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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Set shortly after their pyrrhic victory in the first instalment, we re-join Katniss and Peeta as they’re herded about by the media being forced to support the establishment while the rumblings of revolt, started by their defiance in the Games, grow ever louder. To quell the popular uprising, the odious President Snow inaugurates a special version of the games with the aim of accidentally-on-purpose getting the rebellious pair killed.

This movie is much darker and more emotionally involving than the first, dealing deeply with themes of love, betrayal and honour but it is, by no means, dull and introspective. Totalitarian brutality is never far from the surface in the downtrodden Districts during the lead-up to the games and once they commence the contestants form unlikely allegiances serving to both unite the districts and thwart the President’s intent.

The cinematography and CGI are of course stunning, the whole look and feel dovetails seamlessly with the first film and the whole thing has an almost Potter’esque (Harry, not Dennis) feeling of continuity as we follow the physical and emotional development of the tributes. As with the first film, the cast are great, the action never stops and the whole flashy package is smartly executed, but this second movie is far less superficial. But put all that cerebral stuff to one side… the ending!!! OMG - as the really annoying text-speak puts it – how can they do that to us?

The next, eagerly awaited instalment in the franchise, “Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” is scheduled for US release November 21, 2014 but us lesser mortals are probably going to have to wait the best part of a year before it’s out on Blu-ray. Oh yes … we shall be re-watching the previous movies in fervent anticipation.
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127 of 150 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2013
'Catching Fire' is my favourite book in the 'Hunger Games' trilogy and I wasn't disappointed by the translation of it to the big screen. Yes, some scenes have been left out or changed, but with the changes I personally think they work better for those seeing the film who haven't read the books. Overall, it's very faithful to the book.

The directing, special effects and acting all bring to life the darkness and emotional intensity of the story. Starting soon after the 74th games, Katniss and Peeta (along with their families and mentor Haymitch) are living in Victors Village. But with the victory tour of the other 11 districts, where all the tributes died in the arena, about to begin, and with rumours of a rebellion, it seems life is not to get any easier for Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch.

I don't want to spoil the film for anyone who hasn't the read the book so won't add any spoilers. Suffice to say that 'The Hunger Games' set the scene and 'Catching Fire' takes the story to a whole new level. It's a heartbreaking, shocking, breathtaking, suspenseful, funny, moving and thought provoking rollercoster ride of a film. Jennifer Lawrence is particularly outstanding as Katniss, although all the performances are strong. I'm only sorry we now have a wait a whole year to see the next installment, 'Mockingjay Part 1'.

Incredible, memorable film, well worth seeing even if you haven't the read the books (although it might help to see 'Hunger Games' first as it really does set the scene and will help you understand the background).
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on 8 June 2014
I missed this one when it was out in the cinema. I know, right? I've just finished watching it at home and I do wish I'd seen it on the big screen, though it still looked pretty nifty on the decidedly smaller one in my living room.

What I like most about the Hunger Games film franchise (so far) is that it stays true to the books, while adding in a few subtle changes that enhance Suzanne Collins' original story - I guess this could be partly down to Collins being one of the scriptwriters. Catching Fire doesn't stray far from the book and I was glad to see this, as Catching Fire is my favourite book of the trilogy. I was a little worried that the film wouldn't quite do it justice but my worries were abated within the first half an hour or so, when I was completely transported from my living room to Panem, once again.

The casting in Catching Fire is so strong, and it's the ensemble cast that makes this such a brilliant movie. Jena Malone is a revelation as surly, aggressive Johanna Mason and Sam Claflin really is Finnick - I can't think of anybody else in the movies who fits their role more perfectly. Mags and Wiress both broke my heart in two, as they did in the books, and I wish Lenny Kravitz and Elizabeth Banks could have a prequel spin-off! Well, obviously we know how things turn out for Cinna but, yeah. SAD FACE.

