After her stunt at the 74th Annual Hunger Games, Katniss is on President Snow’s blacklist and he’ll do anything to stop her from becoming an idol of rebellion. Even sent her back to the arena that has scarred her for life.
As if the first film didn’t do a great job at staying faithful to the book, the second installment is a marvel on its own merit. Cinematically, now in the hands of the very talented Francis Lawrence, it excels and is nothing short of epic. Panem comes out fleshier than ever in all its glory and its misery, making a dystopian future that is relevant and relatable to today’s audience.
Oscar winning Jennifer Lawrence is given much more material to work with and demonstrates a bigger emotional range than in any of her movies, wrenching our hearts like a wrecking ball. She has managed to embed Katniss to the core of her performance and after re-watching the first film, it becomes blatantly obvious how Katniss has developed and changed from the happenings of the first installment. Katniss is traumatised, but also stronger and it shows in every inch of Lawrence’s movements, in the tinniest flinch of her face.
Josh Hutcherson, as Peeta, demonstrates more of his excellence, yet is no comparison to his co-star. Liam Hemsworth, as Gale, is the least memorable of all the brilliant performances in this film. Elizabeth Banks, as Effie, progresses from the superfluous trap of her character from the first film and is reborn into an emotional being, perhaps the best example of Capitol’s oppression on its own people. Woody Harrelson, as Haymitch, is glorious once again, yet his scenes are limited as in the first film, along with Lenny Kravitz‘s Cinna. Sam Claflin, as hunky, yet sweetheart Finnick, proves a rising star with his amazing performance of the history-burdened Distric 4′s Victor. Jena Malone, as Johanna, brings a spark of humour and defiance in her portrayal of Distric 7′s Victor. And of course the most sensational performance comes from the enemy himself, Donald Sutherland as President Snow, as a man in power who’s seeing his world coming down by a 16 year-old girl’s actions. There are numerous other notable performances that didn’t fail to impress. Philip Seymour Hoffman as the new Gameskeeper, Plutarch Heavensbee, Lynn Cohen as sweet, old Mags, Amanda Plummer as Wiress, Jeffrey Wright as Beetee, the 75th Quarter Quell contestants are far more memorable than their predecessors, maybe because their presence is far more impactful in the story than the youth of the last Hunger Games. Willow Shields has also grown up and gives as a stronger Prim, giving us a preview of what’s to follow for her in the next installments.
Costume design shines once more in this film. With dresses from Alexander McQueen featured and original pieces created solely for the film by Trish Summerville and her team, they manage to bring the world of Katniss realization. Set designs by Alan Au magnificently reflect their book’s counterparts and impress with their grandiosity.
The soundtrack is also another reminder of this film wholesomeness with songs featured by popular singers who have achieved in instrumenting music that fits perfectly with this made up world. With songs from Coldplay, Sia, Christina Aguilera, Imagine Dragons, Ellie Goulding, Lorde, The Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men perhaps the most memorable and heart-warming song is Patti Smith‘s Capitol Letter with its simplistic lyrics, its enchanting music and Smith’s rusty voice.
My favourite scene from this film was the death of a tribute in the hands of Peeta, a scene which Francis Lawrence orchestrated brilliantly. Also a nice touch not included in the books, since they are solely from Katniss’s eyes, are the scenes with President Snow’s granddaughter, which accentuate the depth of the Katniss’s actions and the extent to which the rebellion is seeping into the hearts of the people.
Overall, the film lives up to its book and has perhaps the same amount of depth and work put into it as the best-selling trilogy. It is not simply recommended, but an absolute must-see before you die film.
Have you watched the film or read the book? Let me know what think.
Follow the link to preorder the dvd of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
Rhys out xXx