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I was lucky enough to be able to watch the movie one week early, since
it opened here in Brazil one week before the release in the US, and I
must tell you this fellow The Hunger Games fans, even though my English
is not even that good: Catching Fire is a GREAT experience, and one
that improves over the first film in nearly every possible level.
When I first read the books, I thought that they were not only incredibly addicting and fun, but also with an important message for the youngsters (and every other person, age is not important) who read it, and that made it different from some of the other uninteresting YA books around. I really liked the trilogy, and when I watched the first adaptation, I was disappointed with some aspects and routes they went with it. It was not an horrible movie, at all, but it was not very faithful to the book and lacked the impact I found in the novel.
With that in mind, I kept my excitement in close watch with Catching Fire and went expecting a good movie and nothing more. I was welcomed with an excellent surprise: the movie followed the events of the novel whenever possible and brilliantly so, while managing to keep me on the edge of my seat, even though I knew what was going to happen the entire time.
I won't go into details about the plot of the movie, some fellow reviewers already did it probably better than I'll ever do and the chances you're familiar with it are high. So I'll go right into the review and my opinions on the picture.
Francis Lawrence was nothing short of an excellent choice for the director's chair: gone are the shaky camera action (one of my major problems with the first film) and welcome are thrilling and pumping action scenes that expertly convey the tension and ferocity of the moment. He managed to keep the violence and shock without ever crossing the line, and whoever read the books know how important this is; it's part of the plot, of the criticism and one of the main elements that make the whole point of the film. He keeps you interested and invested in the story even when nothing bombastic is happening, and that is a great achievement, something that really sets this sequel apart.
But Francis is not alone on making this movie special. His young and talented cast, lead by the always amazing Jennifer Lawrence, is ferocious and eager to invest in their characters, making you an ally (or an enemy) while watching everything unfold. Lawrence shows us again why she was the perfect choice to play the now iconic Katniss Everdeen: she makes you root for this young, brave lady every single minute of the struggle; with her sad, hopeless stare that pierces your soul to her ability to convey admirable strength when everything seems to be out of reach are phenomenal and she deserves the praise she gets.
The rest of the cast is uniformly good, but I have to highlight Jena Malone, who plays the explosive Johanna: her presence makes the screen on fire whenever she's in, mixing the perfect amount of attitude and humor. A particular scene involving an elevator and a fancy dress is at the same time hilarious and shocking, just like her character. Donald Sutherland also shines as the menacing president Snow, in a restrained performance that doesn't need too many words spoken to make you think twice on how dangerous he is.
The set pieces are also vastly improved upon: bigger, more ambitious and work perfectly in sync with the action to make for some really unforgettable moments. The arena looks beautiful and foreboding, hiding it's dangers behind the shining green water. So does the bizarre Capitol and the Districts, full of sadness and fear, two dichotomies in every aspect.
But what I really liked about the movie was that they didn't shy away from the political aspects from the novel and conveyed the despair and oppression imposed by the Capitol over the rest of Panem. It makes you think that all of this is happening around the world, in one way or another, maybe masquerade, but it is. It's sad that many teenagers are only in this ride for the hot action and beautiful people (some screaming girls in the movie theater I went only confirm this. They were not the majority, it was packed and most people were also extremely annoyed by it too - every time Finnick appeared it was a screaming hell). It has so much more to offer.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire not only improves vastly upon it's predecessor: it's a great cinematic experience by itself, touching on important topics about the modern day society without losing it's thrilling core. It's not perfect, but what it does right it goes right into the bullseye. Don't let the hype or the teen fury on this fool you: it is entertainment at it's best.
The odds are definitely in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire favor in
terms of box office and reception. I am a huge fan of the book and when
I heard about the movie I just got excited as anyone could possibly
get. Of course I still had some doubt. Every time I heard someone say
it would be the "next Twilight" my heart would drop because Twilight is
by far not anywhere close to the standard set by The Hunger Games:
Catching Fire. However, I went into the movie with an open mind and was
absolutely blown away.
