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
*Audio commentary with director 'Mikael Hafstrom' and writer 'Miles Chapman'
*Security: The real life of Tomb.
*Executing the plan.
*Clash of the Titans.
on 22 November 2015
Jennifer Lawrence is back as Katniss Everdeen in Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games also starring Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland. A revolution on Panem has begun and Katniss finds herself forced in another tournament called the Quarter Quell. Will the box office odds be ever in the favor of the sequel or will fans disapprove of the adaptation?
Coming off their victory in the 74th annual Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark must now embark on the traditional promotional visit to each of the twelve districts of Panem which in known as the Victory Tour. This is very tough for Katniss as she has brutal nightmares each night as she sees the murders of her allies sometimes even when she is wide awake. Thinking this is all she has to do to fulfill her obligations to President Snow and the Capitol, Katniss agrees to keep up the charade of being star crossed lovers with Peeta.
One person who is not at all happy with Katniss winning the Hunger Games is President Snow. He sees her as defiant and a symbol of hope to the rebellion. Before the Victory Tour starts, He visits Katniss at her home and gives her an ultimatum, either convince him that her love for Peeta is real and be a good spokesperson for the Capitol, or he will make sure she and her loved ones are eliminated. Reluctantly, Katniss agrees to play along.
Along the Victory Tour, Katniss and Peeta do their best to be obedient spokespersons, but they become first hand witnesses to the terror and fear of the districts as Peacekeeper soldiers publicly flog and execute anyone in defiance to the Capitol. Unfortunately they both have to turn a blind eye to the terror as they fear for their own survival.
To prove President Snow is in control, he sends soldiers and a new Commander into District 12 to teach Katniss’ fellow citizens a lesson of fear. After an act of courage that puts Katniss between the whip of the Commander and a loved one, President Snow decides to play one more trump card up his sleeve and that is to change the treaty charter and initiate a new type of tournament known as the Quarter Quell. To Celebrate the 75th Annual Hunger Games, contestants will now be pulled from a pool of all surviving victors. President Snow feels that if he can’t personally kill her, he’ll do it on TV by people who already know how to kill. Being the only female to ever win from District 12, Katniss is once again forced to fight not only for her life but for the safety of her family and loved ones. Will President Snow do everything in his power to destroy the hope that Katniss symbolizes, or will a secret alliance aide an uprising in the districts against the Capitol?
When I initially saw The Hunger Games, I wasn’t a big fan. It by all means wasn’t a horrible film, but I thought it was an over the top budget ripoff of The Running Man and Battle Royale, plus I felt that I didn’t fit into the film’s age demographic. I understood the social commentary of the film, but I thought other movies such as They Live did a much better job at conveying the concept of governmental fear, media brainwashing, and poverty stricken hope. I recently saw The Starving Games parody movie and everything I thought was absurd with the first movie, was perfectly lampooned in the same style and manner of a Mad Magazine satire. I went into Catching Fire with very low expectations, but left thoroughly entertained by the darker and intense tone of the movie and with a better understanding of the idea the author had for her books. I saw so many similarities to real life in media and government that I felt the movie truly was art imitating life.
I think the first thing that makes the sequel such a better improvement to the first is its change of director. This time around, the story of the girl on fire is told by Francis Lawrence (no relation to Jennifer) who brings to the table his action adventure experience with previous films like I Am Legend and Constantine and pacing and tone from work on music videos. He eliminates a ton of nausea inducing shakey cam. I also thought the movie was better shot and used a better color palette of darker colors to portray the more ominous theme. Even little details like changing the outfits for the Peacekeeper soldiers from from riot gear cops to faceless storm troopers made President Snow’s tyranny more diabolical. The director did a great job with pacing. At almost two and a half hours long, I din’t think the movie at all dragged. The movie wasn’t filled with too much filler as the director cut out a lot of the fluff and focused on a more adult film. The books may be directed at a tween female audience, but the director made Catching Fire to a broader audience.
With Catching Fire allowing more character development, I grew to appreciate and understand the backgrounds even more. In the first movie, Haymitch Abernathy portrayed by Woody Harrelson seemed like a drunk pretty boy, but in the sequel you get the sense, that he and other victors never live down the killings they had to endure. Some have nightmares and post traumatic stress disorder that the only way to numb the pain is through self medication. As with the first movie. I thought Harrelson is once again a standout of the cast.
The sequel also gives the characters a larger sense of maturity. Both Peeta portrayed by Josh Hutcherson and Gale portrayed by Liam Hemsworth have grown up. They both see the larger picture. Hutcherson really improves on the role. He’s not a naive and doe eyed boy as in the first. He’s now a diplomatic young man and gives Katniss a better sense of purpose in the arena. While Hemsworth doesn’t have a lot of screen time as the other characters, one particular scene is a pivotal plot point on why the President institutes the Quarter Quell.
