It was interesting seeing “The Hunger Games, Catching Fire” movie in close proximity to the second part of The Hobbit trilogy “Desolation of Smaug”. Both big movies forged on a large, epic scale, one imbued with emotion and feeling and 1 largely devoid of both. Director Peter Jackson has accomplished something not uncommon in modern film he has sacrificed one of the most beloved books in the world in a funeral pyre of bombastic special effects. He has sucked all the heart and soul out of The Hobbit and left us with a noisy, gasbag of a movie, and a long one at that!
Jackson has given us, in a mind numbing 5 hours of screen time, virtually no character development, none of the dwarf back-story that is such a part of Tolkien’s great book. Yes the effects are “state of the art” and the action is exciting but ultimately you end up not really caring very much. In his determination to turn The Hobbit into the grand film spectacle of The Lord of the Rings Jackson has oddly stripped away all the charm and heart that has made the book so beloved.
While The Hunger Games does not have the literary pedigree of The Hobbit the film has something even more wonderful; Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence’s performance is one for the ages; her laser beam focus on heroine Katniss Everdeen and her complex moral dilemmas never ever falter. She brings a gravitas to Katniss that imbues the relatively hackneyed political story with a tremendous cinematic and moral weight. Katniss is one of the first non-ironic heroic characters I have seen in film in a while and it was very refreshing. The filmmakers’ of the 2 Hunger Games movies made sure that the action and special effects in the film supported the story. Sadly the great director Peter Jackson made sure that The Hobbit, a far more original and beloved tale was completely lost in a flood of special effects and action.