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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Movie Review

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Movie Review by Michael Bradley

The sequel to the hugely successful first Hunger Games movie was much anticipated and I looked forward to seeing it as everyone was telling me how it was better than the first one.  It is so rare for a sequel to exceed the original that I was skeptical.  I enjoyed the movie, but unfortunately, I did not find it an improvement, as it abandoned the original themes and seemed more of a set up for future movies than a stand alone film.

Katniss Everdeen, played by the awesome Jennifer Lawrence and Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson, become targets of the oppressive government after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.  In order to survive, Katniss is supposed to continue to pretend to be in love with Peeta even though her real boyfriend, Gale Hawthorne is played by hunky heart throb Liam Hemsworth.

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Spoiler alert – I can’t really explain what is wrong and right with the movie without going into some plot details.  What made the first movie great was the concept that you got to know the competitors and you were tense to see who survived and who would die.  The hunger game itself was the core of the movie with heroes and villains.  In the sequel, the hunger games are abbreviated.  The game itself is more important than the characters.

As a twist to kill off the victors, the Hunger Games for this movie select former victors to be the participants.  As most of them are older, you lose the pathos of kids competing and having to kill each other.  At the same time, you don’t learn enough about any of the competitors to care that much what happens to them.  Each is presented as a caricature, the electric engineer, the hiders, the swimmer, etc.  There is little or no dimension to any of them.  They also form into two large groups which further pulls you away from caring about individuals.  The deaths themselves are brief and more from the contrivance of the game than from each other.

Katniss is the heroine of the first movie but they betray her importance in the end of the sequel.  She finds she is a figurehead for the revolution who has been kept in the dark because she was not trusted to make a tough decision to leave others behind.  Her real boyfriend is part of the conspiracy as are many of her most trusted friends and advisors.  Making Katniss the dupe instead of the heroine really left the movie feeling flat.  At the end, she is being whisked away against her will while important characters are left behind.  Nothing is resolved, merely setting up a third film.  It could easily have said “to be continued” at the end credits.

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Worse still is the strange love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale.  At the beginning we have Peeta, still pining away with unrequited love.  Katniss and Gale struggle with whether to run away and be together.  That is why it is so strange when during the games, Katniss seems to genuinely fall in love with Peeta while Gale is secretly planning to rescue Katniss as part of the revolution.  Why does Gale try to get her to run away with him if he is plotting already?  Why does Katniss fall for Peeta after ignoring him for a year when he lives fifty feet from her and was just as noble in the first games?  The love triangle actually feels forced, even for an actress with Jennifer Lawrence’s talents.

If you like the Hunger Games series, as I do, you have to see the second movie.  It is not as good as the first, it is a set-up for the third movie, but as a fan you won’t care much.  If you are not a Hunger Games fan, then you will find it disjointed, confusing, and in the end it has more strings and unfinished plot lines than it does at the beginning.

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Confused? Understanding Hashtags on Social Networks

#Hashtags confusing?  Here is a good summary of hashtags from Faris Samawi posted at Social Media Today.

Confused? Understanding Hashtags on Social Networks

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Facebook was the last of the major social networks to introduce the hashtag earlier this month. This has been greeted by mixed emotions ranging from excitement by those who use it on other social networks, to confusion at this strange symbol suddenly appearing in status updates, to indifference. Check out the informal poll run on our Facebook page which captured these sentiments.

Are you #Confused? Here is a quick guide on understanding hashtags. It will enable you to use them with confidence and impress your friends and colleagues! The information presented here should translate across the major social networks which all use hashtags (with some minor variations).

So what exactly is a hashtag?

My simplified definition is hashtags are like keywords which can be used to organize messages on a social network. This then facilitates  the searching and grouping of messages with given hashtags. Hashtags are preceded by the pound sign (#) and can be a word or a short phrase (i.e. #Hashtag or #ThisIsAHashtag)

More technical definitions can be found on Wikipedia and Wiktionary.

An interesting look at the life and different uses of the hashtag across history can be found in this Infographic.

Who defines hashtags?

You do. You can place a pound (#) sign in front of any keyword(s) in your message and turn them into hashtags. However, the power of hashtags comes from other people using the same keyword(s) so that by clicking on a hashtag you can get a group of other messages on that topic.

How can I use hashtags?

Typical uses of hashtags:

  • Express emotions: #surprised #speechless #frustrated
  • Identify places or brands or events: #Hawaii #Ferrari #CoolEvent
  • Make recommendations: #MustRead #MustWatch #NowPlaying
  • Connect with like-minded individuals: #CatLovers #TVaddicts

Hashtags should make your messages easier to organize and find. The trick is to hashtag keywords that other people would use when looking for the content contained in your message. You can do a quick search for keywords prior to posting your message to see which hashtags are popular (called “trending”).

Three common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Hashtagging every word (i.e. #I #am #so #excited #today)
  2. Hashtagging the same word more than once (i.e. It is my #birthday. Here is a photo of my #birthday cake, my #birthday presents, and my awesome #birthday party!)
  3. Separating keywords. If your keyword is “black cat” your hashtag should be #BlackCat. If you write it as #Black #Cat this will give you two different keywords: “black” and “cat”.

Where can I place hashtags?

You can use hashtags anywhere in your message – in the main body itself or as a postscript at the end. Here is an example with a hashtag in the main body of the message and two hashtags at the end.

Check out this #awesome site: www.digitalbuzz.me
#SocialMedia #Marketing

Why should I use hashtags?

Two reasons:

  1. Increase exposure
  2. Organize content

Both of these are compelling reason to use hashtags on your personal messages. They are even more compelling when it comes to using social media to promote your business.

What about privacy on Facebook? (source)

If you write a post with limited privacy (ie. Friends), then only those who you have authorized to see the post in the first place will be able to find your post when they search for the hashtag.

If your post’s privacy is set to public, then anyone searching for that hashtag will be able to see your post.

Ready to go out and conquer your social networks with hashtags? Please share this article to help and impress your friends and colleagues.

Still #Confused about hashtags? Feel free to get in touch or post questions in the comments below.

image: hashtags/shutterstock

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