Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Katniss is still kicking butt. It’s really rare to find a female character as complex, tough, caring, and skilled as Katniss is. I like that she is what many stories have been lacking for females in a long time. She isn’t weak, but she also doesn’t have to be all masculine to come across as someone who scares who quite a bit with her ability to kill. You can be feminine and still intimidating! I think what makes Katniss even more appealing as a character is that a female author was able to write her. I hate to say it but many female authors have had trouble breaking the gender barrier to get this many men and women on board for a lead a female character. End rant. Anyways, there definitely is a different vibe about Catching Fire than the first movie, The Hunger Games. With this one the filming is a lot cleaner and smoother, but I kept asking myself the whole time if this had detracted from the emotional impact as well?

Summary:  Since winning The Hunger Games the previous year, Katniss and Peeta have brought themselves under the eye of the Capitol. Before the 75th Hunger Games they must travel to each district to make a speech as victors of the last game. President Snow also wants Katniss to put the spark out of a rebellion that he believes is brewing because of her victory in the last games. When travelling though she unable to wind down the rebellion, and seems to only give it more fuel. This upsets President Snow, so for the 75th Hunger Games he has the chance to throw in a twist since it will be The Quarter Quell, which means that every 25 years something can be enacted in the games that isn’t apart of the usual ones. To simmer down the rebellion President Snow will bring about a twist that uproots Peeta and Katniss’ lives.

Acting: Jennifer Lawerence is the lead as Katniss, and she proves that so far any role she can work so far. Plus, she never has to over emphasis certain qualities about a character, whoever she plays it seems the personality just comes more naturally to her. Whether it’s a sort of odd and in your face character, or a more subdued and nurturing one. I think she proves you an escape being typecast if you really have the skill. Josh Hutcherson is Peeta, and I think he has come a long way even from the first movie. He did great in the first one, but with this second movie you can definitely tell he has brought more of a maturity to the role. Liam Hemsworth gets a little more face time as Gale, and I have to say it makes me ready to see more of his acting in the next movie. Woody Harrelson brings just the same amount of humor and complexity to Haymitch, and I felt Elizabeth Banks has perfected her personality for Effie a bit more as well. I could continue on with the cast, but to give one more notice it would have to be Donald Sutherland I loved the new contrast they threw in with his granddaughter being present in the movie as he plots her role model’s demise. Also, almost forgot by the new addition is Philip Seymour Hoffman, and all I can say there is that he can never really be the good guy! So I look forward to that.

Filming: Many people will be glad to know that the shakiness is gone. They’ve hitched all the cameras to machines so none are hand held. The shakiness actually never bothered me, but either way it doesn’t hurt that it’s gone. Francis Lawerence though has directed other movies like Water For Elephants and I Am Legend, the guy has a brilliant eye for color. There was something about this movie that was vividly more welcoming. It was bright despite this very dark nature happening. Plus, while the special effects were good in the last one, they definitely cleaned up around the edges in this one.

Plot: There is a lot that has to be presented in a movie, and by the end of it you feel like you’ve consumed a buffet. Lawerence really introduces each new character very well though. He advances this story appropriately so it doesn’t feel like we just met a ton of different people with new parts and personality to put in a movie. Also, it’s normal that usually the second movie peaks the popularity of a series. So it will be interesting to see how the final two movies build on this one. You have a lot of connecting points to make in this movie from the first to last one, and it’s done well and just as entertaining despite the tons of dialogue to fill it in.

There were a lot of emotional moments in this movie, but maybe it was just because of the more raw vibe in the first movie that I felt more of an emotional impact hit me from it. I love the story of Catching Fire better though. I feel that Lawerence did present the story in a more cleaner and crisp way that is appealing to the general audience though. You have more vibrant color, no shaking, and your same characters developed just as well.

Rating 8 of 10.

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