Director Francis Lawrence, writers Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt, and actors Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth combine to present a film that is both exciting and moving to watch. “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”, the sequel to “The Hunger Games”, follows Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark after they’ve won the 74th Annual Hunger Games. To the Districts of Panem, Katniss and Peeta are beacons of hope and inspiration for rebellion so the two victors become targets of the Capital and President Snow.
“I was supposed to win the games and live the rest of my life in peace.”
Sometimes a sequel can be worse than the original, but “Catching Fire” is better than its predecessor. I was blown away. There’s really no other way to say it. It is a perfect combination of suspense, action, wit, dark comedy, romance, and familial love. I had high hopes for this film and it surpassed all of my expectations. The run-time may be long, but it doesn’t feel long when you’re watching it.
The unique and multifaceted construction of all of the characters – even the new ones – is beautiful. The dynamic between Katniss, Peeta, and their allies in the game serve to heighten the sense of unity among the people against an oppressive government. Katniss must cope with her nightmares and post traumatic stress disorder. On top of that, she has to pretend to be happy and promote the Capital while on the Victory Tour across the Districts. Gale Hawthorne, while only being a very minor character in the first film, becomes more central and is given more time on screen.
Character relationships that were hinted at or began in the first film further develop. As well, a myriad of new characters are introduced which add to the excitement and fear in the film; all serve an important role.
“I’m still betting on you, girl on fire.”
Jennifer Lawrence continues to portray Katniss with such vulnerability and complexity. The subtleties of her performance add a depth to the character’s arc in this film. Her anger, fear, and depression grow. The last scene of the movie is perhaps the most telling, but also displays the ease with which Lawrence is able to convey emotions. Josh Hutcherson, once again, plays the role of Peeta Mellark with a steady hand, showing Peeta to be vulnerable but strong. Since Liam Hemsworth (who plays Gale) is given more lines, we get to see his talent utilized. Hemsworth is, like Lawrence and Hutcherson, an actor who knows how to control and portray emotions in a subtle and believable way.
Worth mentioning are the newcomers such as Jena Malone (who plays Johanna Mason) and Sam Claflin (who plays Finnick Odair). Both manage to play their roles convincingly, with depth and flair.
Overall, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is a film that delivers on every front. The script and the acting are spot on which creates a piece that is truly amazing to watch. Every single moment is terrifying or inspiring. You definitely do not want to miss out on seeing this film. I’m already looking forward to the next installment.