The film looks gorgeous and the design of the arena really helps with this. Rich, full greens and blues from the forests and oceans - visually, it's a treat to watch. In fact, the whole thing's a darn treat. I had a huge to-do list of things to work through this morning and decided to stick the film on in the background... Two hours later and my eyes hadn't strayed from the screen and my list was just as long as when I woke up. Oops.

I think I might go out on the limb here and say I actually preferred Catching Fire to The Hunger Games, fancy that! Full speed ahead for Mockingjay: Part One, which is due out this November. With the same director at the helm, I'm fully convinced it will be just as great as the first two films.

There's only one thing left to say really; Philip Seymour Hoffman, you are and will always be greatly missed.
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on 15 April 2014
As with all 'event' films, there are a considerable amount of people who have been eagerly awaiting the second instalment of the Hunger Games saga ever since they saw the first one. I was among them. I've been counting down the days to see this film and, as far as the films are concerned, I consider myself a fan. And, when it was time to go and see the film, the anticipation, not just with me, but for the entire screening room of people, was unbearable. Oh, and please be aware that considering this is a sequel, there will be spoilers from the first film.

With new director Francis Lawrence in charge, we join lead character Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) as she, and fellow tribute Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) have won the 74th Annual Hunger Games. By beating the system, and threatening to commit suicide and therefore the Games having no winner, something, that could not happen. Now, both Peeta and Katniss live in the District 12 winners village in separate houses along with the only other District 12 winner, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson). It seems now that the star crossed lover thing is an act, which means that now they have to go on the Victors Tour, they will have to go back to. Something which isn't helped by Katniss being in love with Gale (Liam Hemsworth). However, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) knows this was to be no ordinary Victors Tour as he looks for a way to eliminate Katniss and Peeta with the help of Philip Seymour Hoffman's character Plutarch Heavensbee......
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on 20 March 2014
This is a great movie. I was hoping they kept close to the book and it does mostly. I understand why they had to make changes.
Jennifer Lawrence is as always fabulous. you see more of Katniss's inner turmoil from her this time. Josh and Liam support her well. I think the only down fall is I would like to have seen more of the emotional destruction the 74th Games had on Katnis and Peetr as in the book Collins is very sympathetic to the emotional strain they are both in and how it bonds and divides them both. I hope the next instalment shows this more because the bond between the two isn't explored enough this time round. SPOLIER - I shall explain just before and at the reaping for the 75th games Katniss is begging Haymich to do everything he can for Peetr. In the movie this comes from know where. In the movie 1 minute Peetr and Katniss are not even talking and the next she's begging to save him. bit of a plot fail. Ok as the movie moves from there you begin to see her feelings growing, but I think the movie just needed a bit more before that.

Donald Sutherland does a sterling performance and is truly menacing. SPOILER - I know he never went to see Katnis in district 12, but his presence on the screen made you believe he would kill Katnis.

Phillip Hoffman Seymor (RIP) is fabulous. Selfishly - I hope he filmed his parts before he departed us so sadly. He's just perfect as Plutarch.

I have to say all the cast have done a sterling job. I can't wait for Mockingjay. Shame it has to be in 2 parts! The books not that long, so I hope they do not divert from the novel too far.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 March 2014
After surviving the 74th Hunger Games in such a defiant manner, District 12's Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) & Peeta Mellark's (Hutcherson) actions of defiance have sown the seeds of rebellion in the Districts of Panem. In order to suppress this rebellion, President Snow (Sutherland) orders them on a victory tour where Katniss 'must' show her defiance was out of the love for Peeta, and not aimed at the Capitol. Failing this, Snow uses his power to start a Quarter Quell games, an early 75th Hunger Games, which is allowed every 25 years. Where upon 2 pairs from each district that have all won past games will fight against each other to the death. In the hope to rid them of these heroes & quell the rebellion.

