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Dec 15, 2013

Film Review: THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE (2013): A Solid Follow-up

Jennifer Lawrence The Hunger Games Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) Film Review, a movie directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Jennifer Lawrence, Willow Shields, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Lynn Cohen, Jeffrey Wright, Maria Howell, Jena Malone, Sam Claflin, Elizabeth BanksWoody HarrelsonPhilip Seymour HoffmanTony ShalhoubAmanda PlummerStanley TucciWillow ShieldsDonald SutherlandToby Jones, James Logan, Ivette Li-Sanchez, Justin Hix, Megan Hayes, Bobby Jordan, John Casino, Elena Sanchez, Daniel Bernhardt, Marian Greene, Jackson Spidel, Tiffany Waxler, and Lenny Kravitz..

In the second installment in The Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire, Francis Lawrence, Nina Jacobson (producer), Jon Kilik (producer), Simon Beaufoy (screenwriter), and Michael Arndt (screenwriter) were able to capture every part of the book in this action-packed, heartfelt, and heart breaking film.

In the first installment of this series, The Hunger Games, the movie fell short in many areas including Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of Katniss Everdeen, the odd pacing of the movie, and Francis Lawrence chose to portray the Gamemakers’ role in the movie. However, in this film, all seemed to be redeemed.

With the choices of what to keep and what to omit in the movie from the book, Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt made the right decision is sticking as close to the book as possible. The dialogue seemed genuine to every character and to the book as well. Character development was done very well, especially with Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks). There were very few skips in important moments for characters, but with how the movie was set up it almost wasn’t noticeable. The events flowed smoothly, making it an easy experience to become engrossed in. It wasn’t choppy or awkward at any moment. The pacing of the film seemed well planned and more developed in contrast to The Hunger Games. The plot was almost like reading the novel itself.

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance in this film was able to keep up with the rest of the cast to deliver a powerful and engaging movie. The actors and actresses who played the winning tributes from the other eleven districts were well chosen. They each accurately captured the personality of their character and added an extra element of authenticity to this film.

All the scenery used in the film made the world come to life. The dirtiness of the other districts, the lavishness of The Capital, the forest inside of the dome during the Quarter Quell; everything was rich with detail. One surprise was how realistic the CGI used to create the dangerous surprises (the fog, the Mockingjays, the mutts, the lightning, and the tsunami) that lurked in each section of the arena during the Quarter Quell looked.The score of the film, composed by James Newton Howard, was subtle acted as a medium to help portray an emotional depth to the film. It blended well with the action and pacing of the film.

One criticism of the film is the portrayal of the relationships between Gale and Katniss and Katniss and Peeta as a Twilight-esque love triangle. Admittedly, it draws in the attention of people who are not familiar with the book, but to those who are familiar with the books it comes across as non-genuine to the story. Another was the omission of a very important scene with Haymitch where Katniss and Peeta saw how he won the Games he was in. It gave the reason why Haymitch is the drunk he is as well as the reason for Katniss’ last move in during the Quarter Quell.

Catching Fire is one of the rare cases where the movie was as good as the novel. This film seemed like it was more directed to fans of the series as opposed to trying to draw in newcomers like The Hunger Games. Any apprehension you may have about going to see this film will sure to vanish by the end of it. Catching Fire is definitely a must see movie!

Rating: 9/10

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