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[Review] The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The second installment to The Hunger Games trilogy is Catching Fire. We continue to follow Katniss Everdeen's life which has now evolved into that of a victor. In this movie, she encounters more challenges as she re-enters the arena for the 75th Hunger Games, or now known as the 3rd Quarter Quell. 

Photo credits: Lionsgate, Entertainment Weekly, as tagged.

The movie plot seems to focus more on Katniss Everdeen. Well, the movie is more faithful to the story than any other book-to-movie franchise I have seen. Since the book was from a first person perspective, it was more on Katniss there. The first movie, being in the third person perspective, was balanced in terms of character development. But the second one is not. 

The other actors performed excellently. I got to give two thumbs up for all of them. Every actor, main, supporting, or extra, were all superb. However, their performance were shadowed by Jennifer Lawrence’s ability in portraying Katniss. Her emotions were very convincing. There was one scene where she made me cry when she was saying ordinary words, the kind that you hear in every sad soap opera. But tears rolled down my eyes. Good job. 

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. Photo courtesy of Entertainment Weekly

Unlike in the book, Josh Hutcherson’s character Peeta was not given as much exposure. Peeta’s role as Katniss’s point of reference in a maddening world was quite crucial in the book. The movie didn't show that at all. More emphasis was given to Liam Hemsworth as Gale. I'm glad to see that Gale's role was true to the book and Liam portrayed him well. 

Now Finnick Odair! Okay, fans of Suzanne Collin's trilogy will definitely go gaga over this guy. Described as the ultimate and hottest heartthrob in Panem, Finnick is the type of man that could steal your heart in just a glance. But when I saw the teaser photos, I doubted if Sam Claflin would be a good fit.

Trust me, he is better on screen.
But when I saw him on screen, I saw THE Finnick Odair. Those pictures didn't do enough justice to the actor. Sam Claflin's gestures and speaking manners were very much how I imagined Finnick would be. 

Well, I have been skeptical as to whether Francis Lawrence can do better as Gary Ross. But in the end, I can't compare. Both directors are skilled and have their own way of presenting the story. Both movies have different camera angles and cinematography. Gary Ross laid down the foundation for the sequels. The visual effects of Panem, the Capitol, the gamemakers' room, and the districts are the same as they were on the first. The mood of the musical scores are still pretty much the same. But what I am very happy about is, the Francis Lawrence improved on everything! He polished the visual and sound effects. 

Disappointments? A few: Francis Lawrence put the most beautiful scenes in the trailers. Those scenes could've generated thrill, surprise, fear, or even joy to me in the movie, if I hadn't seen it in the previews. Peeta’s role could be further expanded upon. It felt as if the shift of character focus on Gale was to make the whole love triangle affair more prominent which is not really the case in The Trilogy. Now what is left for you to get excited? Finnick Odair. 

This awe-inspiring scene could've been left to the movie.
For Catching Fire, the aesthetics were lovely. The actors are excellent. The plot was very true to the book. However, I didn't feel the pounding of my heart, or the thrill and excitement I felt when I watched The Hunger Games. This might be true for someone like me who has read the book. And what was left was just to judge the presentation as to whether or not it followed the Suzanne Collin’s plot.. 

This movie is good in its own right. But my favorite movie is still The Hunger Games. I will never forget the emotions it generated in my heart: confusion, worry, desperation, to do everything to keep the one you love alive. However, when it comes to the book, I still prefer Catching Fire, as the book was able to play upon the nuances in emotions and bring them to life.

I would judge the movie to be a good one overall. Run time is 146 minutes. It is definitely worth your time and money. Watch this on IMAX for a much better movie experience. Now a lot of you might wonder why it is titled that way. Well the only way to find out is to read the book.


Ratings:

Plot: 4 stars
Visual Effects: 5 stars
Musical Score: 5 stars
Promotional Materials/Trailer:  5 stars
Actors: 5 stars
OVERALL: 4.5 stars


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Unknown said…
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