The cast that were chosen for the film was perfect. Jennifer Lawrence played Katniss with exceptional strength and even grace that made me completely buy her as being Katniss and could not imagine anyone else as the strong heroine. Woody Harrelson portrayed Haymitch with a respect for the character in terms of how the character truly feels about the Capitol and showing him as a man made bitter by his life, which in my opinion was pretty much what Haymitch was. And Donald Sutherland as the vicious President Snow was absolutely terrifying in the role. He brought on the same aura of malice and hatred that the character was easily able to create in the books. This is just the first movie and I cannot wait to see what else he brings to the table in future installments. Now I could go on and on about how superb the cast was because it is true. Everyone brought something great to the table but it was Jennifer Lawrence's portrayal of Katniss that held the movie very high up. The action and violence was also pretty gruesome and done just right so that it didn't go overboard but was faithful enough to the book that the violence wasn't undermined. The outcome of having Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games) work with director Gary Ross to write the script for the film version was probably one of the best things to happen for this film. It is superb filmmaking at it's finest.
In closing, The Hunger Games is a faithful film adaptation to a great book that is superbly written, performed, and directed to create what will probably be one of the best films of the year. The action and suspense will have you on the edge of your seat throughout the film as well as surprise those of you who have read the books. This film is about two-and-a-half hours long but the pacing matches that of the book so that when it's over you'll feel like its only been an hour-and-a-half. It never drags on but is always on the move to something more exciting than the one before. This film will stay with you for years to come and will make you think a little more about what direction our society is going in.
If you love Suzanne Collins, you know what to expect. Her novels are
brutal, poetic, tragic, and artistic, with splashes of very grim humor.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is clearly Collins's style, and I loved
every second of it, from the cinematography (every shot is gorgeous and
creative) to the story, which blends Shakespearean tragedy, murderous
love, Gothic horror, and layered character drama. The characters are
complex and there is plenty of moral ambiguity to go around. Even the
most sociopathic character evokes sympathy. The direction is restrained
and the performances are nuanced - like CHILDREN OF MEN, there are too
many subtleties to take in on the first viewing. Suzanne Collins is an
intelligent, bold, consistently surprising novelist. It's unpredictable
- scenes go from brutal and heart-wrenching to laugh-out-loud hilarious
in an instant. This is closer to the classic scifi's of yesteryear than
any modern-day CGI-fest as far as being over-the-top brilliant, and
it's incredibly rich, thought-provoking, and rewarding.
If you like beautifully told dystopian stories (CHILDREN OF MEN) or are a fan of Suzanne Collins, seeing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire should be obvious. Easily one of the best films of 2013.
I first want to say that if you are a fan of the books, you will NOT be
disappointed. Compared to the first movie adaption, this one soars,
leaving the other movie to die out in the hot desert sun.
I had re-read the book a day before I saw it and so I could see what the critical changes were. I would know every fine detail they let out. I first have to let you know that every book-to-movie adaption can't have 100% of the book in their. Plus, the new director, Francis Lawrence, had to clean up the mistakes the first director left out. Another thing, all the very important and even some parts you might think Hollywood would oversee is stitched together.
This has to be the BEST book-to-movie adaption I have ever seen. The visuals, for one, is spectacular. $140 million budget was not wasted, that's for sure! The director packed every little intricate piece possible to make it THE BEST experience us fans could have.
The acting was phenomenal. Katniss is a lot more lively now, because Jennifer Lawrence finally understood her character. The whole cast, including Sam and Josh, were amazing. Even the actress who played Johanna Mason, was FUNNY!
The music, however, copied the first, because I bought the first soundtrack, so I know every little musical detail. They must have used the same music and added a few more. That was sad. But, it did fit with the scene.
The action and suspense will never leave you, as the ending is a cliff hanger, holding on for dear life! (Hunger Games book fans: you won't be disappointed with the ending)
Without a shadow of a doubt, this movie, Catching Fire, really does catch fire and immerses the audience in the Hunger Games. I was truly speechless after the film because it was just so beautiful and satisfying. You don't want to miss the best film of the year, and possibly the highest grossing film of all time!!!
Some stories are built on passion, some on courage and some on hope.
