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 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).
on 30 July 2016
This film was satisfactorily gripping and exciting enough to want to watch the next installment with some eagerness.
Something of a world in itself, this adventure doesn't compete with some of the bigger sci-fi adventures but is still very watchable quite a few times over, combining clever special effects with fun ideas for props, as was the case with the proceeding films in this series.
I did take time to getting round to watching these films as my initial response to the hype was that they seemed a little...under-budgeted, production-wise, and also thought these films were coming under the umbrella of teenage chick-flick movies, but when I actually sat down to watch them for the first time, in the right order, the effects were fine, it was fun, and was just tipping into the bearable side of pretentious...by the time I got to this film I was very much into it all. One episode effortlessly flowed into the next.
This and the next film were probably the best of the four.
I found this second, more serious and much darker "Hunger Games" film, even BETTER than the first one. Below more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.
First let's say that this film sticks to the book very closely. Of course there is no way you can show during 145 minutes everything that a book contains (and therefore the characters of Bonnie and Twill among others are not shown), but I believe virtually everything important is included. And that is a precious thing.
All actors did great. Jennifer Lawrence who plays Katniss Everdeen is of course THE STAR of this film, but everybody around her performed also flawlessly.
The best performance is offered by Josh Hutcherson who plays Peeta Mellark, a young boy madly in love with Katniss and linked to her in most complex ways since a long time. This role is the most difficult in all film as Peeta is a most complicated character: a baker's son, weaker than many of other young males around and definitely not born to be any kind of hero he nevertheless soldiers on through all the hardships and relentlessly pursues the woman of his life through all the nine circles of hell - and beyond...
Much more attractive, stronger and very manly Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) is by comparison a little bit easier to play, but the events put him also in a position not easy at all... Which gives a quite interesting love triangle.
Young actors who play new characters of Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) and Johanna Mason (Jena Malone) were very well selected. He is an extremely handsome and very vain young hunk - with brains and a plan. She is not very appealing physically, but she got enough character, potty mouth and (bad)attitude to spread amongst a battalion of more average girls - and still have enough for her own needs...)))
Older actors give also a great show and we have a lot of them. Donald Sutherland is of course the greatest of them and we all know how much he enjoys playing characters which are odd and also sometimes evil - and here he gives us a great show portraying the aged supreme master of Panem, president Coriolanus Snow, a man both odd AND evil... Haymitch has more screen time in this film than in the previous one and Woody Harrelson plays him splendidly - and that is a huge compliment coming from me as I usually don't like this actor. At all.
Effie Trinket - a really splendid and so appropriate last name by the way - also appears more in this film. We come therefore to know her as a person who is simultaneously grievously annoying, heavily ridiculous, enragingly insufferable and beautifully pathetic - and Elizabeth Banks plays her just like it should be done. Lenny Kravitz offers a surprisingly good and serious performance as Cinna. Stanley Tucci is of course a treasure as Caesar Flickerman, a TV show host and great regime propagandist whom we want to strangle from the second he appears on the screen...))) And then there is Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, the Head Gamemaker of 75th Hunger Games, successor of the most unfortunate Seneca Crane who "choose to stop breathing" in the previous film...
In smaller but important roles we have Amanda Plummer (Honey Bunny from "Pulp Fiction") as Wiress and Lynn Cohen (Ukrainian baby sitter Magda in "Sex and the city") as Mags. And also Patrick St. Esprit as Head Peacekeeper Romulus Thread. Honestly, as dissuasion and pacification tools go, the face of this guy alone is worth a whole Panzer division - and then there is still all the rest of him...
A digression here for "Star Wars" fanboys and firearms maniacs. First, it was a great idea (and I think also a tribute to Star Wars) both in book and the film to follow George Lucas and dress the bad guys in white...))) Also, firearms maniacs will appreciate the Peacemakers being armed with Belgian 5,7 mm FNP90, an indeed very futuristic looking weapon, but actually in service since 1990 and presently used by more than 40 countries. This weapon, which has a rate of fire so high that it is possible to cut a man in half with a short burst, was actually already used by the security troops of one bloodthirsty tyrant, overthrown and killed by insurgents - Muammar Gaddafi... End of digression for "Star Wars" fanboys and firearms maniacs.
Willow Shields who plays Primrose Everdeen appears only briefly and her character has in fact only one line to say - but when she says it, this is a GREAT moment! And then there is little Erika Bierman, barely 12 years old (but looking 9), who plays president's Snow granddaughter, a lovely little thing who speaks only like twice in this film, every time hurting and scaring her dear Grandpa worse than ten thousands armed rebels could ever do...)))
