THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Review; "Powerful And Emotionally Charged"

It's been out for a couple of weeks now, but if you're still on the fence about checking out Francis Lawrence's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire before The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is release in a few days, then hit the jump to read my verdict of the adaptation of Suzanne Collins' novel.

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By Josh Wilding - 12/9/2013

I was lucky enough to go into The Hunger Games with no real expectations, something which was arguably helped by the fact that I'd never read the Suzanne Collins penned novel it was based on. That movie turned out to be really good, and 18 or so months later and the sequel is already here, and I still haven't read the books. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a 5* movie right up until the point Katniss Everdeen and the rest of the tributes enter the arena. Why? Well, that unfortunately puts us squarely in the realm of generic action blockbuster territory, while a rushed and slightly muddled ending doesn't help matters either.

The character driven parts of the movie are ultimately far more interesting than the attempts to differentiate this games from the last, with the addition of poison gas, tidal waves and, er, monkeys). The thought-provoking themes and parallels to issues in our own world are dealt with expertly by new director Francis Lawrence, and he also handles the admittedly still very good action sequences much better than The Hunger Games (a movie which relied far too much on the 'ol shaky cam). The jungle-like setting is also an interesting one, while the budget increase is put to good use thanks to some superb special effects and costume designs. Catching Fire is a damn good looking movie.

Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen) is superb in the sequel, and she brings the character to life marvellously on the big screen for a second time. It's really no wonder that she's an Oscar winner. Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark) is also great, while Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket), Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman) and Woody Harrelson (Haymitch Abernathy) all deliver the quality performances you might expect, offering a new spin of their familiar characters. Donald Sutherland is terrifying as the thoroughly evil President Snow and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch Heavensbee), Jeffrey Wright (Beetee) and Sam Claflin (Finnick) are the biggest new casting additions, with the latter in particular proving to be very impressive. Unfortunately, Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne) once again doesn't get an awful lot to do.

Despite featuring some powerful and emotionally charged moments, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire loses momentum near the end for the same reasons that the first movie did. Too many hard to distinguish tributes and an ending which feels far too rushed in order to set up the next instalment stop the movie from being the best blockbuster of 2013. Ultimately however, it's still extremely good, and is at its best when it keeps the focus on both the politics and horrific living conditions of Panem. If nothing else though, it's equally as entertaining as the first movie, and as a result is well worth checking out!









THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE begins as 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.


STARRING:

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark
Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne
Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy
Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket
Lenny Kravitz as Cinna
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee
Jeffrey Wright as Beetee
Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman
Donald Sutherland as President Snow
Toby Jones as Claudius Templesmith
Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair

RELEASE DATE: November 22nd, 2013.
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35 Comments
IM53 - 12/9/2013, 11:21 AM
Haven't gone yet busy schedule. Hobbit up next than Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle. Catching Fire is the best book though for me. I read them
QuestiontheAnswer - 12/9/2013, 11:26 AM
I like the books better than the movies and I hated the books.
Mysterion - 12/9/2013, 11:32 AM
Going in to see this movie with zero expectations helped me too…also seeing it for free was an added bonus. The movie was actually pretty good, thought the first one sucked but this one was a definite upgrade.
RorMachine - 12/9/2013, 11:32 AM
I loved it. Only part I had issue with was the end, but ..that's the end of the book so what could they do really.
knocturnalzen10 - 12/9/2013, 11:36 AM
excellent movie IMO well done an probably will be the future the rich an the poor smh
charlie2094 - 12/9/2013, 11:40 AM
Nice review, pretty much how I felt. I absolutely loved the film, was surprised how much I liked it...I think the ending was fine, but I've read the books so I expected it. Kind of liked how the end was quite short tbh, just a sudden reveal instead of being too drawn out and losing momentum. Honestly think it's like a perfect sequel, everything good in the first was better, anything not so good was improved etc

Honestly didn't enjoy the third book that much, so am worried about that being stretched over two...hoping they make quite a few changes, or improvements
IM53 - 12/9/2013, 11:41 AM
Fin nick is my fav charecter from da books.
tvor03 - 12/9/2013, 11:42 AM
saw it this past weekend and greatly enjoyed it.
ALmight - 12/9/2013, 11:46 AM
Rental... maybe.
amxt - 12/9/2013, 11:51 AM
It was ok but the pacing was sometimes not very good. Too little happening over long periods of time followed by too much happening over very short periods of time.
jlabatman - 12/9/2013, 11:53 AM
Liked the first one better!
SuperAwesomeBadassness - 12/9/2013, 11:57 AM
I'd see the movie just to see Thad (no homo)
MsSlothPhoenix - 12/9/2013, 12:06 PM
I liked it a lot! It was better than the first and closer to the book. Francis Lawrence did a great job and all the actors gave awesome performances! I don't know why the third book gets so much hate, I actually found it very good, just a little bit boring at some parts. It will look better in the movies because they will probably add more action scenes in Capitol while Katniss is in 13 doing nothing.
SuperCat - 12/9/2013, 12:07 PM
Whoa, that good? Wasn't that impressed with the first one. May have to check this out.
MsSlothPhoenix - 12/9/2013, 12:07 PM
And about the ending, I found it even more frustrating and rushed in the books so trust me they did the best they could!
cipher - 12/9/2013, 12:10 PM
Well, personally.. it's not my kinda movie, but I'll probably end up gettin' dragged to see it sooner or later, anyway.
cipher - 12/9/2013, 12:11 PM
Totally not whipped, by the way. She's not the boss of me.
MsSlothPhoenix - 12/9/2013, 12:14 PM
@beto I agree. They wouldn't split it in two movies just for us to see Katniss in a hospital bed. They will have to add more scenes about the war while Katniss isn't present, maybe some scenes with Snow like the ones in Cathing Fire, the victors getting tortured ... I'm sure it will look better than the book!
cipher - 12/9/2013, 12:15 PM
batz- Hahahahaha, we're slaves.
CaptainMexico - 12/9/2013, 12:31 PM
I got dragged to this movie by my girlfriend, and as I anticipated, it sucked a little more than the first one because it was just a little longer. How could anyone like the way this movie was done? The people from the capital look like retarded clowns who for some reason got tickets to a perpetual experimental fashion show. Everything about this movie sucks, starting with the character's names. Katniss Everdeen, Plutarch Heavensbee? "let's give this movie, with a way to serious overall tone, goofy ass Harry Potter esque names." Also, why is Lenny Kravitz in this movie? Are they targeting the sexually frustrated middle age female crowd for the 2 minutes he's in the movie, with his fruity blue mascara?
CaptainMexico - 12/9/2013, 1:35 PM
The Story? You mean the idea that's been regurgitated time and time again? Running man did more in one movie than Hunger Games will do in three. I don't even have to bring up Battle Royal. There's more story in an episode of Guts or Most Extreme Elimination Challenge.

