The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

It’s that time of the year again! Where we all are getting ready and making our rounds for the next event in the Hunger Games. Although I have never read the trio of books, I have became a fan of this series because of Katniss’ compelling story and message. The first film was a great starter for the franchise, and has laid down an assertive foundation for the future installments. With that in mind, TheĀ Hunger Games: Catching Fire has set itself up to not only carry on the legacy of Katniss and company fittingly, but also the chance to dare to be bolder and stronger.

Josh Hutcherson & Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Josh Hutcherson & Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire follows the aftermath of the 74th hunger games. Recent winners, Katniss Everdeen( Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), have now become the targets of the Capitol and its leader, President Snow (Donald Sutherland). After commencing on a “Victor’s Tour” and inspiring more of a revolution, President Snow announces that the 75th Hunger Games will feature only the previous winners. Katniss and Peeta must now prepare to get back into the fighting mentality, and help preserve the hope of change and resistance. In this round of the Hunger Games, can Katniss and Peeta survive and help change Panem for the better, or will the Capitol regain full control of its districts?

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is an adaption that is extremely ambitious in its message, setup, and execution. It tackles a broad range of issues, and includes a lot of different aspects that a variety of people can all like and appreciate. For the most part, the film highly succeeds at what it tries to achieve. There is a lot to like about this sequel; however, there are also a few bumps along the way. The film feels drawn out, and it follows almost the same exact execution as the first film. At times the movie does feel a bit underwhelming, but this sentiment in only a fleeting one. Although the movie is far from perfect, the flaws are easy to overlook due to the fact the overall production is still gratifying and entertaining. The reason why this story works well on film, especially in this installment, is because of the vision and direction of the film is vivid and captivating, the message is sincere and honest, and because of the star of the film, Jennifer Lawrence, which is also Hunger Games‘ strongest and greatest selling point.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a timely sequel that is as intelligent as its entertaining. The film brilliantly captures a divided nation that is in utter turmoil. Although we are not close to being in a state quite like what is depicted in Panem, the politics and the struggles are far too relatable. Were the class divisions are too far apart, and politicians treating their constituents like pawns in a game of chess- the films makes an astute political statement. This sociopolitical commentary allows Catching Fire to explore on the franchise’s growing themes of sacrifice, survival, independence, government control, rebellion, trust, hope, and media manipulation. In many ways the movie is as much as a political thriller as it is a dystopian adventure. The new director, Francis Lawrence, has brought an exciting new life into the series. Lawrence’s vision of the script and set designs forces the audience to engage in the film’s politics, but still finds a way to keep the stakes extremely high. Lawrence and crew has created a glorious dystopian society that becomes an active backdrop to the exquisite action sequences that are fluent and intense. Every scene is well thought-out, and captures the fear, terror, and beauty that is filled in this universe. With Francis Lawrence’s expansion of Panem and the intriguing story, the talented cast delivers performances that help propel the movie into new territory. The whole cast delivers performance that is anywhere from solid to strong. As a collective they all add something different, and rewarding to the picture. However, this is Jennifer Lawrence’s picture and franchise from start to finish.

The always stunning Jennifer Lawrence not only proves yet again that she is more than capable of carrying a whole movie franchise by herself, but she also always delivers a performance that speaks volumes of her talents. Once again she delivers a performance that will resonate with the audience, and will fill you with a lot of different emotions. She demands the screen so perfectly and conveys what Katniss feels in every scene efficiently and elegantly. After watching this, it is apparent that the only person that could have brought life to the character of Katniss is Lawrence. She has developed the character extremely well and has effectively gotten into the psyche of a girl who has lost a tremendous amount in life, but still has the courage and bravery to fight for her beliefs, her loved ones, and most importantly herself. Lawrence herself is one of the few in her own age range that just gets it. In pop culture, where bad decisions, stupidity, outrageousness, and shallowness seems like it gets celebrated too much-Jennifer Lawrence has genuinely brought stability, grace, wisdom, and realness. It is only right that Lawrence gets the chance to play such a powerful character. She truly shines in Catching Fire, and her performance is easily the best part of the film. As we dive deep in the mind of Katniss, we see that she not only transforms from survivor into leader, but also from a girl into a woman. This transformation, which cumulates into an emotionally picture perfect ending, sets up a finale that should be simply amazing.

In a society where movies, shows, and the media depict the male side of a story more often than the female side- it is refreshing to see a book/movie to have its protagonist be based on an individualistic female character. Katniss has the potential to represent and provide a great deal of inspiration and guidance for a whole range of girls who possibly need a strong role model in their life. Katniss is fearless, strong, and confident. She don’t necessarily need to rely on anyone, but herself to make it in this cruel world. Sure, she might get help and advice along the way from different people, but it is ultimately Katniss that is the one who makes her own decisions. She is the polar opposite of the familiar damsel in distress, and she proves that she does not need to wait for a prince because she can rescue herself. Whether we like to admit it or not, we are still living in a man’s world; however, Lawrence and(as) Katniss prove that it can very much be a woman’s world.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a rare sequel that remains thought-provoking, and expands/improves on the original. It is a great time at the theaters, and will be sure to leave all of its viewers entertained, satisfied, and undoubtedly wanting more. In a time where potential franchise blockbusters, which are based on teen novels, are less than serviceable-Catching Fire is a refreshing reminder that a successful franchise does not need to heavily rely on mindless characters in an all too-cliched, fantasy like love triangle. The Hunger Games series; instead, relies on a strong, independent female character that is relatable and intriguing to watch. Along with the political commentary, inspiring set pieces, action, and charisma- the movie might be one of the most entertaining films of the year. It safe to assume that this adaption of the Hunger Games series will leave many Tributes starving for the next course.

The cast includes: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Josh Hutcherson (Red Dawn), Liam Hemsworth (The Expendables 2), Woody Harrelson (Now You See Me), Donald Sutherland (Horrible Bosses), and Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March). It was written by Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours) and Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine). It was directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend).

 

3 out of 4 stars.

-By Louie Coruzzolo

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One Response to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

  1. […] novel, Insurgent. The Divergent Series was released during a peek time for Young Adult Fiction. The Hunger Games, Twilight, The Maze Runner, all books that fall into that category and have been very successful. […]

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