Reviews of Movies, TV shows & metro Detroit Restaurants

Short movie & TV show reviews and metro Detroit restaurant reviews

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Movie Review: "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" (2013)

I read the “Hunger Games” books after watching the first movie, which was a movie I found to be very interesting & intriguing. I really liked the books, with the 2nd book being my favorite. That second book is “Catching Fire” and the movie (directed by Francis Lawrence & starring the amazing Jennifer Lawrence) did not disappoint me. As is the case with blockbusters that I really want to see, I saw this at the IMAX. It wasn’t in 3D though, which was not a big deal as this type of movie doesn’t need the 3D treatment.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” picks up sometime after “The Hunger Games” in which Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) & Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) won said games as “star-crossed” lovers from District 12, the first time a couple won the games. If you have been on another planet for the last couple of year…The Hunger Games are yearly staged fights to the death by children in the 12 districts of the country of Panem (the U.S.) as punishment for the rebellion against the current government (see my review of “The Hunger Games”).

Anyway…Katniss & Peeta are about to go on their victory tour of all 12 districts. Katniss is still trying to sort out her feelings for her best friend Gale Hawthorne (played by Liam Hemsworth) 
as well as Peeta. Gale is also subjected to the wrath of the Peacemakers while protecting fellow citizens of District 12 and this wreaks havoc with Katniss as well.

Before the victory tour, Katniss is visited by President Snow (played perfectly by Donald Sutherland) who is not happy with Katniss as her actions in the prior games have inspired rebellion amongst the districts. This rebellion is more evident once the victory tour begins. And President Snow does not like this.

It is time for the 75th Hunger Games which means it’s a “Quarter Quell” which is always something special. And this QQ is no different as the participants are to be the winners from previous games (1 man & 1 woman from each district). This means that the candidates from District 12 are Katniss, Peeta & Haymitch Abernathy (played excellently by Woody Harrelson). Katniss & Peeta wind up in the games again, this time competing against very experienced participants. These games are more intense & more challenging than the previous games and introduce us to some very intriguing & important characters (especially moving forward): Finnick Odair (a key role played by Sam Claflin), 
Johanna Mason (another key role played by Jena Malone), Mags (played by Lynn Cohen), Beetee (played by Jeffrey Wright) and Wiress (played by Amanda Plummer). And the ending to these games takes the country of Panem on the path to an entirely new destiny.

I really enjoyed this movie. It was more intense & just plain better than the first movie and I think this can be attributed to Francis Lawrence’s direction. The visual & special effects are well done but not over the top. The arena set up is an important part of the story and Lawrence did a great job depicting this. This movie takes the plot to a much deeper level which is exactly what is needed in telling this story. It also does a good job of developing these characters, especially those who are important to the story moving into the final 2 movies. I also believe that every actor was perfectly cast, even though I think Philip Seymour Hoffman's portrayal of new head gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee could have been a little better. He just seemed a little...boring. Hopefully this gets better in the next movie. Of course, Jennifer Lawrence is pretty much amazing in everything she does these days and this is no exception as she becomes Katniss & immerses herself in this complex character. I can't imagine another young actress playing this part any better. I also have to give a shout-out to the costume designers as they nailed the outlandish clothing, hairdos & makeup that the residents of the Capitol (and the competitors themselves) are wearing. The best evidence of this is what they've done with the District 12 chaperone Effie Trinket (played by Elizabeth Banks) and her crazy get-ups.

I'm definitely a fan of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”...8.0/10 stars

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