The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The story picks up after Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark emerge as the victors of the games and find themselves on a publicity tour to promote how great the capital is and how privileged they are for their fortunes. Meanwhile, riots are breaking out in the districts and a new symbol of inspiration is inspiring revolution and getting people killed…

I love the storyline. This kind of concept (upper class has all the power, no middle class, and the super-poor) has been explored in other projects but I really like the way the mythology of this one has been established, it has unique details. The design and conceptualization in terms of the visual design is also stylistic and smart. A good example are the “peacekeeper” uniforms which look like a cross between Star Wars Star Trooper uniforms and something you’d see in a fashion show (think about the wardrobe of the people that live in the capital of Panem live and you’ll get my point). Another point is the contrast between the starkness of the districts where people are starving and the decadence of the capital where they gorge themselves and drink a liquid which makes them vomit to make room for eating even more. They’re borrowing from the greeks a bit here but this modern application of the idea is nicely implemented.

Gary Ross does a great job as a director, the presentation of the film is epic (the stadium is amazing!) and the actors all turn in passionate, emotional performances. Everyone in the production brought their A-game to this film, the small and large details reflect that. Jennifer Lawrence returns in the lead role along with Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. Elizabeth Banks as Effie is fun to watch, Donald Sutherland delivers the President Snow character in a menacing way once again. The lineup includes Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Amanda Plummer, Sam Claflin, and Jena Malone. Excellent cast all the way around…

I admit that I haven’t read the books the films are based on but seeing these films makes me want to read them which says a lot. From what I heard the fans of the books dig the movies. Regardless, if you liked the first film, I would highly recommend the second. The next installment comes out in a couple weeks as I type this, I intend to catch that one on the big screen. My only regret with watching Catching Fire is that I missed it in the theater and caught it on Netflix.

reviewed by Sean McKnight