Second Opinion | The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
✔ Won't disappoint fans of the first film or fans of the novel
✔ The Games are bigger and better than before
✘ The action doesn't kick in until past the halfway mark
✘ Will be too many familiarities with first film for some audiences
Jennifer Lawrence makes her return as Katniss Everdeen in the widely anticipated sequel to 2012’s The Hunger Games, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
The second installment of the franchise based on the equally successful novels, follows the growingly complicated relationship between Katniss, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) as the major driving force behind the first half of the film. This is vital for the narrative to move forward, and plays a part in paving the way for the next installment, but it’s the second half of the film that the audience is waiting for.
There is a lot of build up to the games this time around, even more so than the first film, and while some audiences may get tired of waiting, the patient ones are rewarded with a phenomenal hour of poisonous fogs, man eating monkey’s and more narrative twists and turns than you can shake a stick at! It is obvious director Francis Lawrence (no relation to Jennifer) tried to make these games as different as possibly from what we saw in the first film, and while the formula to the games, with the spinning dress included, felt all too familiar, the new threats to the games were enough to keep things fresh. The freaky monkeys accompanied by the sickeningly poisonous fog offered enough thrilling action that the familiarities with the previous games, could be forgiven.
Something totally different from the first film though, is the other victors participating in the games. The reasoning behind these games was to bring together all of the past victors, and find the champion of champions. One thing I appreciated was that there was no repeat of the previous film, where the participants took to groups and searched for poor old Katniss like a group of bullies on the school yard. This time round Katniss has allies, or does she? This enigma keeps the audience on their toes because they’re waiting for one of the allies to betray her. Katniss and Peeta are joined by the charming Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) and the veteran of the pack, Mags (Lynn Cohen). I enjoyed Jeffrey Wright of the Bond franchise making an appearance, and offering brains over brawn as the intriguing Beetee.
However the most intriguing thing about Catching Fire, is the ending. Now don’t worry there are no spoilers to come, all I will say is that the clever cliff hanger will leave you in a spin, and wanting to see what comes next before the credits have even started rolling. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire packs a punch, and while at times there is a feeling that something is being held back, it is with good reason, because this second installment will leave you gasping in anticipation for what will be an incredible finale in Mocking-jay Part 1 and 2.