Friday, 14 February 2014

''The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'' (2013 movie)- Review

Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Released: 2013
Country: United States

Genres: Adventure, Action, Thriller

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Lynn Cohen

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Often, film adaptations don't have the charm of the original book. Film adaptations often leave out many elements from the book, elements that were quite essential for the development of the storyline and the characters. ''The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'' is not that kind of adaptation at all; not only is it as beautiful and deep as the original book, but it is  also a better, much better film than the predecessor, ''The Hunger Games''.  A word to sum it up: EXCELLENT film!

I first saw Jennifer Lawrence in the predecessor, ''The Hunger Games''. I had really liked the film, and the thing that perhaps remained most memorable to me was Lawrence's performance. She is such an extraordinarily talented actress, one of the most talented actresses today. In ''The Hunger Games'', Lawrence's performance in several scenes, for example, in Rue's death scene, was so extremely memorable, and in ''Catching Fire'', Lawrence perhaps delivers an even better performance. Her performance is one of the things that makes this an excellent film, that makes this such an emotional, intense film.

Katniss Everdeen has returned to District 12 after the 74th Hunger Games. She and Peeta now live in the Victor's Village. Katniss still has nightmares about those dreadful days of the Hunger Games.

One day, Katniss has an unexpected guest in her house: President Snow. Snow tells her that many people from the different districts thought that her poison-berry act was a sign of defiance against the Capitol, and there is a possibility of an uprising against the unjust Capitol. Snow tells Katniss that it is only she who can now prevent a possible uprising: she has to convince the people of the districts that she is madly in love with Peeta, and for this reason, she did that poisoned berry act in the last Hunger Games. And if Katniss doesn't convince the people, her family members would be harmed.

The victors of the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta, are on a tour in the 12 districts. Though they try their best to convince the people that they are madly in love, it's not convincing enough, and many people start preparing for an uprising, and look up to Katniss as a leader of their uprisings.

President Snow thinks that something needs to be done about this, and with this purpose, he makes a new rule for the 75th Hunger Games: the tributes will be chosen from the existing pool of victors from the districts, that is... Katniss and Peeta have to go back to the arena for the 75th Hunger Games...

This film astounded me! It was really so very good, so well-made, well-acted, well-written; it was even much better than it's excellent predecessor. This sequel touches a vast variety of things, like more emotions of the characters, and the injustice of the Capitol towards the districts and the hatred of the people towards the Capitol are well-portrayed.

Very few scenes had taken place in District 12 in the first film. In ''Catching Fire'', half of the story takes place in the District 12. The bleakness of the District is really well-portrayed. 

All of the actors, be it in a major or a supporting role, give excellent performances. Jennifer Lawrence remains the most memorable, and her performance in many of the scenes, like her speech remembering Rue in District 11, really makes the audience emotional. The way in which she became emotional after seeing Rue's photo in District 11. Her scenes with Peeta, Gale, Prim, and Haymitch. Her performance remains really unforgettable.

Josh Hutcherson is excellent in his role as Peeta as well. Like many of the other characters present in the predecessor, his character  also gets more emphasis in this film. Liam Hemsworth is present as Katniss's friend, Gale, in the scenes set in the District 12. 

Others who remain memorable are Woody Harleson as Haymitch, Elizabeth Banks as Effie, Sam Claflin as Finnick, Jena Malone as Johanna, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, and Donald Sutherland as President Snow. Finnick is an important supporting character and Katniss and Peeta's major ally in the arena, and Claflin is excellent in this role. Jena Malone, as Johanna, is fascinating (her outburst, during her interview with Caeser Flickerman, was amazing!).

 Elizabeth Banks's character, Effie, which remained a little irritating character in the first film, is so sympathetically portrayed in this film! She really gets sad when Katniss and Peeta are selected as the tributes; because she had started to love them. I really liked her ''We are a team'' parts. (She says that Katniss has a golden mockingjay pin as her token, she {Effie} has her golden hair, and Haymitch and Peeta also need something golden because they four are a team.) Was this part in the book? I can't recall, but I don't think so. Effie thus remains one of the most memorable characters in this film.

One of my most favorite scenes from the book was the 12 tributes holding hands. In the film, this film is powerfully portrayed as well. The scenes set in the District 12 are bleak, while those set in the arena are dark, and filled with revelations and dangers.

Overall, ''The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'' remains a memorable film, an extremely excellently-directed and acted film, and one of the few films that are not only as deep as the original book, but also better than it's predecessor. 

4.5 out of 5

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