The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Does it Warrant the Hype?
Ever since Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen burst on the scene in the first Hunger Games movie last November, an eager audience has awaited the sequel. Catching Fire does not disappoint in bringing the book to life and staying true to the story by Suzanne Collins.
Much like the first installment, Catching Fire is an exceptionally accurate portrayal of the book. Here we see Katniss and Peeta back on the Hunger Games arena, fighting for their lives, this time with a group of past winners. However, as with everything in the Capital, there is more to these Games than meets the eye. A revolution is building and Katniss is unwittingly its figurehead.
The movie is fast-paced and provides lots of twists for those that have not read the books. Although it clocks in at two and a half hours, there is not one boring minute; whether its an action sequence or an emotional scene your attention will be firmly fixed to the screen.
Obviously, unlike the first movie, there is not much back story to provide, so we are immediately thrown into the plot. In some ways this is a bit hard to get used to, because there are some questions that arise and are not answered. It would have been nice, for example, to get more information on this growing revolution or the role that Katniss has played in it. Instead, there are only glimpses and guesses.
There is good reason to cut these scenes out, it is already a long movie and the lack of information creates a bit of mystery, but I did find myself wishing I had read the book and, in fact, picking it up shortly after finishing the movie.
The movie was impeccably cast, making the performances rock solid. Jennifer Lawrence has really stepped into her character and Katniss is even more vulnerable, real and heroic than before. Jenna Maloney is an excellent surprise; she plays her acidic, sarcastic and fearless Johanna with perfect pitch. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman is another great addition, though his role is fairly small.
It is always difficult to create a solid second installment in a trilogy because it does not have the novelty of the first film nor the climax of the last, but while The Hunger Games: Catching Fire did suffer from this a bit, there were plenty of redeeming qualities that made it well worth a trip to the theater.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is nothing short of an emotional roller coaster that leaves you cheering at every triumph, crying at every defeat, and begging to see more.
Characters and cast of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire include:
Peeta Mellark – Josh Hutcherson (Bridge to Terabithia, The Hunger Games, The Kids Are All Right, Epic, Red Dawn)
Katniss Everdeen – Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone, X-Men: First Class, Silver Linings Playbook, The Devil You Know, American Hustle, The Hunger Games)
Gale Hawthorne – Liam Hemsworth (Paranoia, The Hunger Games, The Expendables 2, Empire State, Knowing)
Marvel – Jack Quaid (The Hunger Games, Just 45 Minutes from Broadway)
Ripper – Taylor St. Clair (Jinx’d, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Evolution Creek)
Haymatch Abernathy – Woody Harrelson (Now You See Me, True Detective, Seven Psychopaths, No Country For Old Men, Transsiberian, Wag the Dog, Natural Born Killers)
Katniss’ Mother – Paula Malcomson (Ray Donovan, The Hunger Games, Sons of Anarchy, Deadwood, Tombstone, The Green Mile)
President Snow – Donald Sutherland (Pride & Prejudice, The Italian Job, Moby Dick, The Mechanic, Cold Mountain, Fallen, A Time to Kill, JFK, Backdraft, Ordinary People)
Effie Trinket – Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, The Next Three Days, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, The Lego Movie, Modern Family, Spider-Man 3, Seabiscuit)
Plutarch Heavensbee – Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Hunger Games, The Master, Doubt, Capote, Charlie Wilson’s War, A Late Quartet, Moneyball, Cold Mountain, 25th Hour, Red Dragon, Almost Famous, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Big Lebowski)
Caesar Flickerman – Stanley Tucci (Margin Call, Billy Bathgate, Murder One, The Devil Wears Prada, The Hunger Games)
Claudius Templesmith – Toby Jones (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Mist, Infamous, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Hunger Games, The Painted Veil)