December 15, 2013
While Catching Fire shares some similarities to the first movie, it manages to be a stronger film due to some key differences. President Snow (Donald Sutherland) along with many of the other elites in the Capitol are extremely displeased with the outcome of the last Hunger Games due to the effect it has had on the outlying districts and will do just about anything to keep their power this time around. The overall tone of dread and chaos, strong performances, solid direction, and important underlying themes are what make Catching Fire worth watching.
The level of intensity is upped considerably from the previous film making it definitely more of an adult movie. The soundtrack is more resonant, the games are more deadly, and a sense of turmoil echoes throughout. There is also a nice evolution of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark’s (Josh Hutcherson) characters and their relationship. Even Woody Harrelson’s character, Haymitch, is a much stronger and poignant character than the seemingly lazy, drunkard tribute mentor he was in the first movie. The movie also rarely drags, is well filmed, and stays pretty entertaining throughout. It also features important underlying themes that one person really can make a difference and that when one person or group has too much power, it never lasts.
In the grand scheme of things, I am definitely impressed with Catching Fire and recommend it to anyone who enjoys well-made fantasy-adventure movies. I’m also looking forward to the next movie, but hope they don’t ruin a good thing with the final book split into two movies!