We review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
|The Hunger Games: Catching Fire|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Francis Lawrence|
|Produced by||Nina Jacobson
|Screenplay by||Simon Beaufoy
|Based on||Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins
Phillip Seymour Hoffman
|Music by||James Newton Howard|
|Editing by||Alan Edward Bell|
|Running time||146 minutes|
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is an American science-fiction adventure film based on Suzanne Collins‘ novel, Catching Fire, the second installment in The Hunger Games trilogy. The film is the sequel to The Hunger Games, and the second installment in The Hunger Games film series, produced and distributed by Lionsgate. Francis Lawrence directed the film, with a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt (credited as Michael deBruyn). Jennifer Lawrence returns as Katniss Everdeen along with Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones, Paula Malcomson and Willow Shields also reprising their roles.
Months prior to the first film’s release, Lionsgate greenlit the second film and Gary Ross, director of the first film, was expected to return as director. However, on April 10, 2012, he announced his departure from the project due to the tight and fixed production and on May 3, Francis Lawrence was hired as the film’s director. Throughout July and September 2012, the film’s supporting cast was filled out, with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Lynn Cohen, Meta Golding, Amanda Plummer, and Jeffrey Wright brought in to portray key roles. Filming began September 10, 2012 in and around metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia before moving to Hawaii. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was released on November 15, 2013 in Brazil, November 20, 2013 in Norway, and in IMAX on November 22, 2013 in the United States.
After winning the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark return home to District 12. On the day Katniss and Peeta are to start a victory tour of the country, she is visited by President Snow, who explains that when she defied the Capitol by breaking the rules so that she and Peeta both survived the last Hunger Games, she inspired rebellions in districts and now must continue to pretend to be in love with Peeta or her family will be killed.
The first stop of the tour is in District 11, home of Katniss’ friend Rue, the 12-year-old who competed in the 74th Hunger Games. Peeta offers to read the speech from a script Effie provides them, but throws it away and voices his thoughts instead. As they leave, a sorrowful Katniss delivers an inspiring speech that causes a man to whistle the tune Katniss used during the 74th Hunger Games to inform Rue she was safe, and provides the three-finger salute. Everyone follows the man until Peacekeepers shoot him dead, causing Katniss to scream in panic. Fearing for their safety, Haymitch tells Katniss and Peeta they have become a political target. The two youths proceed to visit the other districts. To solve disputes between Katniss and Snow, Peeta proposes to Katniss in public.
When they return to District 12, they find Gale has been punished and is being publicly whipped because he defended an old lady when the Commander and his troops were destroying the Black Market. Peeta, Katniss and Haymitch try to save Gale. Snow, watching them, reads out that the 75th Hunger Games will be the Quarter Quell, an event taking place every 25 years in which existing champions must compete once more. Katniss is devoted to allowing Peeta to become the champion of the Quarter Quell and makes a deal with Haymitch that whatever he does he must make sure Peeta is safe and will win. When they draw the tributes for the Quarter Quell, it turns out the tributes will be Katniss and Haymitch, but Peeta volunteers and Haymitch has no power to avoid him from joining.
The games are set around a saltwater lake, during which Katniss becomes an ally of Mags and Finnick Odair, both from District 4. Mags sacrifices herself when they are attacked by fog that causes their skin to swell, allowing Finnick, Katniss and Peeta to escape. The trio rests in the middle of the forest where they are attacked by baboons. After they escape the baboons and rest at the beach, they are met by Wiress and Beetee from District 3, who are extremely smart, and Johanna from District 7, who is cunning and violent. Wiress soon learns the saltwater lake is arranged like a clock and that every hour, lightning will hit upon a tree where it marks an hour has passed and the start of another attack will come—the first being the fog, and the second being the baboons. After Wiress dies, Beetee suggests a plan that requires them to direct the electricity from the lightning to the lake to electrocute the remaining two tributes from District 2. When the wire snaps, Katniss attaches the remaining wire to an arrow and shoots it at the force field to destroy the arena, causing her to black out.
She awakens in an aircraft with Beetee, who is unconscious. Entering the cockpit she finds Haymitch, Finnick and Plutarch the gamemaker, who is actually their ally and a rebel against Snow. She learns Johanna and Peeta were taken away by the Capitol, causing her to attempt to attack Haymitch because he did not fulfill his promise. He sedates her before she can do so. She awakens days later with Gale by her side and learns her family is safe but that District 12 has been destroyed.
Katniss Everdeen has HGPTSD (That’s Hunger Games Post Traumatic Stress Disorder…lol) To make things worse President Snow is forcing the winners of the previous contests to play the 75th games. There is tons of action and drama, and a tad of romance thrown into Katniss’s love triangle. The acting is well done and the imagery top notch. If I have a gripe it is that we were forced to suffer through too much pre games build up. All in all I highly recommend this flick. – MR