The attitude of the characters is completely changed. This is most evident with Effie Trinket played by Elizabeth Banks. Initially she is a public relations groupie totally infatuated with the lifestyle of the Capital, but as the horrific events that occur during the Victory Tour, even she starts to feel that things just aren’t right.
Other returning actors are Stanley Tucci as Hunger Games play by play announcer Caesar Flickerman and Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Katniss’ fashion designer. Tucci is the absolute brilliant personification of a television talk show celebrity. He is gaudy with his ridiculous colored hair, orange spray tan, and bleached white teeth. Kravitz doesn’t have a lot of screentime, but I enjoyed his performance.
Of course the star of the show is Oscar winner, Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. In real life interviews she has expressed how uncomfortable she is with stardom and fame. This makes her absolutely perfect to play Katniss because the humble character just wants to be at home with family, but is violently thrust back into the spotlight. Lawrence has taken the character to a whole new level and made it her own. With movies like Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, X-Men: First Class, and the Hunger Games franchise, Lawrence is proving what a well rounded and versatile young actress she is becoming.
But for all her purity and strength, it wouldn’t even be showcased without the tremendous villains of President Snow played by Donald Sutherland and new games master, Plutarch Heavensbee portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. I’d compare Sutherland and Hoffman’s characters to that of the Emperor and Darth Vader from Star Wars. I know that analogy may be a bit of a stretch, but the goal of the two is to manipulate the citizens with fear and desperation, yet mask it all with gladiatorial games like Roman Caesars. To me this was another key factor on why I liked the sequel more. You can’t have a fantastic hero to root for unless there is a diabolical villain to despise. Catching Fire has both.
Newcomers to the franchise who I really liked were Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair and Jena Malone as Johanna Mason. Initially Finnick is cocky and arrogant, but you see his heart immediately at the Arena’s cornucopia as he takes care of the elderly tribute from his district. But who I think stole the show was Jana Malone. She not only was gorgeous, but had the best lines in the whole movie. She was defiant and honest, especially in front of the live television audience. She said the things I felt Katniss was afraid to.
My biggest critique of the whole film is the battle arena itself. While I felt the movie did an amazing job elevating the importance of the political tyranny and media brainwashing, the tournament itself still sort of dragged. To best describe the Quarter Quell would be describe it as CBS’s Survivor All-Stars. It should be more intense with champions battling it out. Now to me I would have liked more of the tributes killing each other that is hinted by even Haymitch that these are the best killers in the land. Instead Katniss and her allies must battle against poison mist, sharp toothed baboons, and Alfred Hitchcock’s birds. The tournament bad guys barely had any screentime and most deaths occurred off screen. Most of the time, you only knew there was a death because of the trademarked boom which signaled that a tribute lost their life. For this reasons I still feel Battle Royale does a better job at portraying the contestants’ depravity for survival.
All in all, I feel Catching Fire is such a better film than its predecessor. So much so that as I was writing this review, I had The Hunger Games playing on Netflix to help me compare the two films. I hope it’s not odd to say, but the sequel made the first movie so much better that I noticed more details in the first that now makes the movie a better experience for me. This is normally the problem with trilogies. You can’t just make the judgement on the first movie, because there are two more segments to the story. Catching Fire is a fantastic continuation that now I am actually looking forward to Mockingjay. I only hate that the studio decided to split it into two movies like what Twilight and Harry Potter did with their final books. I hope it wasn’t for financial reasons but to really get indepth with the story. I guess we shall see when the two movies are released in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
While the first movie wasn’t horrible, I wasn’t a big fan of it, so I went into Catching Fire with little expectations. I still feel the first was a bit of an amalgamation of Battle Royale and The Running Man, but Catching Fire does a lot better job at explaining the plight of the districts and who the real enemy is. With the new director at the helm, I felt this movie was more darker and intense that I feel fans of the books will really like. If you are a fan of the books, you will love the sequel. If your opinion of the first was on the fence like mine, then I think you should definitely check it out as it may convert you into appreciating the franchise a lot more.
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).
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.
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.
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
[ RIP PSH]
Having read the book a while ago now, I have to admit that I had forgotten elements of this instalment, so I cannot reliably say how well it stays to the book. What I will say is that this is a fantastic film. After the success of the first, you can see that this one looks a little more polished; sets, costumes and effects are slightly better quality. As a lover of the novels as well, I was also happy to see that they had managed to capture the flavour of Katniss's world, in particular her turmoil at coming back to 'normal' life as a victor, only to have it come crashing down as the threat of revolution begins to loom. The politics of the story is very well depicted, you truly see that Katniss is in an impossible situation, trying to keep Snow happy.
