The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Isn't it interesting how people say they like the first book the most, but the second movie outshines them all? They say it's better than the book. It's better than the first movie. I'd have to agree on one point: the movie is done well, and yes ... it may be better than the book.
As I've stated before, I enjoyed the second book more than the first. Now that world building is out of the way, Catching Fire is able to give us much more character development and action. All of the characters become more human.
The acting is good. Evidently, Jennifer Lawrence's recent successes have yet to go to her head and get in the way of her acting. The music is good. The book adaptation is excellent, where minor plot omissions actually help the plot move faster and cleaner.
The only thing I didn't like was the very ending (what comes next is a minor spoiler) -- a strange uncharacteristic look by Jennifer Lawrence, followed by a strange CGI animation of the Catching Fire logo morphing into the Mockingjay logo. Yes, I realize the movie ends right where the book ends, and that doesn't work well with a movie, but this choice in directing (in my opinion) did not smooth over the issues. Rather, it seemed to confuse the audience. Even my kids were like: "What the heck was that?"
I look forward to the third movie (which is rumored to be split into two ... <groan>). Even though many say they hate the third book the most, I predict that the masses will love what's coming next, which should lend itself very well to the screen.
Thor: The Dark World
I went in expecting more, but Thor: The Dark World gave me a lot of empty action with very little actual story. Well, it did have a story, but it wasn't very interesting. It was very predictable and formulaic.
The movie was still well done. The action was a fun roller coaster ride. The visuals were outstanding (I didn't see it in 3-D as it wasn't shot in 3-D). The acting was believable. It's just that I've seen this all before. The movie didn't provide anything new. I didn't feel anything when any of the characters died.
I was a little disappointed, especially given that I enjoyed the first movie so much. I suppose Michael Straczynski can't write every Thor story! (I can just picture him on an online dating video ... "I love movies. I wish I could write them all.")
I should also mention the dangerous life-threatening anomalies that plague the Earth in this movie, and yet, NOBODY DIES from them -- that is, no civilians were killed in the making of this movie. This isn't a deal breaker, but still pretty funny.
In general, this show has some of the strangest science I've ever seen, but then again this is the last place to be looking for "good" science. As far as I can tell, Phil Plait has yet to write one of his science analyses on this movie. Breaking the laws of science only comes across as cool in this movie.
And one last bit ... does anyone else see any striking similarities between this movie and the recent Season 2 of The Legend of Korra?
This movie didn't seem to last too long in the theaters, but it may still be at the $2 theaters. If you haven't seen it yet, it's still worth watching in the theater to at least see all the cool effects and action, but don't expect a very memorable story.