Movie Review: Catching Fire

Jean-Paul’s Rating: 4/5 Stars

Bottom Line: A surprisingly enjoyable movie, much more so than the first.  Time went by quick for a 2+ hours movie.  There are still a few laughable but forgivable moments.

“Catching Fire” is the second movie in the “Hunger Games” series and it is far superior to the first.  Alas, the first movie came out before I started writing these reviews so I don’t recall exactly what was lacking, but what has stuck with me was a sense of “meh” with some admiration for the set designs and costuming.  “Catching Fire” does not disappoint in the latter.  Once again, the costuming is very interesting and the set design does not disappoint.

In a lot of ways, this is just a setup movie for the revolution that we all know is coming.  It’s the story of how Katniss goes from adored winner of the Hunger Games to revolutionary leader.  It’s a chess game between President Snow and Katniss but it’s also a game Katniss is not always entirely aware she’s playing or willing to play.  Jennifer Lawrence is highly effective at playing Katniss and Donald Sutherland gets the Machiavellian creepiness of Snow just right.

I don’t remember Jennifer Lawrence being nearly as captivating in the first movie.  Perhaps she’s grown that much as an actor in the ensuing years.  Donald Sutherland is Donald Sutherland and Woody Harrelson gives the most memorable character from the first film, Haymitch, another good go.  A surprise and welcome addition to the cast was Phillip Seymore Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, the games master who you are not quite sure what he’s up to.

Everything else in “Catching Fire” is just very effective filler.  The Games themselves are interesting but kind of dull, filled with silly plans and alliances that I’m sure make more sense in the books than when translated to the movie.  The end was a little confusing as the real alliances are revealed, but it was a great setup to the next two part movie “Mockingjay”.  I am actually looking forward to it.

2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Catching Fire

  1. Jaime

    The fatal flaw in most films based on a Novel is that the Producers assume you have read the novel. Catching Fire is especially guilty in not explaining any of the stuff that was cut out of the film, but still technically happened because it was in the book. Katniss did a lot of exposition for us in the novels in her head. As there was no voiceover in the movie, all of that exposition was missing. Since most of the setup work of introducing all of the characters was done in “Hunger Games”, no reintroduction is done, so your double screwed if you didn’t suffer through the first film. (Hunger Games actually is not that bad, it just as you said was Meh)

    As the first movie made a Bazillion dollars, they were able to increase the budget for this film and you can see the money spent on the screen. It was visually stunning and since I had read the book, I was able to follow along with the plot noting what was missing and what had changed. I think they could have done a better job on the big reveal at the end. It left me a little confused and had I not read the book I would have been more confused.

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  2. Pingback: Movie Review: Mockingjay Part 1 | A Little Rebellion

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