Posted November 18, 2013 by editor in Film Reviews
 
 

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review


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Fans have been eagerly awaiting The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the second instalment in the Hunger Games series, and finally it’s arrived amid a flurry of hype and a whirlwind of star-studded premiers, so the question is: does it live up to the hype? Well…almost.

We catch up with inspirational heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) who is trying to cope with life after her shared victory in the 74th Hunger Games. Embarking on the obligatory Victory Tour, Katniss discovers a quietly-swelling “Mockingjay” rebellion in the grim Districts, with down-trodden District folk finding inspiration and hope in her and Peeta’s  (Josh Hutchinson) shared victory. But her influence on the rebels has not gone unnoticed in The Capitol and the evil President Snow has plans to quash Katniss by announcing the 75th Hunger Games will comprise solely of Tributes who have previously won the games. Barely surviving the last Games, will Katniss escape with her life once again when she’s up against highly-skilled contenders and the wrath of a dictator?

While the final hour and half of this rather long film is electrifying, the first hour feels slow and really just sets up the final half of the film. It also addresses the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale, but Katniss is so much more interesting than this and in a way it feels like killing time until the Hunger Games begin. But once the action gets going the film really comes into its own and it’s fantastic!  The film becomes fast and energetic and another layer is added by the introduction of new characters. The effects are, of course, spectacular and the stark contrast between the Districts and the Capitol are strikingly highlighted. The colour of The Capitol is welcome  after the grim greys of the Districts and the costume design is, once again, outstanding (think Lady Gaga circa 2030).

The acting is great and each of the all-star cast (Woody Allen, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci) play their part to perfection. But there can be no doubt that this is Jennifer Lawrence’s film, which is as it should be for the leading actor. Already established as a great actress thanks to her Oscar win, Lawrence brings Everdeen to life and brings to the screen a believable, realistic and inspirational female heroine, something that Hollywood Blockbusters have been sorely lacking in. It’s great to see a healthy female role-model who has more to her character than which handsome boy she should end up with.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire delivers on nearly all of its promises. Yes, it’s a little overlong, but the last half is so exhilarating the audience is likely to forget the slightly plodding introduction. There’s romance, politics, fashion and action, not to mention sadistic teenagers, and while this instalment  moves the overall story arc along,  it stands as quality story independently too. As the second part of a series, this film should leave the audience “hungry” (sorry) for the next instalment and personally, this reviewer can’t wait, so mission accomplished!

4 Stars

 

 

 

Lindsay Emerson

 

 


editor