For me, this is the real triumph of the film; the emotional landscape of individual characters, as well as the collective is superbly expressed. You can truly see how a revolution can begin, even when the catalyst for one does not intend for her actions to start off such a chain of events.
If you have read the books, or seen the first film, you would be missing out on not seeing this instalment. I loved it and I only hope that the final two will be just as good.
Some time has passed after the end of The Hunger Games and Katniss and Peeta have not spoken to each other at all since returning to District 12. Catching Fire opens on the day of the 'Victory Tour' around the country and President Snow unexpectedly arrives to tell Katniss that he is angry with her for sparking what could be a rebellion in all the districts. He wishes her to convince the public that the threat to eat the poisonous berries in the arena was an act of love and not one of rebellion or else he'll hurt her loved ones. Katniss reluctantly agrees but as the tour gets started and they move through each district, they see more and more acts of rebellion in the crowds and become more and more horrified by the Capitol's brutal treatment of these rebels. Later, it is announced that for the 75th Hunger Games, the third Quarter Quell, there will be a twist and the volunteers will be picked from the pool of previous victors. Katniss and Peetasoon find themselves back in the arena, this time with allies Finnick and Mags from District 4, and things are even more brutal before.
Catching Fire has you gripping the edge of your seat from the very beginning. Now I know that sounds like a massive cliché, but it is actually true! There is such a tense atmosphere in this film as rebellion seems to be brewing and no one knows who to trust. This film is highly exciting and much flashier than The Hunger Games but this is definitely a good thing. The special effects are much better and highly impressive, as is the setting and the costumes.
Although this is quite an action packed film, there were also many very emotional scenes in which I was on the point of tears in. This plot is actually quite moving as a lot of people are wronged and killed unjustly throughout the series and I'm glad that this more melancholic tone was able to shine through as well. That said, there are also several funny parts so it's not too depressing.
I really liked the way that Katniss' character has developed since The Hunger Games. She was always a strong and brave character, but she's put up even more walls between herself and everyone else and seems to have age several years since she went into the arena. Although she is admirable, she is not always the most likeable of characters as she comes across as a little cold. In Catching Fire we see the relationship between Katniss and Peeta develop some more and we see more of Katniss' sensitive side which is interesting. Jennifer Lawrence continues to portray Katniss as a very real and raw character and seems to get it just right.
I was a little disappointed by Peeta's part in this film as I felt that he didn't have a substantial role. Although he was often being talked about or seen on screen, he doesn't do a great deal of talking and his presence wasn't felt very strongly in my opinion. There were lots of sweet moments from Peeta but apart from these Peeta/Katniss moments, I don't think he was given much attention. I got the impression that Peeta doesn't really exist without Katniss which I did not get from the books. Although I expect Katniss to have a more dominant role, not least because she is the more dominant character, I still thought that there would be lots of emphasis on Peeta's character.
This film is much more exciting than the first film as there are lots of new characters who all bring new plot developments with them. Finnick Odair, played by Sam Claflin, is a really great addition to the cast as he is both funny and serious, not to mention extremely hot! His other films coming out this year include Love, Rosie and The Riot Club, the two films I am most eagerly anticipating this year so I think Sam Claflin will be one to watch!
Catching Fire is a really great film that's actually even better than the first film in this trilogy. It was my favourite book in The Hunger Games book series and it will probably be my favourite in the film adaption too. The plot is a lot more intricate in this instalment with many twists and turns that keep you on your toes. Whether or not you've read the books, this is a must see film, though I would highly recommend watching the first film first so that you truly understand what they are fighting for in part two. This film is very long, lasting almost two and a half hours, but at no point during that time did I feel bored in the slightest. Time passed very quickly and before long the credits were rolling and I still wanted more! Speaking of the ending, Catching Fire ends on a massive cliffhanger so you absolutely must see it before watching the next instalment Mockingjay which comes out in November 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.
on 11 May 2014
Catching Fire is undoubtably one of the most shocking, wonderful, exciting, emotional, action-packed, phenomenal and epic movie of the past few years. Although overlooked due to its 'teen appeal' the sensational talent of Jennifer Lawrence gave a performance greater than all her others, as did the late, Academy-Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman and the rest of the cast. Francis Lawrence's vision is a new and intriguing one that only builds on the world created by Suzanne Collins and Gary Ross. Although this sequel lacked the unbeatable intimacy of The Hunger Games - it still had heart and the script (which is an improvement on the first) was simply incredible. The visual effects in THAT arena, the heart-breaking deaths and speeches, the gentle rebellious acts and the unpredictable finale all make this a feat of utter enjoyment and one that deserves even more praise than it has received,
Catching Fire is an outstanding feature that so elegantly covers such dark but crucial themes that it is unnatural not to fall in love with it. Bring on the sequels. (Read the books also)