Cary, NC – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a vast improvement over the original film, presenting an even more complex version of the heroine, Katniss, while also building upon the unique world introduced in first movie.
Big Step up From First Film
I must admit, I’m only a mild fan of the original film. I liked the idea behind it more than the execution. I thought the cast was great, particularly Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss.
The world presented to us by original director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) was intriguing and filled with detail, but I kept getting the sense that he was holding back, like he felt he couldn’t go as far as he wanted.
Thankfully, Catching Fire has none of those issues. It’s darker, more rebellious. New director, Francis Lawrence ( I Am Legend) takes over the reins with confidence, using the groundwork that was laid before him with the first film and builds upon it greatly.
Catching Fire takes place almost immediately after the first film, with Katniss and Peeta about to go on a victory tour.
However, fearing a sense of rebellion brewing within the districts because of Katniss and Peeta’s win, President of the Capitol (Donald Sutherland) feels it necessary to be rid of the young victors in a hope to squash the rebellion immediately.
Rebellion Drives Catching Fire
What I really love about Catching Fire is that the film deals specifically with the idea of revolution, and director Lawrence goes out of his way to show that a revolution is deserved.
The President announces that previous winners of The Hunger Games will once again be in the drawing for participation in The Games, along with regular citizens, and this does not make the victors happy.
There is a sense of anger that flows through the entire movie. It may sound intense, and granted it is, but it’s necessary in order to understand just what these characters are going through and how it pays off in spades.
Lawrence And Rest Of Cast Great
One of the best assets the movie has is the great cast.
Every character is cast perfectly. Jennifer Lawrence once again plays Katniss, and despite having a really great role in the first one, she manages to bring even more conflict and vulnerability in Catching Fire. Katniss has really turned into one of the great screen heroines, and I can’t imagine anyone else playing her.
Josh Hutcherson is also good as Peeta. He doesn’t have as meaty a role as Lawrence, but that’s not really his fault.
More impressive is everyone in the supporting cast. Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jenna Malone. Even if those names don’t ring a bell, once you see their faces and the commitment they bring to their characters, you’ll understand just how good a choice they all were.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a rousing follow-up to The Hunger Games, with a more developed world and a genuine sense of danger throughout. It ends on a monster of a cliffhanger, and while sometimes that can feel like a cheat, here it feels more like a promise. Katniss is angry, and I for one can’t wait to see what she does next.
Review by Jordan Hunt for CaryCitizen. Read more Movie Reviews.