Okay, time to talk The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, a film I’ve been both excited for and not overly interested in at the same time! Now the first film was decent, wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t amazing either. It did rather well, and after X-Men: First Class it made Jennifer Lawrence come across as not only a bankable star, but an actress who had talent. For all its success the film had its criticisms. some thought the film was too long, others said the violence wasn’t enough, some just called it a Battle Royale rip-off and other fans of the book just slated the film for the changes made to the books. Anyways that was last year, Catching Fire is now. Does this sequel entertain or not? Read on and find out!
The storyline for this film is as follows:
“Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.”
I thought the story in that film was pretty good and had a lot of depth to it. There was a lot more fleshing out of the world that these characters reside in, we saw more of the other districts and see how the events of the last Hunger Games affected everyone. Nothing gets easier and complications begin for not only the main characters but for everyone. There’s a difference in the air and themes of love, sacrifice, revolution and war are explored in a great way. What I really liked was how Katniss’ actions in the last film carried over into this one, where she has become a symbol of hope and the people from the other districts and cause them to slowly revolt which in turn creates problems for President Snow who sees her progress and wants her to be eliminated. Overall the story was just much more involving, dramatic, believable and cohesive than the first film.
When it comes to the cast they’re all very good at bringing life to these characters and their definitely the film’s highlight. Firstly Jennifer Lawrence returns as Katniss Everdeen and Lawrence is just so good as the character now. This time Katniss has to deal with the events of the last film which have taken their toll on her mentally and emotionally and you get to see that through Lawrence’s fabulous acting skills which are easily the highlight of the film. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark is a lot better in this film than before, the material the actor is given makes his character a little more interesting and less of a weakling. Donald Sutherland is once again is wonderful as President Coriolanus Snow, I like how his outward persona is so calm and authoritative, however behind the scenes he is quite sinister and really wants to control everyone with an iron fist. Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne is back and is given more to do which has made his character more likeable and fleshed out, Hemsworth’s moments are more interesting this time around.
Woody Harrelson is totally awesome as Haymitch Abernathy, he was one of my favourite characters in the last film and here he returns with that mixture of seriousness mixed in with dry humour. Elizabeth Banks is still as kooky, high-spirited and fancy as ever as Effie Trinket, she gets a little more screen time and actually feels a lot more developed as we see more sides of her personality. Lenny Kravitz is still as cool as ever as Cinna, the man who stood by Katniss’s side, makes amazing clothing and looks at things from a realistic perspective. Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee is the new dude who overseas the games and is in alliance with President Snow to take out Katniss. He has new tactics and plans that make him a person to look out for and Hoffman as ever is great to watch on-screen. I also liked performances from Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair and Jena Malone as Johanna Mason, and Jeffrey Wright as Beetee Latier is great, he plays this interesting returning winner and I liked his smart and funny personality and it makes a MASSIVE change from the douchebag character he’s playing in Boardwalk Empire. And lastly Stanley Tucci is still amazing as Caesar Flickerman, the charismatic TV presenter that covers all the major happenings related to the Hunger Games.
As for the presentation it is notably better. First and foremost the most immediate difference is the lack of shaky cam in the action scenes. I watched the previous film the night before and the lack of shaky cam was incredibly noticeable and to be honest the film is a hell of a lot better for it. Action in general is just shot and staged a lot better with more convincing GCI too, it was delightful. Just wish there was a bit more violence (I am a junky for violence lol). Also the soundtrack by James Newton Howard is also a lot better too, it had a better emotional connection and better presence and the good themes that were used in the last one have returned too.
In conclusion The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was a lot of fun and a lot better than the previous film. There is a better direction in place than before and the story, characters and action was much deeper, dramatic and better executed than before. Unlike the first film which was just decent for me, I just felt more invested in this one and I really liked it. While it wasn’t by any means one of my favourite films of the year and I had hoped for a bit more action, otherwise this is a film I would recommend highly.
Rating: 7.5/10 (A much better and dramatic sequel)
So what did you think of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire? Did you find it better than the first or did you like the last one better? Whatever your thoughts, drop them below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo! 😀