The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 12A
Being the bridging story that linked the fresh original with the explosive finale (which itself is split in two parts), Catching Fire has a tough gig. This second instalment has to work pretty damn hard to justify its existence, bar making a tonne of money, of course, and it does so by simply packing in a wealth of material.
A haunted Katniss (Lawrence) and Peeta (Hutcherson) fill out their post Games obligations by touring the districts with party-approved speeches. However, inspired by their flouting of the Games' rules, the districts bubble with dissention and in the hope of silencing the people, President Snow (Sutherland) plans to kill rebellious symbol Katniss off with a change to this year's Games: former winners will be pitted against each other in a much crueller game.
It's a sequel that's meatier than most, delving into character and expanding on the universe, but thankfully not in a Tron Legacy/Matrix Reloaded way. It's content to spend time laying the groundwork so by the time Round Two comes about, offering new perils in electrified invisible walls, poisonous fog and psychological tortures, there are shaky alliances and expected betrayals in the mix. While Katniss' allies and enemies this time around - Jeffery Wright, Jena Malone and Sam Clafin - can smack of underdeveloped sequel fodder, Phillip Seymour Hoffman turns up with a respectable hairstyle to add his class to the proceedings.
Catching Fire may have lots of material to offer, which will appeal to the fans who approach these adaptations with a checklist, but it does pack in so much more than it needs. A lot of time is devoted still to the X Factor/celebrity obsession parody of the parades and TV slots, but there's a sneaking feeling that it is half in love with the soulless tacky gaudiness of it all; it's telling that it is Katniss' stylist (Lenny Kravitz), not her mentor (Harrelson), who offers her the last words of encouragement before the Games begin. From time to time, it can get lost in itself with information that we know will be essential in future instalments but slow things down right here.
A bloodless and chaste actioner, Catching Fire might lack the original's freshness but there is still plenty here to be getting on with.
Review by Gavin Burke | 11:39 | Thursday 21st November 2013 | Movie Review
Looking so forward to this film!Posted 23:41 | Wed 20th Nov 2013
Really enjoyed this. Imho better than the first one. Kept me engaged the whole way through. Really good.Posted 14:36 | Sun 24th Nov 2013
Given the (imho) poor adaptation of the first book to film, I went in with average expectations, but this movie really surprised me. It's a very strong and well-crafted adaptation of the second book. Recommended.Posted 23:27 | Tue 26th Nov 2013
Such an awesome movie! FYI, I was able to watch the Hunger Games Catching Fire for free at moviesatyou dot com.Posted 04:33 | Thu 28th Nov 2013
If you liked the first movie you'll live this in my opinion it was much better :-)Posted 20:39 | Sun 1st Dec 2013
brill film!!Posted 15:21 | Thu 5th Dec 2013
3 1/2 stars for this tedious teen twaddle? The "acting" is epically bad-even proper actors hamming it is cringey. And don't even start me on the 1 dimensional mob. A sad reflection on modern teen pop "culture".Posted 09:00 | Thu 12th Dec 2013
Having not read the books, I was really surprised at how good this was. I thought Gary Ross did a superb job with the first film, and given Francis Lawrence is a hack with an appalling track record to date, I wasn't anticipating much from this, but I really enjoyed it. Granted, it's not as well directed as the first part, but its a seriously entertaining film which acts as a great set up for the finale. Philip Seymor Hoffman and Woody Harrelson were (predictably) superb, but Elizabeth Banks really stood out for me; she played the role so different to how she did in the first one.Posted 02:10 | Fri 13th Dec 2013
brillant movie keeps you interested all the time will watch again great acting and so real dont miss it guysPosted 21:44 | Wed 29th Jan 2014
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