The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Review

November 24, 2013 8:46 am

hunger-games-catching-fireThis week sees the second instalment of the Hunger Games trilogy reach our screens in suitably magnificent style. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, Catching Fire begins with the aftermath of Peeta and Katniss’s victory in the 74th Hunger Games with the dawning realisation that the manner of their win has had significant repercussions in the districts.

Before seeing the first Hunger Games movie, I was more than a little sceptical. Suzanne Collins’s trilogy, whilst being far from the worst series I’ve read, was underwhelming. Yet the acting in both The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, bar a couple of cliché moments, is phenomenal. Catching Fire is raw with emotion, and the struggle between doing what is right and trying to protect the people you love, particularly embodied by Katniss, is fascinating to see.

hunger games catching fireThe singular weakness in this film is the way it begins. We are literally dumped straight into the victory tour and Katniss’s relationship issues (can she not make her mind up? Seriously?) without so much as a nod to previous events. The effect is rather unusual and it took me a while to get fully absorbed into the film, but when I did the two and a half hours flew by, so much so that I would never have guessed that I’d be leaving a 7.30 showing at 10.30.

Donald Sutherland as President Snow is also very chilling. Having been used to seeing him as Mr Bennett in the Pride and Prejudice film, to see him as such a ruthless character is very intriguing. He is conniving and convincing even when at his most vulnerable; the atmosphere he gives is excellent. Casting Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch was also fantastic, and his portrayal of the character was so convincing that I almost forget his crucial role from the book.

the_hunger_gamesThen, once we’re into the Games, we’re back again into the hellish situation that is at once familiar and unfamiliar and we’re right with Katniss and Peeta to the end. The clock face structure was well executed and the characters’ reactions to the various perils were utterly realistic, even if the actors themselves were probably sick of having to groan and grunt with every take!

Put simply, Catching Fire is a fantastic film, and I’m by no means an obsessive fan of the trilogy. Aside from a few overly cheesy moments between Katniss and Gale or Katniss and Peeta, Catching Fire has you sucked into the terror of this post-apocalyptic world – so much so that the ending is heart breaking when we immediately want to see more.

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