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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Based off the best-selling series by Suzanne Collins, this 2013 sequel to 2012's Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) have settled into their uneasy lives in District 12 as victors of last years Hunger Games. However, as Katniss spends more time with Gale (Liam Hemsworth), President Snow (Donald Sutherland) feels threatened by her, as the rebellion against Panem have come to see Katniss as a symbol for their revolution. To this end, he announces that for the 75th Hunger Games, the participants are chosen from the pool of existing victors. Katniss and Peeta are once more drawn into these new Hunger Games, managing to find new allies amongst the previous victors and Snow and the forces of the Capital seek to demoralize the people. As the death count rises, something else is afoot, and Katniss may have to fight for her life once again if she expects to live through another game.

First of all, before I begin, I have to say that I am not a Hunger Games fan. I read the first book and did not like it. I saw the first movie and did not like it. So going into this, I wasn't expecting great things. Considering that, however, I have to say that I enjoyed Catching Fire much more than the first movie. Yes it has its flaws, but they aren't as major as the first film. The change in director, from Gary Ross to Francis Lawrence, has greatly improved the quality of the film (Look! No shaky cam! Look! I can actually see some of the deaths!). Jennifer Lawrence (who I swear I will marry one day :P) once again shows off her amazing talent as actress (seriously, watch the scene where the birds are attacking her and the other tributes and see the pain and terror on her face), and of course... shelooksreallygood. Josh Hutcherson is much better used, and I actually found myself liking Peeta much more than before. At the same time, Gale has become an even more useless character who annoys me far too much (I easily support Katniss x Peeta in this series). Plot-wise, I have only one major criticism, and that is, much like its first installment, it has a lack of subtlety. In the first movie, even if you hadn't read the book, there was no point at which I felt that Katniss wasn't going to win, and that's a major problem in a series about a game where teenagers are forced to kill another. In this movie the problem continues. There's no subtlety, no point in this film that I felt the reveal wasn't coming.

The Games is being used as a ruse by the rebellion who are attempting to break Katniss free from the Games so she can act as a symbol for the rebellion against the Capital, and many of the tributes for the 75th Hunger Games are in on the plan.

The movie almost hits you over the head with "HEY! SOMETHING'S GOING ON! HEY! PAY ATTENTION TO THIS!! THIS RIGHT HERE!!" and that's really annoying, especially when I was able to guess the ending. I will compliment all the actors in the film, especially Jennifer Lawrence and Donald Sutherland. While its not great, its certainly a step up from the Hunger Games and almost makes me look forward to seeing Mockingjay (though why its being split into two parts I don't know...) when it comes out.

My Rating: 3.5/5

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