It's refreshing to be in a movie theatre after all these years. Yes, that's right, I haven't watched a movie in a movie theatre in years. I haven't even watched a new movie from start to finish in a long time either. The last new movie I watched was on business class mid-haul Singapore Airlines (ahhh). It was a Star Trek movie. Not bad. But that's for another entry.
My company was a sponsor for a local premier night, thus free tickets. The local premier night was was interesting in itself. A new events company organized it; I had always assumed organizers were either the movie theatre chain or the local distributor of the movie. I'm interested in the business of it, especially since anomalously, this premier night was not actually premier at all. The movie was released the day before, November 20. Anyway, other sponsors besides the company I work for gave out samples including a coupon from a food ordering website which I might actually use; another coupon for studio photography (I wonder how business is); a bar of Cadbury chocolate, unfortunately regionally produced in Malaysia I think. It was crap like all other licensed made in Malaysia chocolate. It was soft, waxy, chewy, not snappy, not glossy, but I still ate it after being proud of my restraint and eating only around half of the popcorn. There were raffles with prizes from other sponsors. My ticket almost won a prize from a spa. Too bad; it was only 5 numbers up from the winning ticket number.
Some of my co-workers fell asleep. Overworked and underpaid. Haha. Also getting old.
Oh, the movie itself wasn't bad at all, but wasn't so great. It started off with some corny jokes, kind of cheap shots that people in the theatre nonetheless lapped up. For someone who has a rudimentary understanding of the story, having never watched the first two movies let alone read the books, I was able to follow it and was interested and entertained. I was surprised to see Philip Seymour Hoffman, may the man and brilliant artist rest in peace, as well as Julianne Moore. To me, the presence of two actors hinted that this is a decent production and I should sit up and pay attention. It was also surprising to recognize actors like Anne Boleyn from The Tudors, lately of Game of Thrones. This just shows how out of the loop I am. The actual story wasn't very interesting; in three parts they were convincing Katniss to be the Mockingjay; filming videos of Katniss and lastly; suddenly saving Peeta and the other Hunger Games players when the opportunity arose.
The striking thing about this movie that I can't decide whether it makes the movie bad or good is that I spent the first half of the movie wondering why there was such a huge emphasis on filming propoganda, how Katniss has to wear a special costume, how she's bad on a filming set and has to be on the ground. Does this movie, YA and dystopian society stories in general reflect contemporary society? Is it supposed to be an oblique reference to our self-obsessed society of image, Kardashians, selfies, Youtube videos and all that jazz? Is it genius or inadvertent mimicry?
Additionally, the indirect conflict between Peeta and Katniss essentially fought through TV reminds me of petty middle school quarrels. Perfect immaculately white teacher's pet Peeta against underground righteous rebel Katniss. Is this supposed to be a reflection of that?
District 13 was beautiful. I loved the set design especially the dining hall lights with its table lights. It created a beautiful atmosphere, almost contemporary modern. The old Everdeen house and the Capitol were also beautiful, in an English manor kind of way.
Where the movie people decided to end this part was a good decision. It was enough to give finality to this segment but still be curious about what will happen next. I will be looking for a copy of the books and maybe even the first two movies, though I wouldn't recommend paying for the movie ;-)