The long-anticipated Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, has finally arrived, and to generous – and rightfully so – reactions.
The film, which is an adaptation of the second book of a three-part series, features Katniss Everdeen (Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), the two winners of the 74th Panem Hunger Games, during the aftermath of the first movie’s events. During the first half of the film, Katniss and Peeta struggle with being haunted by memories of the events, and Katniss has the added stress of avoiding romance with both Peeta and her best friend, Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth).
This time, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) feels threatened by the unprecedented outcome of the 74th Games and fears an uprising, so to reiterate his power, he forces Katniss and Peeta along with other winners from previous Games back into the arena to fight for life and the love of Panem’s people. While the series is popular for its young adult readership and its comparison to novels like Twilight, Catching Fire widely focuses on the socio-political “chinks in the armour” of a dystopian government, and not so much the romance, which for the most part, takes a backseat.
The film features a star-studded cast, including Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz and Stanley Tucci, who do an amazing job in their respective roles. Hutcherson shows off his acting chops strongly in most scenes, while Hemsworth gave a weak performance.
Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence gave herself the chance to shine bright. Lawrence ditches the quirky, funny-girl attitude for a more reserved, pained persona as Katniss Everdeen. Though she has been nominated for one Academy Award for Winter’s Bone in 2010 and won the Oscar for Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook in 2012, Lawrence’s portrayal of Katniss may be her best.
I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars.