I wouldn't exactly call myself a fan of the books, but I did enjoy
Hunger Games, despite it's tweenie appeal. I'm a sucker for these kinds
of things. Maybe it's the Battle Royale and Lord of the Flies fan in
me. I did enjoy the first film. It was a very well done adaptation.
However, having read the entire trilogy, I feared that adapting the
rest of the material would result in something similar to the books:
terrible follow ups. As someone who takes the content of these books
and the things that themes and stories they are trying to tell just a
bit more seriously than the target age group might, I groaned and
moaned throughout the novels, especially the last one. However, the
film has done something I didn't think it could do: not suck.
That's right, the film does not suck. In fact, it's actually quite
good. So good that it out does The Hunger Games in nearly every way,
something that is quite the opposite of the novel. Where the original
film, while good, also came off feeling like it was feeding that
tweenie audience it was aimed at, something about Catching Fire feels
far more serious and far more mature. The film picks up right where we
left off. Katniss and Peeta are on their victory tour, while the rest
of the districts are showing signs of civil unrest due to Katniss
defiance of The Capitol, that oppressive government regime that forces
districts to send their children to die. To send a message to the
districts that the capitol is still evil, they devise a new Hunger
Games, this time forcing past victors back into the arena. Because what
is a Hunger Games film without the Hunger Games.
The first film, at times, felt like it was doing too much to introduce
us into this world. Everything felt like some kind of obvious plot
detail. While I enjoyed the film, I often felt disconnected to it and
the issues it tried to present. There was so much focus on details of
the world and the games, that the presentation of the world seemed to
take a back seat. Lawrence was the major saving grace, though even she
wasn't perfect. All of this has changed. With the games essentially
taking a secondary part in the film, there is a stronger emotional
connection. It helps that all the actors involved are not only a bigger
part of the film but seem to be more comfortable and are much more
convincing in their roles. Where the characters of Effie and Haymitch
and even Gale seemed purpose driven, with little more than a role to
fill, here they feel more fleshed out. They have a greater impact and
there is more of an emotional connection, from Haymitch's clear
frustration between his contempt for the Capitol and his attempts to
keep Katniss and Peeta alive, to Effie's attempt to keep everyone as a
team and sure signs that she is struggling with the facts of Katniss
and Peeta once again thrown into turmoil.
The performances are the primary strength here. They do deliver on the
emotion that is necessary to drive this story and don't feel like they
are catering just to tweens, with the poorly written love triangle of
the novel and the more trivial elements that are apart of the kind of
writing that comes with novels aimed at tweens. Catching Fire feels
like a serious film with a serious story to tell. At it's heart is
Jennifer Lawrence, who seems like a completely different person here.
Since the original film, as an actor, Lawrence has had several
projects and has even won an Oscar. And so, it is no surprise that she
feels like she is at an entirely different level. She seems more
natural as Katniss and her acting is far more convincing. She comes off
as someone who is not only conflicted, but scared. Even so, she remains
strong and determined. Much like the first film, as Katniss, she
proves to be among the best of role models for young folk.
But beyond the performances, everything just feels elevated. The story
has a better focus on the growing revolution that is clearly starting.
The themes are more apparent and focused on. Everything feels less
obvious and more natural. Gone are introductions to this world and it's
elements, replaced by a futuristic vision carried purely by it's story
and characters. Even the games are better, with more exciting action,
better effects, and better character interaction, helped by a cast of
new characters as fellow tributes.
I do seem to be gushing about the film, and it's not one I had expected
to like nearly as much as I did, but I have to admit it: this was a
very pleasant surprise. My fear now is that the next films won't live
up to this sequel. But, I will give them more of the benefit of the
doubt, considering how much this film blew me away as far as surpassing
expectations. As I said in my review for the first film, fans will love
this, and non-fans may also find themselves won over.
DISCLAIMER- IN READING THIS, I AM ASSUMING YOU HAVE SEEN THE FIRST
MOVIE. IF YOU HAVE NOT, BE WARNED - THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!
The second installment in the Hunger Games series, entitled CATCHING
FIRE, is a sensational film. From the chilling first moments to the
unforgettable climax, this film grabs you, hoists you into the arena
with Jennifer Lawrence, and doesn't let you go, even after the film
Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role as Katniss Everdeen, The Girl On
Fire, in the follow-up to the (slightly depressing) first Hunger Games
film. She plays a teenage girl, still shaking from the trauma of the
televised gladiatorial child-killing spree, the annual Hunger Games.
The trauma is real on her face, as is every other emotion through the
Josh Hutcherson returns (much to the teenage girls of America's
delight) as Peeta Mellark, a bread maker, also a Victor from the
previous year. His desperate attempts to calm Katniss, befriend
Katniss, and woo Katniss are as real as they come.
Following them is a line of former victors and supporting actors. Woody
Harrelson as Haymitch, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Stanley Tucci as Cesar
Flickerman, and Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, to name a few, are
And that's not mentioning the film's visuals. From start to finish, the
film is a feast for the eyes and ears, from the sumptuous visuals of
the Capitol to the danger and excitement of the arena.
This film will keep you reeling with suspense, rolling on the floor
from occasional bursts of humor, and cheering with the entire cast of
this, the 75th annual HUNGER GAMES!
This film was excellent and was very close to the book, I recommend
this film to anybody. The effects are amazing and the ending was too.
It makes you want to see the next Movie (mocking jay) right away. Most
adults say that it is suppose To be very gruesome, without seeing the
film, and they are Wrong. It is not gruesome at all, sure there is
blood, if you know what the film is about then you should expect some
blood. The whole cast is amazing, and if there was a different cast,
the Movie wouldn't be close to as good as it is. And the director did
amazing as well. If you haven't seen this film or "hunger games" You