I’ve been waiting for what feels like ages for this film to come to the cinemas and finally it has. I’ll say it in one, I loved it! The film picks up straight after the first film and sees how Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are doing after surviving the first Hunger Games but it seems that all is not put to bed and President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is still anger for Katniss ‘pulling one over him and the capitol’. The film focuses on the two main characters as they have go around each Distract as part of the Victory tour – and see the families of those they defeated in the 74th Annual Hunger Games #awkward – then we see the 75th Annual Hunger Games and this time it’s the Quarter Quell – every 25 years the Hunger Games are different to the normal rules. And surprise surprise Katniss and Peeta find themselves being tributes again – it’s in the trailers so it isn’t a spoiler. The film watches them meet the other selected victors who must go back into the Quarter Quell – most of them are not happy – and then we see them battle it out to survive and hopefully live for another day.
Now I will start off with the my only bad point about the film, I wish we saw more of the actual Hunger Games – when the tributes are in the arena – because the concept of the arena is pretty amazing and it is annoying that you don’t see more of it – even if there already quite a few scenes. Some people may be disappointed with the way the second film in this franchise finishes but it is copying what happens in the book; I’d rather have a film that follows the book exactly than a film which is adapted from a book make up it’s own ending. This second film is really a way into the third book (the last two films) and how the rebellion against the Capitol and The Hunger Games begins. So if people are going to be annoyed about the end of the film, blame the book not the film. I liked it – I loved the whole concept of it and in particular the arena; the director was able to really create the arena and make how it affects the tributes really believable and realistic.
The cast is great – just as the first film was. After now reading the books, Lawrence portrays Katniss Everdeen perfectly – she is able to be scared of the Capitol and President Snow yet at the same time be strong and rebel against the system. Lawrence has to express a lot more deep emotions in this film – because of what happens before she enters the Hunger Games and she does an amazing job – such as the last few seconds before she enters The Hunger Games begins. Hutcherson is able to still be that kind and caring Peeta. Woody Harrelson is still that drunk mentor, although you see a different side to him – but he is still as wise as ever. Elizabeth Banks plays the weird upper-class-who-always-wears-crazy-yet-colourful-clothes Effy. And Stanley Tucci is the bizarre Hunger Games host Caesar Flickerman – who I wish had more scenes in the film, especially during the actual Hunger Games, there wasn’t any weird commentary from him – I loved it in the first film when Katniss visions him in the forest after she is stung.
But there are two actors/characters that I want to address. First is the District 4 male tribute Finnick Odair played by Sam Clafin. At first when I heard Clafin had got the role I wasn’t too excited about it – Odair is a cocky character yet at the same time he is kind and loving. For some reason after hearing the news I really wished Garrett Hedlund (from Tron: Legacy) played him. However, I have to say Odair was really good. But the character who I loved the most was the crazy yet rebellious female tribute District 7 Johanna Mason played by Jenna Malone.
Johanna is the only character who tells it how it is and strongly complains about going back to the Hunger Games and doesn’t care if people hate her for it. Johanna even says in her interview with Caesar that she won the Hunger Games meaning she would never had to do it again and yet she was here and then starts swearing – the funny thing is that the film BEEPS out the swearing which I found funny as they made it as though it was an actual TV show. Malone plays Johanna exactly how I expected, fun, daring and very rebellious. One of my favourite scenes – and definitely the funniest scene (similar to the book) is when Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch first speak to Johanna in the elevator or more Johanna does the talking whilst undressing herself – the faces Haymitch and Peeta were giving and Katniss’ face was hilarious – Katniss looked so pissed off but it was hilarious. I definitely would have reacted like Peeta. Overall, the cast is great, ever character has their own reason for being good. On the other hand, along with the more scenes in the actual Hunger Games I wish there were scenes that showed more of the Careers (tributes from District 1 and 2) because they are the ones Katniss and Peeta have to look out for and yet you hardly see them.
In short, the film is great for the same reasons as the first; it tests how we as humans can live with all the horrible things that happen around us and makes us wonder about our freedom of expression and what is ethically right and wrong. The cast/chracters are great, the storyline follows the book, which is amazing, the and overall is a great sequel to the first film that introduces to us how their world will soon be different; bring on the next film…soon….please….no seriously bring it to the cinemas soon.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: 8.2/10