Movie review: The Hunger Games’ Catching Fire

By on December 19, 2013

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By: Elodie Mertz

I recently watched Catching Fire, the second round of Katniss fighting the evil system of Panem and I absolutely enjoyed this movie.

This second Hunger Games movie puts us back in the world originally created by Suzanne Collins, author of the series. In the previous movie, Katniss and Peetah lighted the riot embers, almost committing suicide with poisonous berries rather than letting one of them perish. In this movie, on the order of President Corionalus Snow, they have to make a victory tour and convince Panem they’re happy and in love.

Despite the alternation between distraction and repression mounted by the governement, the rebellion grows in each district where it is violently repressed by zealous Peacekeepers. The despotic Capitol decide then to launch ‘Quarter Quell’ under the supervision of a new game-maker, Plutarque Heavensbee. The ‘ ultimate’ Hunger Games occur every 25 years and include previous victors, a male and a female, of each district. Peetah and Katniss are back in the arena facing new enemies and new ordeals, while the revolt expands.

Cathing Fire was two and a half hours long, and overall it was great entertainment.  This movie gives you this awesome feeling of being a kid again: you’re on the edge of your seat the entire time and you’re impressed with every detail of this film.

The rhythm of the movie is well managed. The first part is mainly about the political situation and the trial of strength with the President (beloved Mr. Bennet in Joe’s Wright Pride & Prejudice) and the power in place. And there, just when your attention could drop, the Quarter Quell begins. Once those modern gladiators are launched in the arena, it’s relentless for them and for the spectator. Ordeals succeed one another. Speaking about, just a warning that seeing this movie might change your opinion about Rafiki in the Lion’s King. Just like in the first movie you get paranoid about a weapon flying from an unseen spot of the jungle or a so-called friend turning into an enemy.

Capitol Couture has just been relaunched with a whole new theme A strength of the movie? Nothing is transparent ; you’re never quite sure about the any of the character’s level of integrity, and Katniss herself isn’t an exception. You’re never certain how much she loves Peetah or not. You always wonder if she acts for personal and selfish reasons – which is fair – or if she’s exploring her interests further and trying to start something bigger. That makes her a real character. Moreover, it’s good seeing a woman kicking ass and being a leader, taking her place in the male tradition of heroes and fighters. Despite that, I’d like some male characters to assert themselves. Peetah is attaching but I hope he’ll become more proactive in the future.

The cast is essentially the same as in the first movie. Jennifer Lawrence is more than ever ruling it and looking gorgeous. Her make-up and outfits are stunning, especially her egyptian-like look, when Katniss attends a President’s demagogic party. The costume designer, Trish Summerville even started a Catching Fire collection name Capitol Couture, which to my disappointment doesn’t include the half pullover Jennifer is wearing at the beginning of the movie.tumblr_m0qokjRCDc1r8c567o1_400

For the rest of the cast members, it was entertaining to see Stanley Tucci again playing Caeser Flickerman, the official presenter of Panem’s shows. His crazy robotic and dazzling laugh clashing with his weirdly tanned skin and the horror of the situation is amazing. A new and surprising face in the cast is Philip Seymour Hoffman, seen in Truman Capote, as the new Hunger Games director.

I’ll be honest : the movie isn’t without flaws. Some could argue it’s too long – although others could say you can’t get enough when you like it. Also, some special effects like  Katniss’ dress literally catching on fire isn’t very convincing… but I can live with that.

I’m now looking forward to watching the Mockingjay, the promising sequel of Catching Fire.

 

 

 

 

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