Cinema Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

| November 28, 2013 | Comments (1)

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DIR: Francis Lawrence  • WRI: Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt • PRO: Nina Jacobson, Jon Kilik • DOP: Jo Willems • ED: Alan Edward Bell •  DES: Philip Messina •  MUS: James Newton Howard • CAST: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland

The first instalment of The Hunger Games was an entertaining adaptation of the first novel in the series of three. The unique concept of the novel and its futuristic setting was enough to keep the story moving. However, it was the undeniably charismatic charm of its lead Jennifer Lawrence that brought heart to the story. Lawrence (along with her Oscar) and her fellow cast mates return with Catching Fire to see if they can replicate their success, this time with director Francis Lawrence (I am Legend).

Catching Fire is actually an improvement on its predecessor, the story is darker with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) beginning to look outside of her immediate situation to see the harsh reality of the people of Panem’s lives. Rebellion is on the horizon and the bleakness of their world is apparent. While the danger for Katniss and her partner Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) in the first film is confined to the arena where the Hunger Games are conducted, in Catching Fire the danger is omnipresent and cannot be escaped.

We join Katniss and Peeta when they have survived the Hunger Games of the first film and are now being paraded in front of the districts to calm the mounting disquiet of the inhabitants. The creepy President Snow (Donald Sutherland) has plans for their demise and the threat of a real war is increasing. The inevitable love triangle is not as important a storyline as in other teenage blockbusters, with it being almost an inconvenience to the strong female lead of Katniss. In a post-Twilight world it has been a delight for audiences and critics alike to have a female lead like Katniss, whose concerns stretch a lot further than which boy to pick, and she is the polar opposite to the weak Bella Swan.

The only failing with the film is its length, at nearly two and a half hours it does drag in the middle, with the period in the arena the tightest and most exciting. The time in the arena brings home the themes of dystopia and is truly scary at times with all contestants out of their depth and fighting for their lives. Catching Fire is what a blockbuster should be like, and the male heroes of Superman, Batman and countless Marvel films could learn a thing or two from the ever-natural appeal of Lawrence. I, for one, hope Lawrence can keep this success rolling into its final two films.

Ailbhe O’ Reilly

12A  (See IFCO for details)

146  mins

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is released on 22nd November 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire– Official Website

 

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  1. nela says:

    I have watched this film here http://www.bigmoviess.com/watch/play.php?movie=1204975

    If you liked the first ” Hunger Games ” movie , you’re bound to enjoy the second installment , ” Catching Fire . ” Many of the same elements are in place ; Deliberately it plays like a Retread of the first story at first , with our heroes forced to repeat history and play the deadly Hunger Games again by a nervous dictatorship that really does not like the way people in the subjugated Districts are Katniss Everdeen flashing a three – finger salute her and whistling the theme song . Before long Katniss and her fake – but – maybe -not boyfriend Peeta are suiting up for a clever all-stars version of the games ( just like modern – day reality shows always have an all-star season sooner or later , except this also serves the evil government ‘s goal of liquidating Katniss and the rest of the celebrity Games survivors . )
    But Things are different this time , too . Whatever other inspirations the ” Hunger Games ” series draws upon – from ” Survivor , ” to the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie version of ” The Running Man , ” to the Japanese cult classic that author Suzanne Collins claims she never saw , ” Battle Royale ” – at its best it’s a meditation on the way fear and hope can be used by tyrants to subjugate the masses . The mix must be perfect . Too much fear , and the surly populace will rebel , either violently or through work stoppages . ( As the second movie archly notes , the evil and flamboyant ruling class of the futuristic nation of Panem eats a lot , and the people in the Districts are the source of their raw materials . ) Too much hope is the problem the caused by Katniss and Maps their winning Hunger Games in a way that made ​​them look Defiant , inspiring the early stages of a revolution .
    As the nasty old piece of work who runs Panem quickly intervening realizes ( as played with terrific levels of sour venom by a terrifying Donald Sutherland ) , simply killing our heroes would the make martyrs of them , and possibly kick off a full-blown civil war he ‘s trying to avoid . The President and his evil new oily gamesmaster ( Philip Seymour Hoffman , bringing his ” A ” game as always ) have some fascinating conversations about the right way to manipulate Katniss ‘ public image to the government ‘s advantage . We see more of the rich and dissolute Capitol this time , and soon get the idea that it might have been a mistake for the dictators to let their elite citizens identify so strongly with the Hunger Games Victors . Media can Distract the masses , but sometimes it also brings people together .
    The Hunger Games all-star start of similar to what we saw last time , but quickly intervening Become different , until rules are getting rewritten all over the place . The ending can be faulted for telling about some things that should have been shown , but it’s intriguing – and will of course build audience appetites for the last installment in the series , the which will be broken into two films – to wonder what’s happening in the world outside the Hunger Games arena as Things spin madly out of control . There was a cold , brutal logic to the Games as they were portrayed in the first film. As they Unravel , the civilization built upon them will collapse . The Rebellious types might not have thought that all the way through , just as horrid old President Snow did not think far enough ahead when he signed onto the all-star games concept .
    This is not just a philosophy seminar , though . The second movie outdoes its predecessor in almost every way , giving all the returning characters much more to do , Including a surprising amount of character development for the seemingly vapid hostess played by Elizabeth Banks . The action scenes are better choreographed , with none of the dreaded shaky – cam , and there are some spectacular visual effects .
    And Jennifer Lawrence is better than ever as Katniss , a grounded , believable reluctant hero who just wants to survive and protect her family and friends . The second chapter of the ” Hunger Games ” story is about her becoming more than just a survivor . Lawrence helps sell that as a graceful transition process Fraught with terror . She also sells Part Three more effectively than any teaser trailer could , with nothing more than a silent but incredibly powerful change of her facial expression . No one else could do what she does for these movies ; she’s one of the most brilliant casting decisions ever made ​​.

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