The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review

TheHungerGames-Catching-Fire

Katniss returns.

Sequel to the hit 2012 movie, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire continues the epic story of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her resistance against the Capital.  The characters are there, the game is set.  Welcome back to the Hunger Games.

The movie is set one year after the previous one.  Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are the victors of the 74th Hunger Games.  However, due to Katniss’ actions in the previous game, the government is not happy with this at all.  In fact, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is making it his personal agenda to see the death of Katniss.

To stay alive, Katniss and Peeta must appear to be in love before the general public while they’re on their Victory Tour.   It’s a difficult task for Katniss not only because of her complications with Peeta, but also because of her feeling for Gale (Liam Hemsworth).

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The first half of the movie feels awfully similar to the first book.  The introduction, the ceremony process to pick the tributes, and even the the training process right before the game.  Once again, Katniss manages to scare off the officials without some crazy stunt.  Last year the arrow, this year the hanged man.  The only thing that stand out in the first half is the new game rule- now the past winners from each districts have to be chosen by random to star in the 75th Hunger Games!  Yep, it’s like an all-star event or something.  The bad news is that Katniss is the only female winner from her district ever, so there isn’t much choice but to have her participates in the new game.  The situation seems dire, and once again, only one winner can make it out of it.  Katniss and Peeta got lucky last time, but it’s going to be a miracle to make it out of this one alive- Snow makes sure of it.

Despite from the slow start, the movie picks up right away the moment the game starts.  The movie features a cast of brand new characters that doesn’t have enough time to introduce them one by one, so casting becomes an important part.  Among them are the tech savvy Beeetee and Wiress, Johanna (Jena Melone), Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) and his mentor Mags.  Thankfully, all the castings are great, and the characters are quickly memorable without the need of more introductions.

Out of the newcomers, it’s Claflin’s Finnick that stole the spotlight.  He might seem like a narcissist at first who’s a little too sure of himself, but that’s not the case.  The character turns out to be as delicate as Katniss, and who’s also haunted by the past experiences as well.  The character is definitely an interesting one that have viewers invested in right away.

Also, is it just me, or Finnick reminds you of Aquaman?  He has cute wavy blonde hairs, wields a trident and wears the aquatic Hunger Games outfit.  Yep, someone tells Warner Bros. to make an Aquaman movie with this guy already.

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Other than Finnick, Johanna is my favorite newcomer.  I like her speaking up her mind, and doesn’t care what others think of her.  The speech she made during the ceremony is hilarious.  No contestants is happy with having to go back to the game, but no one reacts the way she does.

Also, what not to like about a girl who doesn’t like to wear clothes?

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The film also features Philip Seymour Hoffman as the new game designer Plutarch Heavensbee.  He might not have much role yet, but being the great Seymour Hoffman, I have much hope of him for the future movies.  Welcome aboard!

Jennifer Lawrence, now Oscar Winner, gives a wonderful performance once again.  The actress delivers and allows us to see the dark side of her PTSD from the previous Hunger Games.  We can also see just how despair and dysfunctional Panem can really be through her eyes.  The world sees Katniss as a figure of inspiration, and Lawrence does a wonderful job portraying the confused girl who suddenly became an important public figure.

The other returning casts are wonderful as well.  While both Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz are still great, it’s Elizabeth Bank’s Effie that stands out the most.  The character shows emotion that she doesn’t have before, and it makes her more human than ever other and not a cold Capital believer from the previous movie.

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Also, it’s sad what happened to Kravitz’s character.  I really like him 😦

While the ending is loyal to the book with a cliffhanger, it can be a little too abrupt.  it will a be a lot nicer if the film has one or two additional scenes to smooth things over a bit, and gives the audiences a better satisfaction.  In fact, it would be nice too if we can even get some sort of montage sequences to see how the people are captured, or how district 12 is destroyed.

Overall, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a good movie.  The movie suffers some pacing problems at first, but it picks up quickly once the game started.  The actors are great at performing their roles, and it has us looking forward to the next installment in the franchise.

8.3/10

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