The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Mensworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Donald Sutherland
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the sequel to the first movie and book of the same title by Suzanne Collins. The previous cast returns in this post-apocalyptic world, following the adventures of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence ) as she attempts to return to her former life in District 12.
However Katniss’ actions from the first film, which involved faking a relationship with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), have instigated a revolutionary mindset in the peoples of all of the other districts aggravating the leader of the tyrannical capital, President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Forced back into the Games when Snow declares a Quarter Quell, which will reap tributes from past victors, Katniss and Peeta must now survive an All-Star Hunger Games with revolutionary consequences.
Catching Fire isn’t a bad entry in the series. Sutherland’s performance was superb, and the other actors struggled to match up to his standard. Of course this could just be based on his abundance of acting experience. Lawrence’s performance was believable and decent, but unfortunately, Hutcherson’s performance is on par with being a robot. Scenes such as when Peeta volunteers as tribute for Haymitch play out with minimal emotion.
While the love triangle between characters is an appropriate theme for a romantic film, it does not mesh well with a revolutionary or post apocalyptic themed series. It simply contrasts too much with the story and at worst, it is extremely annoying. Does a dying world and a fascist society really bring to mind a romantic setting? Maybe some swing that way, but these contrasting themes are more distracting than heartwarming.
In this film it is a welcome change of pace to the story to see these aspects downplayed and finally focusing on the growing revolution of the different districts. This reveals more about this very fascinating world and really just how much of a role our lead has in this upcoming series of events. The story undoubtedly will make viewers excited for the next entry but the contrasting and often confusing themes of the first film and book takes too much of a toll on the audience for a full appreciation of the film.
It was pleasing to see certain romantic elements downplayed and more focus on the world’s setting. This is what makes this film superior to its predecessor. Katniss becomes less of a cookie-cutter character, instead becoming much more complex and well-developed, which makes for an engaging film.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has interesting revolutionary themes that make it entertaining and informative, but unfortunately it gets bogged down by a focus on the dueling abdominal muscles of Peeta and Gale, and who Katniss should romantically choose.