Movies  •  Critics  •  About
Existimatum  >  Movies  >  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire  >  Reviews  >  New York Times

Manohla Dargis’s “Striking Where…” Almost Strikes Out

In response to Manohla Dargis’s 810‑word review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on New York Times

By ,

Passive-aggression taints this otherwise decent literary offering from Manohla Dargis. “Striking Where Myth Meets Moment ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,’ With Jennifer Lawrence” is an adequate analysis of its topic, but could have been much more if not for subtle nitpicking.

Presumptuous expectations and inconsequential assessment can sabotage even the most esteemed author’s work, as it damages the validity of their argument. And indeed, this work almost implodes at numerous points. Fortunately, Dargis manages to keep his minor qualms minor, thereby avoiding an unfair portrayal of his subject… albeit, barely. But he ultimately delivers his analysis in a clear, concise and generally fair manner and the reader will most likely appreciate his level of tact.

And yet, an undertone of resentment exists, and surely will be detected by even the most casual reader. Dargis’s disapproval of the form in which the subject manifests itself is obvious, and it is clear the author would alter it if possible. It’s akin to receiving a gift and, while simultaneously relaying appreciation, noting they would have preferred a different color. It’s unnecessary, even a little thoughtless, and it would have served him far better to simply appreciate his topic as-is.

Still, “Review: …” ultimately delivers on its promise and portrays a respectable analysis the audience will no doubt find useful. Unfortunately, its shelf life might have been extended considerably had the author resisted the urge to allow his own petty eccentricities to bleed into the text. It is indeed a glaring wound that prevents this merely passable work from being great.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation