[Catching Fire Reaction Paper]
Danielle Elisha F. Ching
“The odds are never in our favor.”
The second book of the Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire, could be classified under the science fiction genre; consequently, its film adaptation is also scientifically fictitious. In fact, the whole trilogy is sci-fi. It is imaginative, explosive, futuristic, and historical at the same time. Also, it suggests an alternative world which is rationally possible through science. Specifically in the movie Catching Fire, scientific modern technological advancements were featured like the body-embedded trackers, holograms, engineered animals, controlled arenas, force fields, and Katniss’ flaming wedding-turned-mocking-jay dress.
The film is basically a commentary on human society based on what was, what is, and what if. Panem, the country where it is set, bears a resemblance to a post-apocalyptic North American region. It could also represent North America under the British rule. Panem has a dystopian society originally composed of 13 districts, with a totalitarian government centered in the Capitol, while colonized North America has 13 states under the power of the Brits. The tyrannical taxing system imposed on the districts of Panem also happened in the past North America. At another angle in the past, the film could also refer to ancient Rome, wherein warriors like the tributes, engage in gladiator battle games inside the coliseums.
While the film depicts the past human society, it also embodies the present. The Capitol, the center of Panem, has people who satirically reflect the superficial shallow people of the present generation. They judge people based on their outward appearance, they wear outrageously insane couture, they speak in a funny way, they are impractical, they follow fads and trends, they spend lavishly on parties, and they are bulimic. For reference, when President Snow’s granddaughter wears her hair braided like Katniss, the granddaughter confirmed that it was the current fad, without knowing what it really means. Another instance was during the party at the presidential mansion, and someone offered Peeta a drink which makes people throw up, showing the bulimic culture of the Capitol’s people. Politically, the movie also suggests something about the current corruption-driven governments. Although most governments are not necessarily totalitarian, the same system occurs within societies—commoners are robbed off, while the elite fatten up themselves.
Catching fire’s also futuristic because of the technological developments and changes featured in the movie—holograms and force fields are much developed and widely used by society, hybrid birds like the mockingjays and jabberjays could copy tunes and voices, flames could be worn, and time could be controlled. Rationally, these developments are possible but are not yet taking over the present society.
There is a clear distinction between the Capitol and the 13 districts of Panem—the Capitol holds all of the power, while the surrounding districts serve, pay taxes, and send tributes to the Capitol. The Capitol is the wealthiest city, and is also more advanced in terms of technology. Meanwhile, there are also wealthy districts like 1, 2, and 4, which are pets of the Capitol. The more outlying districts like 11 and 12 are impoverished; they are the underdogs. District 13, which was thought to be obliterated after the first rebellion, is now surprisingly operational by the end of the movie. I think that the failure of the society as a whole is that the welfare of the citizens of Panem are not taken care of; they are used like slaves. If the Capitol wants to maintain its power, it must at least show care for ALL of its citizens. However, the Capitol was successful in dividing the districts through the Hunger Games. If the districts unite together, the Capitol stands no chance against them. The districts’ failure to realize this was altered during the second rebellion—this was a success for the part of the districts. In terms of science and technology, the 13 districts also succeeded and failed. For example, district 3, which specializes in electronics, was able to develop all sorts of new inventions—its citizens are very successful in their field. However, what made them fail is that these developments and inventions are brought to the Capitol; they did not benefit much from their own. For most of the districts, this was the case—the Capitol claims their success. The Districts fail then succeed, and succeed then fail in science, technology, and society.