Friday, March 14, 2014

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Director: Francis Lawrence

Synopsis: Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark won the 74th Hunger Games and have now become targets of the Capitol. This is because of their rebellion in the games and during their stay in the Victor’s Village. President Snow came to visit Katniss and express his concern for the symbol that she represents, defiance of the Capitol. He tells her to act like she loves the Capitol and Peeta or else her district is in danger of being extinct. She did not obey his request and as a consequence for the next year’s games, the quarter quell, only previous victors are entered. Haymitch, their mentor, tells them their best chance of winning the games is by making alliances. Katniss chooses Finnick and Megs to ally with in hopes of keeping Peeta alive.

Reviewer’s Rating: 4/5 Reels


The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a sequel to the previous film, The Hunger Games. The movies were connected well; in the beginning we are reminded that Katniss is suffering from some post traumatic experience when she hallucinates trying to kill a turkey as well as the relationship she left behind.

The actors did a great job capturing the emotions and characters seen in the books. Katniss is a strong, independent woman whose aim it to do what is right. She does not make friends easily and takes it upon herself to care for her family and for her community in the best way that she can. Peeta is a kind, charismatic and sincere man who genuinely loves Katniss and does all that he can to save Katniss’ life.

C plus ratings may be the result of the predicable actions of the characters. Because the characters play their roles well, it is obvious to think about how they would react to future actions and thus takes out a degree of suspense, thrill and mystery. It may have reached this rating as well because without reading the books prior to seeing the film it may be difficult to follow.

Though the actions of the characters may have been predicable, the situations they were forced into were not. The director did a phenomenal job capturing the essence of the text and transforming it into a visual experience. The arena of the games showed great skill in the special effects department. It was the poisonous and boil causing gas, terrifying murderous monkeys, screaming jabberjays and the spinning cornucopia that lead the audience into a thrilling and nail biting experience.

There was one point within the film where Katniss was about to kill her ally Finnick and did not when he reminded her who the real enemy was. There were other moments in the film as well when there was reference to a greater plan than just winning the hunger games, showing a complex plot. The audience is given just as much information as Katniss does and is trying to figure out what is happening along with her.

The plot twist at the end was shocking as it gave hope of a better life for not only Katniss and Gale but also for all twelve districts. Plutarch, the Head Gamer, designed the games to save Katniss from the very thing that President Snow was afraid of.  As pointed out in the skills display time before the games started, one character expressed that there is always a flaw in the system and Katniss took advantage of those flaws the moment she identified them. In an effort to shove it to the Capitol Katniss acted on the originally intended lightning to kill her enemies to shoot a wire wrapped arrow into the sky and damage the arena. The last scene shows the wonderfully developed characters and plot. Haymitch explains to Katniss that she could not have known the plan that him and Plutarch cooked up because President Snow would have caught on and stopped it.

Overall the film was a thrilling experience that captivates its audience with its plot line, well developed characters and special effects. The camera tended to follow Katniss and her actions in an effort to help the audience understand her and take in the experience with her. Though its specific audience may be pre-teen to young adult, most audiences and most ages would absolutely enjoy it if they enjoy a movie that they can be emotionally and mentally engaged with and incorporates a minor romance.

By: Bella Publico

{ 1 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Awesome review Bella! I enjoyed Catching Fire so much more than its predecessor The Hunger Games for multiple reasons, including better character development and the "bigger picture" plot complexities you alluded to (and they seemed to have ditched most of the shaky handheld feeling of the first movie which was kinda nauseating...). I appreciate the point you made about the audience discovering the plot along with Katniss. It makes the transition from the first-person POV in the book a lot smoother to screen.

    I think the predictability of the characters' actions add to, rather than detract from, the storyline, mainly because the characters are relatively stable while their environment is not. It made Plutarch's role in the film that much more striking, and creates a lot of pathos for Katniss and Peeta and Finnick (among others). Character predictability is the only thing that could have made the intense ending of the movie work ("Ohhhh crap, you awoke the Mockingjay..."). By the first credits title, I was almost out of my mind with anticipation. I've already promised my $15 to the midnight premiere of the next film.


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