Is ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Good? [REVIEW]
We first met Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in 2012 when she volunteered as a tribute in place of her sister for a battle royale type competition between the 12 districts of Panem.
She returns to the screen in the sequel 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire'. The capitol is celebrating the 75th year of the Hunger Games and they have a surprise in store for Katniss. Once again I read the book prior to the movie so I may have a slightly different take on the movie as opposed to someone who has not read the book.
How It Looked
First off, in the first movie there was the shaky camera which I think actually took away from the movie despite its attempt to add a movement element to the film. Luckily it was not so this time, probably due in large part to the new director Francis Lawrence.
If you watched the first movie you may notice what looks like similar if not even the same shots of the capitol. Both movies (like the books) follow roughly the same plot.
It is interesting to note though that the capitol seems reminiscent of ancient Rome.
It would have been nice to see more of the other 11 districts rather than just the stage she presented on. In this way I think the film could have added more depth.
I also found myself thinking that the capitol's enforcers were akin to the stormtroopers of Star Wars.
If you read the books there are no surprises. If you watched the first movie, the layout is very similar. In both the book and the second movie, the plot lines are extremely similar. The love triangle was barely touched upon, more or less a slight nod to acknowledge its existence. There were some parts that I had to force myself to unclench my hands because I was drawn into the plight of the main characters.
Coming from the background of the book, I still think that Woody Harrelson was not a good fit for Haymitch. He is a great actor and does well on the part.
It was definitely a surprise seeing him cast as Haymitch last year and it still just doesn't feel right despite his strong performance.
In the first movie Elizabeth Banks plays Effie Trinket as a largely annoying event coordinator for district 12. However, she definitely shines in 'Catching Fire' and adds more depth to her character. I found myself surprised by this as Effie was always the annoying plot device that prodded the story along.
I do have to say though that Jennifer Lawrence, who is now an Oscar winner, did an amazing job portraying Katniss Everdeen. She captured no only the sheer willpower that resides within Katniss, but also was able to show of the depth of turmoil within her character. Josh Hutcherson's parts (much like the first movie) were largely played out earlier in the movie mainly due to his character's oratory skill and extremely weak fighting skills. He was easily able to embody the quick wit and charm that was needed of his character.
Sam Claflin did a wonderful job as Finnick Odair as well as Jena Malone portaying Johanna Mason. who I love from some of her previous movies including "Sucker Punch". However, both Finnick and Johanna were supposed to have been sexual totems to the world and exuded sexuality. I did not see this side of their characters despite a scene with implied nudity that came off more as comical than suggestive.
Despite the strong feeling that this was a remake of the first movie due to huge similarities in plot and layout it added a nice depth and continuation to the story. I found myself having to unclench my hands many times within the movie because I was being drawn into the plight of the characters. The action sequences did not have a shaky camera which I found very annoying in the first film and you can tell that Jennifer Lawrence has practiced extensively with the bow due to her comfort and second nature in the way she handles it. After all, how annoying is it that a character is supposed to have intimate knowledge of a weapon or item and they seem almost uncomfortable with it. I found the movie extremely enjoyable and think that if you did not read the books, you would still find it just as enjoyable.