Saturday, May 10, 2014

Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

                                           The 'Fire' Set By This Sequel Is Flaming Hot

                          I remember after I saw the first Hunger Games, the first four words I said after it was over were "Bring on Catching Fire". Well, it was certainly worth the wait because The Hunger Games: Catching Fire not only is a great sequel, but really outdoes the original.

                      The Hunger Games: Catching Fire follows the main character Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) who just won the 74th Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and is forced to go on a Victory Tour and visit all 12 districts. Along the way, a rebellion is slowly rising and eventually, Katniss and Peeta find themselves back in the arena for the 75th Hunger Games, or the 3rd Quarter Quell, which pits them against previous victors.

                      What I Liked About It:
                     First off, I loved how the film is wholeheartedly true to the book. Not only that, but all the actors play the different characters as I imagined them when I was reading the book. Jennifer Lawrence IS Katniss Everdeen and I can't imagine anyone else playing her at this point, just like how Josh Hutcherson is Peeta and Woody Harrelson is Haymitch, and so on and so forth. Some of the new actors do a spectacular job as well. Philip Seymour Hoffman, as always, is brilliant as the rather enigmatic new gamekeeper Plutarch Heavensbee. Sam Claflin and Jena Malone play two of my favorite characters in the book series, Finnick Odair and Johanna Mason, and play them perfectly. Claflin embodies Finnick's cockiness, sarcasm, and his heart of gold very well. Jena Malone stole the show as she portrays Johanna's rather off-putting personality. One of my favorite scenes in the film is her interview with Caesar Flickerman, played by Stanley Tucci, where she curses at the audience.

                    Another thing I really liked was how the visual effects were significantly improved upon and really portray the futuristic world that is captured in the books. Not only that, but I thought director Francis Lawrence was brilliant at directing the film. I did think Gary Ross did a fine job directing the first Hunger Games, don't get me wrong, but my biggest pet peeve with his direction was when he started doing the whole "shaky cam" thing and thankfully, Lawrence didn't use that here. One thing I thought was interesting was how I felt tense during scenes where I felt tense while reading them in the book and my heartstrings tugged in scenes where I had my heartstrings tugged while reading them in the book. Plus, the film even captures the themes from the book, like rebellion and such.

                   What I Didn't Like About It:

                 Overall, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a brilliant adaptation of a spectacular book that also excels as a film in general. It really surpasses the original and even surpassed my expectations. I would highly recommend this whether you are a fan of the books or not. This one will not only satisfy its target audience, but might even bring in a new audience.

Grade: A+