At the Movies - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Review

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen (right), Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark (left) and Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket.
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen (right), Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark (left) and Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket.
0
Have your say

Our favourite bowwielding heroine Katniss Everdeen is back with one hell of a bang.

Our favourite bowwielding heroine Katniss Everdeen is back with one hell of a bang.

This image released by Lionsgate shows Donald Sutherland as President Snow in a scene from "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (AP Photo/Lionsgate, Murray Close) ORG XMIT: NYET604

This image released by Lionsgate shows Donald Sutherland as President Snow in a scene from "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (AP Photo/Lionsgate, Murray Close) ORG XMIT: NYET604

‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ is much more dark and meaty than the previous film and Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as contemporary cinema’s favourite female assassin is fantastic.

The first movie, ‘The Hunger Games’, was received with mixed reviews last year but ‘Catching Fire’ is without question a much more interesting, better written and altogether more enjoyable movie.

The Hunger Games is set in the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem in North America.

The Capitol, which is the country’s power base both economically and politically, dictates what happens in all 12 of the Panem’s districts.

Years before the formation of Panem the peoples of the different districts revolted against the Capitol. The Capit0l quashed the revolution and as a reminder of their strength they randomly choose a male and female from each district every year to take part in the Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games sees competitors fight to death and the contest is only over when 23 are dead and one is left standing.

After winning and surviving the last Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence - ‘Silver Linings Playbook’) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson - ‘The Kids Are All Right’) are maintaining their romantic facade with mixed emotion.

What happens Katniss and Peeta is a bit like what happens in real life when a so-called personality wins a reality television programme; they are shifted around Panem and instructed to tow the line emerging from the Capitol.

Katniss and Peeta visit the different districts to empathise with the families of those who lost loved ones in the Hunger Games but one by one each district descends into disquiet and the Capitol starts to believe that another revolt could be on the cards.

The ruler of the Capitol is President Snow (Donald Sutherland - ‘Don’t Look Now’ and ‘Kelly’s Heroes’) and soon after realising the power held by both Katniss and Peeta he sets out do all that he can to silence them.

As you’d expect, President Snow works out a way to get Katniss back into the Hunger Games arena but his scheming doesn’t go to plan and the film finishes with the most tantalising of cliff-hangers.

The first film, whilst entertaining, is nowhere near as edgy and as intriguing as ‘Catching Fire’.

The film is perfectly paced and balanced. Characters some may have found irksome in the first film develop brilliantly in ‘Catching Fire’.

If I was to have one criticism of ‘Catching Fire’ it’s the decision to re-cast Lenny ‘my electric guitar would be more convincing as a human being than me’ Kravitz.

Kravitz is so devoid of facial expression that he has the same look on his face when both happy and when being beaten to within an inch of his life.

The instalment of new director Lawrence was the perfect chance to jettison Kravitz into acting obscurity but not so, -‘Catching Fire’ allows him to inflict his awfulness again.

‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ is currently showing at the Brunswick Moviebowl. For full listings visit www.brunswickmoviebowl.com or telephone 02871 371 999

VERDICT: 4/5 - It’s a really strong follow- up to the first film and replacing director Gary Ross with Francis Lawrence has paid off.

The writing by Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt is top-class and characters from the first film that some may have found irksome are explored and developed in great depth.

The film is somewhat let down by average special effects and Lenny Kravitz should not be allowed near an acting role ever again.