Katniss's district is shown as so drained of vitality, she, Gale, and Peeta come across as Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli did when they first entered the no-more-cheer-than-a-graveyard domain of the subjected Horse Lords. The result is that the Reaping looks like just as good an opportunity to actually save oneself as Gale's proposal to flee into the forest does: the Opponent is becoming as weak and drained as all the adults have become. This is true for all the kids actually reaped -- excepting the ones killed off in the first few minutes, dull as dishwater, excepting the frizzy-haired boy, who might in some alternate universe had a one-in-a-million chance to jump-start into a Sideshow Bob. Gale is a stag; Katniss, your alert, quick deer; and Peeta the one a sophisticate would assess as so multi-capable his great flaw is that, owing to his mother's apparently catastrophic denial of him, though he can with facility heft hundred-pound bags he isn't anywhere near knowing the extent of his reach. Rue is supposed to remind Katniss of Prim -- but this is crazy talk: she is further proof that the Reaping took Katniss away from country debilitation toward being amongst "Princeton's" shining elite -- these type have got it so going on they even know what it is to loosen themselves to impish play.
The favored district is composed of non-blanched meanies; but upon watching the film I realized the experience of their involvement with Rue, Thresh, Peeta and Katniss is kinda like the popular high school set figuring out exactly how best to deal with spark-possessing new varietals that one day might compose a competing rival one: even while conniving how to dispose of them, pick them off, one by one, they're experimenting with and enabling the mental/physical/spatial relocations that could let them acceptably fit them in as their own. This is a bit of a stretch, I know, but it is still the close high school equivalent.
It's the crowds that stand apart. It may be that in their united fealty to Katniss, District 12 figures in the imagination as pure, while the Capital is set as a grotesque -- but I am pausing on this one. If so, however, the film does enable a certain class of people for ruthless, empathy-denied elimination -- the Capital's crowds of splendor-entranced, disconcerned entitled elitists; and for this then should the film principally be explored for its say on fascism.
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Jake's comment at Movieline.com:
[. . .] Consequently, I found the arrogant "bad boy" teen leading the group of evil teens to be far more interesting a character with his simple moment in the finale when he suggested that all the killing he did was not worth it. That moment of regret showed more depth than katniss, Peeta, Rue (sp?) and all the other characters combined.
Cato's final moment wasn't for me so much the character regretting as the film archly regrouping to argue the contest as simply an evil thing, rather than as a glorious opportunity for come-uppance on the arrogant popular kids (with denouement looking to involve wizened commentary on the sure fall of the arrogant). I believe, though, that Cato spent his last moments sniffling something Peetaish -- that special Miss Katniss was of course the one in the end who was going to prove victorious. I preferred the book where he was kept such an arrogant, powerful brute, Katniss wasn't sure he couldn't even have made his way through all the dogs (which were, by the way, way too inflated in the film -- Conan, let alone Cato, would find himself evenly matched if pit against one). I will cooperate and acknowledge there is a way in which Cato's sniffling seems in character -- or, rather, at least in archetype: he might be Hubris recognizing that Selflessness is what in the end is armor-clad by God. Cato's group did seem as if versions of the fallen out of Paradise Lost or Pilgrim's Progress -- or perhaps better, out of Greek myths -- with each ordained an appropriate fall for claiming glories belonging solely to the gods: Glamored-up becomes hideous; tall-as-a-tree is shot through at the trunk; furious dexterity is humbled by unabashed strength; Hercules-proud and strong, crushed by a pride of much stronger lion-dogs. It's enough there, I think, to make Katniss and Artemis comparisons at all worth our bringing up.