus, this episode plays out the social commentary that Suzanne Collins undoubtedly intended to portray when she released these novels.

In the thrilling second instalment from the novel turned film, The Hunger Games spirits us back to the classic-come-futuristic kingdom of Panem, where teenagers in the poorer districts win rations for their neighbours and loved ones by competing in a reality-televised fight to the death hosted by the totalitarian government.
Since the events of the first film, it seems Katniss Everdeen, the victor of the 74th Annual Hunger Games, has become a celebrity and role model for the repressed people of Panem. Revolution is bubbling under the surface of these dystopian districts and President Snow [played brilliantly by Donald Sutherland] and the ruling classes of the Capitol, lay the fault of this rebellion at Katniss’ feet.

The Games, were initially designed to serve as a distraction and entertainment for the downtrodden residents of Panem’s outer districts. Also the idea of money and fame from the games spurned the poor to aspire to being a tribute, and ultimately a victor thus providing entertainment for the masses. However, Katniss’ rule-bending victory has made the people realise revolution is what they want and that change is possible.

During a victory tour with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), a fellow competitor with whom she contrived a crowd-pleasing romance, there is unrest in the crowds.

Snow’s chief of manipulation-by-media, Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), suggests a simple solution. Turn the people against their idol by drafting Katniss into a special, all-star Hunger Games, where she will be revealed as a treacherous, self-seeking false goddess and everyone will be once again content with their lives as they are.

The people of Panem are ready to fight and in a way, I think the Hunger Games is a nod to our culture today – similarly to George Orwell’s 1984, or Kubrick’s adaptation of A Clockwork Orange this film is placing a mirror up to the audience with surprisingly stark comparisons and that is what makes this film so significant and why Jennifer Lawrence’s character is a pivotal and historical character for the big screen.

Celebrity obsessed culture centred on reality TV that victimises and chooses random people for the entertainment of others with the promise of success, money and adoration. However, when that is achieved plans are constructed to tear that status away again. More often than not we see female celebs built up and knocked down by those same organisation, which make them icons. Sounds all to familiar right? Just look at the references in my introduction and compare with Katniss’ journey, or in fact, Jennifer Lawrence’s own journey…

After the first instalment, it was almost undeniable that round two, The Hunger Games: Catching fire would be epic. Director Francis Lawrence has done a sublime job in effortlessly flowing on from the tone initially set by Gary Ross in the first film and I’m already desperate for the third instalment, which will reportedly be split into two halves.

The Hunger Games is the ultimate science fiction action film and the fact that its led by a badass girl seals the deal for me.

VERDICT: [rating=4]

 

About The Author

Emily Stockham

Emily is from South London and has a degree in English Literature. Emily is a marketing assistant who writes about films and music in her spare time. Horror and grindhouse are her thing - although she will happily watch anything if it means a trip to the cinema.