Astrology: Film: ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ (2013)

Lionsgate

Lionsgate

The Hunger Games franchise likes to quantify. Twelve subjugated districts of the fractured country called Panem paying obeisance to the Capitol. Seventy-four (and counting) annual fight-to-the-death competitions, each one involving the forced participation, to the death, of two-dozen child and teenage tributes.

And now, in Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, there’s a 12-day Victory Tour to 12 districts and (surprise!) a spontaneously assembled extra-special mete – the Quarter Quell – that calls upon previous Hunger Games winners to face similar fatal-endings combat. Mind-numbing numbers. And a mind-numbing life for Panem’s denizens.

Saturn, this trilogy’s glue, is archetypally about obligations to and compliance with the dictates of authority figures. Someone exactly like President Snow (Donald Sutherland), Panem’s iron-fisted Plutonic oligarch. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), the spunky heroine-who-doesn’t-know-it-yet, is part of Panem’s collective Saturnine citizenry. However, the masses are increasing embracing her unwittingly provocative demeanor as their inspiration to topple the regime.

Despite her recent co-victory in the 74th Hunger Games – along with her District 12 friend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) – she’s nothing more than a cog in Panem’s wheel, albeit one who’s now living in a more luxurious domicile with her mother (Paula Malcomson) and adoring sister Prim (Willow Shields). Also in the picture is Gale (Liam Hemsworth), a young man from her district she’s had long-time feelings for. Otherwise, there are no perks to having come through the Games in one piece. As Hamish tells her, “You never get off this [victory] train.” Yes, the rigors of Saturn will suck the life out of an even celebratory con game.

But if Saturn’s been keeping everyone in line, new sparks crackle.

Katniss’s and Peeta’s previous Hunger-Games survival strategy had included a concocted love story between them (Peeta’s romantic feelings for Katniss are, unfortunately genuine and unrequited). Snow threatens Katniss and demands she continue to highlight this ruse to distract the populace from latching onto a hope that could well turn into outright rebellion. Not surprisingly, the Quarter Quell lays deeper grooves for the face-off: Saturnian status quo vs. Uranian revolution.

The old familiar faces – Hamish (Woody Harrelson), Effie (Elizabeth Banks) and Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) – are here. Katniss, Peeta and the new collection of tributes (Sam Clafkin, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer, Jena Malone and Lynn Cohen) are pitted against two forces: the mayhem generated by the 12 sectors of an ancient Saturnine horology device, and the Uranian high-tech secrets behind force fields and subtle energy patterns that humans ultimately have the power to penetrate.

Hamish, despite his excessive drinking, philosophizes accurately. “There are no winners, only survivors,” he says. The days of dehumanizing Saturnine endurance are, however, about to shift.

Astrology Film Rating: ♄♅ (Saturn, Uranus)

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