Director: Francis Lawrence
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright
Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Age Rating: 12A/PG-13
Running Time: 146 Minutes
With the UK release of THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINJAY PART 2 just around the corner, I realised that I still needed to catch up on part two and part three of the popular franchise! On a lazy Sunday afternoon, we sat back and appreciated the brilliant second instalment: CATCHING FIRE.
It is one whole year since the events of the first film, and the 75th ‘Hunger Games’ is fast approaching. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her ‘on-screen partner’ Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are on their victory tour of the all of the 12 districts, led by their district’s ambassadors Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and Effie (Elizabeth Banks). As their trip leads to uprisings and rebellions within the districts, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) manipulates the rules of the games to put Katniss and Peeta back into his twisted charade along with several other previous winners of the games. Will the angry and cheated ‘tributes’ kill each other to find freedom once again, or will they rise up to the overpowering Capitol and boycott the games?
Aside from the very decent and exciting plot line above, the sub plot which continues to take its toll on the film’s more romantic viewers, is Katniss’ dilemma of being in love with Gale Hawthorne (below, played by Liam Hemsworth), but gradually falling in love with her partner in the games, Peeta (Hutcherson), who she originally died for in the first film in order to defy the games and keep them both alive.
Much like the first film, the cast’s acting abilities are not once questioned. They are simply a joy to watch, and all help tell the story brilliantly. I was especially glad to see more of Woody Harrelson in this film as I do think he is a great actor and also an integral character within the tale.
The games’ rounds were brilliant and brutal throughout, and once again the squeamishness of this particular viewer was challenged by a particular poison fog scene, once again showing how well THE HUNGER GAMES pushes the 12A boundaries.
The visual effects were good, but I wouldn’t say that I was blown away by them. In fact, I think that the most impressive visual effect used in this film would have to be the use of fire on Katniss’ clothes. This had such an inspiring impact on the viewer, and once again showcased the importance of her character.
The sound and music were decent, but the most memorable moment has to be an old man’s whistle in one of the early scenes. I think you all know what I mean here!
Overall, I loved THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE and I am really just nit-picking here to explain why this film is not receiving a 4.5 ★ or more from me. The development of the story is superb and I find myself getting more and more excited for the conclusion every second the film progresses. J-Law (as she is called by many) is brilliant once again as Katniss and portrays herself as a true role model for the young female viewers that I am sure have been watching these films, and the feature has a stellar supporting cast, including the late Philip Seymour-Hoffman, who has a brilliant part in this chapter’s conclusion.
“Every revolution begins with a spark.”
Recommendation: Well worth a purchase, and with it being on Netflix at the moment (along with MOCKINGJAY: PART 1), you would be silly not to watch it! Blu-Ray is advised.