This sequel builds upon the foundations of The Hunger Games , with continuity that sees all the key characters returning with strong performances, albeit battle scarred & emotionally drained. Some new faces add a little freshness, particularly of note Jena Malone (Sucker Punch) as the fiery tribute Johanna & the late Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) as the new games coordinator Plutarch Heavensbee. The structure of the film is similar to that of The Hunger Games, the first hour or so is about immersing us back into the setting & characters, the knock on effects that the 74th Hunger Games has had on Katniss, Peeta & Panem. Leading up to the inevitable preperation to the 75th Games, which takes the final hour or so of the film & leaves us on a cliffhanger ending, with anticipation of another two films , The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 & Part 2.

Seeing how the characters have grown even more from the first film was done well, with Katniss & Peeta now more savvy in how things work in the Capitol , but still naive & needing guidance from Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), as both suffer from PTSD with nightmares & Katniss's ever complicated love triangle with Peeta in the dome & Gale (Liam Hemsworth) in District 12 continuing. The story is good & endears us even more to Katniss & the rebels thanks to the Gestapo like tactics from the Capitols police force, dislikable President Snow & the ever present 'Let Them Eat Cake' residents of the Capitol who stuff their faces while the districts starve. Particularly liked the touch with the drink that makes them sick so they can eat more. The dome battle itself is very familiar, but heightened tensions with the fact the tributes are more highly skilled & deadly this time, with various unique skills & a nice new aspect to it that means the dome itself is more hostile as well.

In conclusion, Catching Fire doesn't structurally differ all that much from the first film, but delves deeper into the behind the scenes reality T.V manipulation. The continuity, character aftermath, Panem on the brink of rebellion & it's slight twist on the arena survival action make for a solid sequel. Two more movies are on the way. Contains mild language & violence. Recommended.
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I'd been looking forward to the second in the series with great anticipation,
the first was in my view indeed brilliant.
The winners of the 74th Hunger Games 'Katniss Everdeen'(Jennifer Lawrence) and
'Peeta Mellark'(Josh Hutcherson) have to leave their families behind to embark on a victory
tour organised by the 'Establishment' and read out the pre-written speeches, much to the annoyance
of the tour organisers, the pair are not playing by the rules.
District by district is visited by the pair, 'Katniss' begins to sense the undertones of
a rebellion, a observation not missed by 'President Snow'(Donald Sutherland)
The President announces a deadly 75th Hunger Games with a few rule changes,this time former winners
will be matched against each other.
'Katniss' and 'Hamitch's' name are drawn from area '12'.....quickly 'Peetra' offers to take
'Hamitch's' place an offer that cannot be overruled, so the winners of the 74th are back in the fray.
Candidates from many of the other districts are considerably more experience
than 'Katniss' and 'Peetra' which makes them rank outsiders, odds that suit the
President's intent, as he believes that the districts are inspired by last years winners.
Let the Games begin.............
'Jennifer Lawrence' is again outstanding in her role as 'Katniss Everdeen'
An exciting and often tense adventure with several superb action sequences
within the created jungle in which the ruling establishment try to orchestrate the outcome of the games for both entertainment and of course self-preservation.
Sadly the role of 'Plutarch Heavensbee'part of the 2nd part of 'Mokingjay' will have
to be altered following the recent passing of actor 'Phillip Seymour Hoffman'
The story has been set up perfectly for the 3rd in the series, trouble is we almost
certainly have to wait a while to see it Well worth a viewing
Special Features:
*Audio commentary with director 'Mikael Hafstrom' and writer 'Miles Chapman'
*Security: The real life of Tomb.
*Executing the plan.
*Clash of the Titans.
*Deleted Scenes.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 January 2014
I liked the first movie the Hunger Games and liked similar type movies better so had mixed feeling about seeing the sequel.

I loved Joss Whedon's Cabin in the Woods out at the same time. A group of young people in a remote cabin on a weekend are unaware that they are on a reality show and are slowly being killed off in creative and horrifying ways for ratings. The theme is a little similar, and it's a brilliant movie inspired by Sam Raimi's horror classic The Evil Dead.

Hunger Games put me in mind of Oliver Stone's movie Natural Born Killers, a keen satire on consumerism and how death somehow becomes entertainment, and villains become icons, a great movie which coincidentally stars Woody Harrelson.

