Monday, November 25, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review

Reviewing HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE which stars Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutchinson, Woody Harrelson and a whole lot more. Honestly, the cast grew exponentially here.  That alone is a testament to how a better movie this is compared to the first one (which wasn't so bad if I can say so myself). 

Spoilers abound so read with caution if you haven't seen the movie or read the book by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire definitely caught fire for a lot of changes. Thematically, the shape and scope grows larger. Hunger Games focused on an oblique social commentary about the rich and the poor and the power of media. There's a weird love story that's underdeveloped too. This time as that classic Beatles' song goes "You say you want a revolution". Theme shifts from social commentary to a slow and steady thread on revolutionary tales what with lead Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) igniting people's animosity and loathing on the current Panem government.

I love the casting for this new movie as much as the improvement on the original cast. Lawrence and Hutchinson has grown comfortably into the roles of Katniss and Peeta respectively. You can feel the affection and the awkwardness with every scene they're in. A particularly 'kilig' or sweet moment here that hammers down the point was the beach scene where the two officially seal the deal before their team enact their plan to reach the lightning tree. 

Even guys like Haymitch and Gale get more meat in terms of characterization. And let's not forget some of the new guys, the new victors that appear in Catching Fire like Finnick Odair and Johanna Mason. Boy those guys were pretty interesting in a visual and character-driven context. In fact, I'm vouching as early as now to have Sam Claflin to play Aquaman if ever Warner starts casting for Aquaman in the Justice League movie. Seriously, the guy was field testing Finnick for a bigger role in a Justice League movie. Other notables in terms of casting here are Cinna played once again by Lenny Kravitz and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee. Too bad for the former though. 

Visually, the movie just got a facelift. While Hunger Games showed people in studios and stadiums, Catching Fire increased it ten fold with bigger sets and grander widescreen shots. Even the parties went from big to huge. You do however feel that the dome/ arena where the quarter quell was held was smaller than expected.

I loved the costume. Effey's were easily one of the more 'out there' while the victors/ tributes' suits were effing awesome.

The final shot/ scene was also one of the more memorable second movie endings I've seen in recent years. I'd have to agree with what a friend stated, this was definitely the Empire Strikes Back to the franchise. Didn't miss a bit in delivering a true cliffhanger. 

Oh and if you didn't think I'm going to miss out on this - CATCHING FIRE still has similarities with Battle Royale 2. And I'm perfectly OK with it. 

This review is brought to us by Solaire resort. Please follow them on Facebook / Twitter and Instagram.

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