I’m happy to say that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is pretty darn good. It tops the first film in every category, most notably… there’s no shaky cam!
What’s shaky cam? Think back to the first film and all of the action sequences. When I was sitting in the audience, I couldn’t tell one thing that was happening during any of those sequences. It was beyond frustrating and I haven’t bothered watching it a second time because of that.
What a difference Director Francis Lawrence has made in this top notch sequel.
At the beginning of the story, the 74th Hunger Games has ended and Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are now home but not for long because they are forced to go on a victory tour to all of the other districts. Along the way though, things start to get out of hand with the prisoners. Uh, I mean residents of the districts. President Snow wants none of this and comes up with The Quarter Quell.
The Quarter Quell happens once every twenty-five years and the goal is to get rid of all of the previous Hunger Game winners… especially ones who are causing trouble for Mr. President.
Katniss, Peeta and a handful of new participants are thrown into battle that as you already know, only one person can win.
Catching Fire is best when it’s focusing on all of the fantastic actors working on the film. Besides Lawrence and Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Liam Hemsworth and Stanley Tucci all return and they are better than ever. Their roles fit more comfortably now and it’s so fun to watch them interact with each other. Banks by the way, has one of the most touching scenes in the whole film.
Added to the mix are Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch Heavensbee, the new games maker) and Jeffrey Wright (Beetee), Sam Claflin (Finnick) and Jenna Malone (Johanna) as the past winners. Malone, in particular, knocks her role out of the park and has one of the best character introductions in a film this year.
Having not read the books, I was afraid that, like most sequels, this would just be the first film but set in a different location and with higher circumstances. That’s not the case. Yeah, it’s the Hunger Games but now, with a twist (one I didn’t see coming).
The film is a true ensemble effort and perfectly sets up the next two films which now, I can’t wait to see.