The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Reviews
The Directing in this film is very well done and very smooth. "Francis Lawrence" boosted the game from the previous film in the franchise, which was directed by "Gary Ross". The difference between the two directors is that "Francis Lawrence" is a visionary which clearly stands out in the film. "Jennifer Lawrence" once again did a fantastic job as Katniss Everdeen but unfortunately "Josh Hutcherson" didn't quiet reach the heights of the last film as Peeta Mellark and its hard to say but "Josh Hutcherson" kind of sucks in this film. "Sam Claflin" did a fantastic job playing Finnick Odair as well as "Jena Malon" Playing another secondary character Johanna Mason. Although "Jena Malons" Johanna Mason was easily a scene stealer. Which bring me to the characters, the secondary characters in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" are sensational and they have some enormous character development throughout the movie, as well as Katniss and Peeta.
The Cinematography in this film couldn't get better, which is another improvement over the first movie as there is no shaky cam. "James Newton Howards" composition of the Score was amazing with the standouts being, "The Tour", "A Quarter Quell", "Lets Start" and "Arena Crumbles." There are 29 songs in the score. Lastly The Special Effects in this film are very good in some parts but noticeable in other parts. Overall "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" improved enormously over its predecessor with better acting by "Jennifer Lawrence", smooth directing by "Francis Lawrence", great characters, good special effects and in my opinion the best film in the franchise. I give 2013's "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" a 10/10.
To much hunger Not enough games.
GREG: (Greg Smith, Founder of Agile Writers of Richmond, VA) We re introduced to Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), fresh from her surprise winning of the 74th Hunger Games. She and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) have been putting up a good front, acting like they re madly in love. But the truth is she s much more partial to Gayle. In a meeting with President Snow (Donald Sutherland), she is told to impress him and the rest of Panem or her family will pay. They are sent on a tour of Panem but it isn t going well. The masses look to Katniss as a symbol of hope that the government can be overthrown, which is not at all what President Snow wanted.
SCOTT: President Snow is aware that the tour is backfiring, and so he sets up a special Quarter Quell 75th anniversary game featuring all the games previous surviving winners. Conveniently, that means Katniss and Peeta get to reprise their roles as as participants in these deadly Quarter Quell games.
GREG: Jeff, Scott, Katniss Everdeen is one of my favorite heroes in recent movies. Aside from the fact that she s one of the few female heroes in modern literature, she s a strong hero, period. She stands up for people who otherwise cannot stand up for themselves. She defends and protects her friend Peeta, who is clearly a weaker player in the games. And she is skilled with a bow - her secret power. Plus she s endowed with several weaknesses herself - among them a lack of confidence that she constantly has to overcome.
SCOTT: Greg, I agree that Katniss is a strong female hero and that we do need more women heroes. But one minor criticism I have with Catching Fire is the same one I had with the original Hunger Games. While I applaud Katniss Everdeen s strong heroism, I don t really see any evidence that she has transformed herself in any meaningful way. In the first movie, she is a strong, resourceful, self-sacrificing character from the outset. Her heroism is admirable but it is always in place. Same thing with this second installment. The best heroes evolve or grow into their heroism. Don t get me wrong I love Katniss as a character. But I just don t see her undergoing any kind of heroic transformation -- at least not yet.
GREG: I have to disagree with both of you. True, this is a middle-movie and as such we aren t presented with as much of an arc as you might expect in a stand-alone installment. However, Katniss goes from wanting to run away to standing to fight. I do believe she has more growth ahead of her, but she is the classic reluctant hero. She doesn t want the adulation imparted upon her, but she takes up the cause and bears the burden.
SCOTT: Well, we ll just have to agree to disagree on Katniss. Overall, I enjoyed Catching Fire I admit, when I heard that a Hunger Games sequel was coming out, I was skeptical. The best way to ruin the reputation of a good movie is to follow it up with a stinky sequel, and most sequels are, by definition, putrid. But this one delivers.
GREG: One thing I liked was the development of Peeta s character. In the last film he was much the sidekick, needing rescuing more than contributing. In this installment he takes more command - even comforting Katniss. I liked this growth in his character. The movie does suffer from the fact that as a sequel called Hunger Games there HAS to be a hunger game scene. They re a little tied into that plot element. But I was happy with how it was handled. Another thing I liked was the jaded view this movie takes toward celebrity. How what we see on the big screen is nothing like what is going on behind the scenes. This was recently ominously portrayed when I saw Jennifer Lawrence in a talk show segment with a smiling snarky guest host. How very close it was to the scene with Katniss and Caesar Flickerman. Life truly imitates art in this case.
SCOTT: I agree with you both that Catching Fire owes its success to its strong ensemble cast, with the addition of Hoffman as Heavensbee an absolute delight to watch. Peeta s character development is most welcome, too, and the complicated nature of his relationship with Katniss unfolds in some surprising ways. As Jeff notes, the effects are fun to behold, especially the poison fog and the ape-like creatures with fangs reminiscent of my colleagues in my own psychology department.
GREG: Hunger Games: Catching Fire is one of the best action films of the year - fully worthy of standing up with the likes of Star Trek or Iron Man. I m looking forward to the next film (although disappointed that the producers decided to break the story into TWO more movies - clearly wringing all they can from the franchise). I give Catching Fire 4 out of 5 Reels for a great adventure and Katniss Everdeen 5 out of 5 Heroes for a classic heroic character. While Katniss doesn t transform much, she transforms those around her, and that is also the mark of a true hero. Movie: Hero:
SCOTT: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire works as a sequel because the first movie left room for a follow-up in which all the stakes can be taken to the next level. I m reminded of the first Rocky movie, which ends with Rocky losing the match after fighting the good fight. This loss allows space for a Rocky sequel in which he triumphs. The makers of the first !Hunger Games! allow similar space for a sequel to take everything to the next level all the prior winners of the games are thrown into a super competition, and the welfare of President Snow s entire social structure hangs in the balance. Very cool. I agree with Greg that the film earns 4 out of 5 Reels. But I beg to differ about Katniss as a hero. There is almost no character development in Katniss, which is not to say that she s a weak hero. Far from it. She s terrific but she s been terrific and self-sacrificing since the beginning of the first movie. I don t see signs of growth or evolution, at least not yet. So I very generously award her 3 out of 5 Heroes. Movie: Hero:
GREG: Jeff, thanks for joining us in the special review of Hunger Games: Catching Fire. .
This film had me engrossed all the way through but may have been a bit too long...the early politics stuff slowing the pace a little. Still, when things kicked off I found I was glued to the screen. Nice twist too, that I didn't see coming (still not read the books) Hopefully the run will continue with the final two films.