The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the second offering in the cinematic adaptation of the bestselling trilogy, and a captivating step up from its predecessor.
Stacking up at close to two-and-a-half hours long, the emotional intensity sadly missing from the first film builds up here to another higher stakes fight for survival, delivering all it needs for the hardcore fans and newcomers alike.
Jennifer Lawrence returns to the dystopian future world of Panem as the heroine Katniss Everdeen, winner of the previous Hunger Games and now a Victor for life. Her family have been moved from the hand-to-mouth squalor of their home to the relative comfort of Victors quarters in District 12.
Katniss and fellow games survivor Peeta tour all the districts doing the PR victory round. Their post-winning lives are very much public ones, their relationship mined for drama at every turn, a far cry from the uncomfortable awkward distance they keep from each other when the cameras turn away.
Katniss is still at conflict with herself and most of those round her, including her childhood friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth). Her mentor Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) has returned to the bottle to help fend his demons.
But not all is well in the capitol, rebellion simmers across the districts and the evil President Snow knows the power Katniss could wield should she choose to. With the help of his new Head Gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), he responds the best way he knows how; he throws her and fellow Victors back into the ring for the 75th Hunger Games.
This second outing lives up to its name. It has new writers and a new director, and the story and its delivery is a superior experience. Jennifer Lawrence takes Katniss to a new level, we see how heavy the toll is emotionally, the price she is paying for her survival. The final epic Hunger Games showdown is shot on IMAX, and is as visually arresting and action-packed as it needs to be.
These stories are essentially mainstream teen blockbuster fare, but the original source material is such a compelling and oftentimes confronting story it transcends the usual audience boundaries.
The final few frames of Catching Fire, courtesy of Lawrence at her Oscar-honoured best, left me gasping for more, wishing I could watch the final chapter unfold immediately.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
:: Director: Francis Lawrence
:: Starring: Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Jena Malone, Elizabeth Banks, Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin
:: Running Time: 146 mins
:: Rating: M - Violence
:: Release Date: November 21, 2013
source: newshub archive