The action? Poorly choreographed considering these tributes are supposed to be legendary combatants, and they all get merked right away anyway, save a few, who you still don't know or care about by the time they get iced. Show me an 18A hunger games with some Raid Redemption choreography, and maybe some actors other than Thad from Blue Mountain State to pose an actual threat instead of being just arrow fodder for our crappy heroine Katniss, the crybaby saviour of a nation full of wussies who let a crew of 8 or so stormtrooper rip offs pull some Sheriff of Nottingham crap in town. This movie SUCKED! So will the next one.
G - 12/9/2013, 1:55 PM
Movie was WAY overrated. I liked the first one. This one, however, the story didn't advance at all. I just felt like it moved slow, and there was no forward movement in the story. Jennifer Lawrence still going back and forth between those 2 guys, no movement there at all. The "new games" started, but nothing happened by the end of the movie. The movie just kind of "stopped" in the middle of the games. I understand that this is the "middle" of a 3-part series, but I didn't feel any major cliffhanger when it ended. The whole thing was 2-1/2 hours, and could have been told in 1 hour.
RichardBoldly - 12/9/2013, 2:08 PM
Tainted87 - 12/9/2013, 2:20 PM
Like what Ror said, it's how it is in the book.
I've taken to comparing them to Star Wars since I finished reading the trilogy a year ago.

Hunger Games has the job of establishing the setting, the characters, and setting up the heroes of a future rebellion.

Catching Fire enters the forsaken territory of being squeezed and endlessly manipulated not only by the corrupt governing authority, but by those the heroes thought they could trust. They rebel, suffer, and are split apart by the end, with the future looking grim on the horizon.

Mockingjay dives headfirst into desperation as the traumatized survivors declare war on Panem, face sacrifices, and lose sight of their goals over the course of the dimming conflicts.
JoMadrox - 12/9/2013, 2:22 PM
Everyone speaks of Battle Royale but I specifically remember Mojo basically doing the same with the X-Men in an episode of TAS back in the 90s.
pointman - 12/9/2013, 2:27 PM
You will probably never catch me watching a hunger games movie or twilight, but I will say this. The costumes in this movie look better than singers xmen.
staypuffed - 12/9/2013, 3:20 PM
Of course when I post a review BEFORE the film even opens, it gets barely any traction, and then this guy posts one WEEKS after it's released, it gets plenty of attention.
staypuffed - 12/9/2013, 3:20 PM
logic ?
JorL5150 - 12/9/2013, 3:59 PM
trudys taint is on fire.
from that tranny trucker trudy got drilled by on I-71.
eleven59 - 12/9/2013, 6:02 PM
"The Gusto Games: Catching Gonorrhea"- Yoss

CATCHING FIRE: "Powerful And Emotionally Charged"

yep sounds like an STD to me... no thanks!

patriautism - 12/10/2013, 12:25 AM
@CaptainMexico Did tyou even watch the movie? First thing the only similarity to HG and Battle royale is the government rounding kids up to kill each other in an arena. UNLIKE Battle Royale that is not ALL that it is about. Another thing, you said everyone dies in this right away , you do realize that there are SIX survivors of the games in this movie right?
MightyZeus - 12/10/2013, 2:19 AM
Great review. Not going to see this in theatres but i'll watch it on blu ray. My girlfriend reads the books. She prefers the books over the first Hunger Games film but maybe she'll enjoy Catching Fire.
MsSlothPhoenix - 12/10/2013, 3:11 AM
EdgyOutsider - 12/10/2013, 8:24 AM
The Hunger Games as a movie was, meh. As an adaptation, no. In both cases, it lacked emotional depth and actors with any sort of chemistry to prove that these characters do or don't get along. Also, the tone was completely off and The Hunger Games part sucked because of the shaky cam and again, no emotional depth. Also, character development SUCKED. Catching Fire, got rid of ALL of these problems. It perfected the book and was a major upgrade from the first movie as the book was better than it's predecessor. Catching Fire was clearly at it's best when it was focusing on characters but, even The Hunger Games part of Catching Fire was great and added some real tension while the first, did not.

Perfect 5/5 star film for me.
GURILLAPUD - 12/10/2013, 2:27 PM
I was hoping this one would be better than the last movie, since this is the best book out of the trilogy. But as for the trilogy as a whole was horrible.

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