Although not appearing as a character, in this film there is also Rue, the cute little girl from District 11. As we know she was killed in the previous games - but her picture appears in a couple of moments in this film and every time it occurs it is an indictment of the Capitol, stronger than a 10 000 words accusation act...
The Arena built for those very special 75th Hunger Games is a really hellish place. Suzan Collins must be quite a kinky gal for inventing such a perversely twisted tool of torture and murder. The whole games are therefore a pretty dramatic thing, albeit ultimately not as dramatic as those portrayed in the previous film (guess we are now more used to the whole thing).
But the reason why I believe this film is SUPERIOR to the previous one resides in all parts which take place BEFORE the games themselves - and they constitute more than half of the film. The feeling of omnipresent TERROR all around the Panem is portrayed very well indeed - and all those who, like me, once lived under an authoritarian repressive regime (I grew up in communist Poland) will fully appreciate it.
The mixture of oppression, repression, censorship, shortage of everything (when in the same time regime's nomenklatura lives in opulence), black market as a coping mechanism, the violence of little local tyrants serving the regime, the feeling of powerlessness - it is all there. And then come the whispers of something going on, then some official flags are ripped off at night, then appears the first writing on the wall, the first stone is thrown against a patrolling police car, first signs of rebellion appear and with them HOPE - but also the first dead... It is all there.
The second "Hunger Games" is therefore for my personal taste a darker, more serious (sometimes even sinister) treat, very usefully reminding especially the younger viewers what exactly an oppressive regime LOOKS and FEELS like and how difficult and COSTLY it is to regain the freedom once it was lost - or even worse forfeited... And this part of the film definitely overshadows the adventure/action scenes and any kind of love triangle.
The very LAST scene, not involving any actors but just some graphics, is simply GREAT and so full of promise for the next film that I simply cannot wait to see it - and see it I will, as surely as I will buy this one on Blu-ray, as soon as it is available. Definitely. Catch this film as long as it is still playing in theaters - it is worth it. Enjoy!
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.
on 30 November 2013
As it turns out the Hunger Games was not berry good for the empire as Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has inspired hope and rebellion. Instead of just killing her, they have changed the rules ( see Jonathan "Roller Ball") and devised a new Hunger Game of past contestants. The game is stacked against her as contestants must battle the elements more than each other.
The beginning of the film lacks the crazy action of the second half, but it is theme driven for the true sci-fi fan. Katniss is a hero, but as she says, "By killing people." In those 3 simple words. Katniss who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, conveys the perplexity of war heroes with a moral conscience. The film also touches on the power of celebrity as they "never get off this train: and the trouble they cause if the don't "stick to the script." The culture is set up similar to the Roman Empire where bread and circus' s keep the masses in check and where Romans "Eat to puke and puke to eat." Katniss, is a hero because her compassion expresses in all of us the person we want to be. As such it is easy for her to gain allies.
The film contains all the elements of an ideal cult classic complete with theme, special effects, drama, top stars, and a touch of light humor.
I do not recommend watching this film if you haven't seen the first one (or read the books) as it doesn't recap.
on 7 August 2015
Fantastic follow-up to 'the Hunger Games.'
The attaction picks up 6 months after the games have ended and shows how life has changed for Katnis and Peeta.
Their actions in the games have not gone un-noticed by President Snow; revolution is in the air. I will not say any more
but great film and adaptation of the book. The deleted scenes are great and in my veiw should have been kept in.
The 2 disc version is a must for fans as it is not only full of interviews, but also how the book has been adapted.
The 2 disc version is also great for those interested in film making as that's covered too.
I highly recommend buying the 2 disc version, its well worth it for only a little bit more in cost.
on 16 January 2016
I watched them on Amazon Video - that service was good. The film itself was alright, though now I've seen 3 of the 4 (still to see the most recent) I feel that they were almost like extended TV episodes, with not much 'happening' (either emotionally or physically) in the films as separate entities - a good way to make me want to watch the next one, simply to reach some kind of crescendo, as on the whole, I feel they fall rather flat. However, that said, I like the idea, the fantastical elements, the uprising against oppression, the strong female.
on 11 July 2016
My 9 year old boy watched the first film whilst away but fell asleep before the end.
Having bought the first in the series in order that he could watch it till the end, I then had to buy part two as he enjoyed the first so much.
This was a bargain, arrived quickly and my son enjoyed it so much he wanted to watch the third installment back to back.
I have no problem recommending this as a family film. Even our 5 year old enjoyed it.
on 2 October 2015
I didn't think much of the first film and this is more of the same. It doesn't really add anything or progress in a meaningful way. The two could happily be squished together into one film and the pace and storyline would flow far better. It hasn't inspired me to watch the last one (also split into two films?).