Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review

Last year, I was one of the many who enjoyed the first Hunger Games movie. As a fan of the book I accepted it had some shortcomings, however I gladly accepted them merely relieved that we didn't end up with another Twilight, or Alex Rider. With the sequel, I was cautious as I found the second book much harder to read and with a new director on board there was a lot of room for error. Thankfully, not only is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire better than the first movie, but it is also one of my favourite movies of the year so far.

Catching Fire picks up directly where the last film left us. Katniss and Peeta are now huge celebrities who have been forced into the public eye where they must live out there loveless relationship for the cameras. Meanwhile, President Snow is hot on their case after their actions in the finale of the first movie have sparked rebellions in the districts threatening the rule of the Capitol.
The great thing is - while I'm not fully decided - this may have been my favourite part of the movie. The first Hunger Games book had a lot of dark satire in it that was unfortunately lost in the translation to the big screen. This left some of the non-arena scenes feeling a little drab. In the sequel however, the scenes building up to the pair's entrance into the arena are some of the strongest parts of the movie. The satire of this dystopian future is delivered with much more impact, with some great character and world development. The film does a great job in making you as passionate as the suffering people of the districts in wanting to see the downfall of the Capitol, and I personally had strong sympathy for these characters - most of which don't even have names - throughout the movie.

However, that's not to take away from the arena scenes, which are also much better than those in the original. In Catching Fire, we are treated to a whole new arena which has a jungle theme, and a whole new cast of fellow contestants. In the first movie the only contestant we had a chance to feel attached to was Rue, however almost all of the contestants in the 75th Hunger Games are brilliant, each with a distinct personality of their own. Of course it may have helped that the age ranges were much more diverse this time round, with the contestants of this year's games being reaped from previous winners. This allowed us to see a whole new view of the games, which I really enjoyed. Plus, it was great to see some truly evolving characters in this movie. The characters of Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, Effie, and Gale really have changed and it was very interesting to see the ways how.

Of course, the outstanding cast is what made this so compelling. Jennifer Lawrence was outstanding as always, with Josh Hutcherson also putting in a good performance. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone were also stand-outs in a cast where everyone was great.


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