Upon the good word of friends and good reviews I decided to go see Catching Fire, and loved it more than the original and I will definitely go see the next one.

For one thing, the sequel moves from being a simple action movie, to developing the characters and giving them soul. Katniss is told she will never have to fight again, yet despite the ratings success of the Hunger Games throughout the districts natives are getting restless, and now surviving tributes admired by the public for their fighting skills are viewed by President Snow as a threat which does not bode well for our heroine. The promoters have to find ways of getting higher ratings while keeping the restive natives from rebelling.

As our tributes become heroes they also become icons the people can rally around, yet they are paraded to maintain the status quo. How does a dictator President Snow maintain control, when our heroes are perceived as threats.

I loved how this sequel blossomed from a routine adventure movie into more three dimensional characters. I found this added to my entertainment experience. For one thing there is a deeper relationship between Katniss and Peeta and other characters.

We have the romantic triangle with Katniss' two potential suitors, Peeta with whom she agrees to maintain the pretense of love for the cameras, and the Liam Hemsworth character with whom she seems close but can it go the distance. Can adventure and excitement, and life and death situations ignite the real thing? Will feigned love blossom into the real thing with her renewed proximity to Peeta, and what new adventures are in store?

I am very delighted with how the story developed, managing to surprise me with its twists and turns departing considerably from my modest expectations in engaging ways.

I admired what J Law brings to the part of Katniss. It's hard to imagine anyone doing a better job.

As she is paraded in a chariot I could as easily imagine her playing an iconic role like Cleopatra or Helen of Troy, she has that kind of presence. She adds a noticeable dimension to this movie, elevating it beyond what it would otherwise be.

But not all credit belongs to the actress. Simon Beaufoy creates an excellent screenplay, having previously won the Academy Award for Best Adapted screenplay for Slumdog Millionaire in 2009. Francis Lawrence has previously directed other excellent movies such as I am Legend and Water for Elephants. Both deserve kudos for what they have done here.

I think most people will love it, and probably more than the first movie, because in my opinion at least it is considerably better, and I hope this was helpful. I have high hopes that the third one will be even better.
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I didn't really enjoy the first of the HG films - the action was a bit weak ditto the characters. However the story intrigued so I was looking forward to the second and it didn't disappoint. Catching Fire raised the bar and the tension nicely with the unfortunate Katniss and Peeta pulled back into a kind of anniversary games by President Snow in an ill fated attempt to destroy her and head off growing civil unrest.

This one was never really about the games, it was about Katniss and the hope of the population surviving in the face of brutality and oppression and although the symbolism was a bit obvious, it still made for a good film. Harrelson as Haimitch was thankfully reined in a bit for this one, staying mostly sober whilst he worked behind the scenes to ensure their survival with some powerful allies. The games themselves were definitely upscaled with poisonous fog, badass monkeys and blood rain thrown into the mix although the spinning island did veer a bit close to Total Wipeout and truth be told I was slightly disappointed about the lack of one-one-one action. Great, if slightly telegraphed twist at the finale too.

Overall though, this was an excellent film full of parody, symbolism, action and some excellent acting performances

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on 31 March 2014
I guess the first thing to say is if you enjoyed The Hunger Games you're pretty much guaranteed to like this to at least some extent. As others have pointed out it does take a little longer than the first film to get to the real action scenes but I liked this aspect, the time is used to add a few more layers to some of the characters and the world they live in before once again we're thrown in to the arena for the games.

Once the games start it is then all out action for the rest of the flick, plenty of what you've seen before in the first film but the ante has been upped to some extent. The addition of new characters played by Sam Claflin and Jena Malone bring a real injection of charisma to proceedings and the sadly missed Philip Seymour Hoffman adds a touch of class in an understated role.

One of the quirks of watching these modern movie series (Harry Potter, The Hobbit etc) is you always know theres more to come and this is essentially a middle chapter in a larger story. There is a slight frustration for me that it'll be a good while before the next chapter is available but I guess it's a sign of a good movie that I'm left wanting more. Highly recommended.
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