Very rarely do you come across a love story that encompasses itself
around a life-or-death contest. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
introduces us to the world of Katniss Everdeen, who mirrors the most
innocent of sentiments which lie locked up within the depths of our
heart. She wins us over in the first frame, because she is one among
us. It is not her heroism which makes her a heroine, but her
vulnerability which makes her endear-able. The audience falls in love
with Katniss because she is scared of the unknown just like us. What
makes her a hero is her conviction and spirit, which makes her embark
on a wide-spread journey for the search of love and faith. It is
somewhere in that journey, that you no longer root for Jennifer
Lawrence and her victory, but for Katniss and her belief, which makes
The The Hunger Games: Catching Fire a winner right from the opening
Her name is Katniss, Katniss Everdeen. Brought up in an unforgiving society, Katniss battles the alternate evils of racial profile and scornful peers with equal focus, trying to make sense of the world that burns homes, bullies people at school and make a false show of sympathy. She goes by the doctrine of the Mockingjay, which teaches her that there are two classes of people in the world, those who are good and would offer a lollipop and those who are bad and would point a sharp stick. There is no caste, creed or religion but just people who shape the world. It is this philosophy which Katniss carries forward in her love and faith, painting her journey in a collage of alternate light and dark emotions, shadow plays of human nature which guides her to the world or perhaps, guides the world towards her.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is appreciable because of its brilliance, acceptable for its nobility and unquestionable in its integrity. Suzanne Collins weaves in a tale of love, faith, strength and humanity within a cinematic frame of timeless minutes pulling out a riveting and compelling human drama of innocence poised against the system, through the filtered sensibilities of a patient suffering from the effects of unjust society, one who cannot understand the world, but love it enough to change it. The keynotes of each frame, drenched with subtle social comments and complex emotional undertones makes the movie an amalgamation of the colors of hope and persistence, with layered textures of unspoken bonds. With Katniss Everdeen, Collins succeeds in bringing the system on trial through the eyes of one who cannot bias herself on any ideology, making her emotions pure and though provoking, which touches the innermost chords of the heart, moistening the eyes and serenading the senses.
The story is filled with emotional subtexts which move at breakneck speed throughout the length of the film, constantly switching gears between the palettes of emotions. The dialogs exude class and confidence holding grip of the story yet laced with the finesse that allows for emotional drama combined with spiritual uprising, casting a dark satire on the entire system and its treatment of identities. The script penned by Collins is one of par excellence, allowing the audience to blend into Katniss through her smiles and tears, laugh in her joy and cringe with every blow dealt to her. The screenplay drops hypocritical moral ambitions to make scathingly relevant comments on modern outlook of the world, making it rise several notches above anything attempted in modern-day Hollywood.
In the end, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire becomes the experience it is because of Katniss and Peeta, essayed flawlessly by Lawrence and Hutcherson. Lawrence exudes the spirit of Katniss in every breath and pulse of the film, putting in a performance that is beyond any benchmark of excellence. She controls every single emotional nerve of the audience with vacant stares and dimpled smiles, towering like an illusionist conjuring up a magical performance of a lifetime. She breaks every stereotypical mould attached to her to rise like a phoenix from the ashes with Katniss, who reigns over the audience in a sweeping wave of emotions, establishing a bond that scales beyond the arc-lights of the 70mm screen. She is complimented by Hutcherson whose very presence lights up the entire room with just a flashing smile. He balances the sensitivity of love and charm with the emotional conflict of a ravaged heart with effortless poise. The interactions between Hutcherson and his merry company form the highlights of the film, filled with the cackling chemistry of a uninhibited passion, captivating the audience in the mesmerizing spell of the couple. Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy delivers a matured and restrained performance while Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne blends in simplicity with sensibility in a performance that comes straight from the heart. Donald Sutherland is exceptional as President Snow in his mannerisms while the supporting cast all deliver credible performances including Jena Malone in a dazzling cameo.
There will always be movies that enchant us with their magic, but there will hardly be a journey that goes beyond cinematic borders to deliver the experience of a lifetime. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is undoubtedly the new face of global cinema that enthralls with each passing frame, healing the hidden scars of the heart with its message of a better and humane world. There might be superheroes, but there will never be one Katniss Everdeen, who takes pride in being ordinary and yet changes the face of her world.
Earlier time scales used B.C. and A.D. to mark important events. After 14th December 2012, the scales of humanity would mark the world before and after the release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
My Rating- 10/10 (Exceptional!!)
The entire year I've been waiting for this moment when The Hunger
Games: Catching Fire would come out and I would go and see it. I had so
many expectations going into the theater; was it going to be better
than the first? Did they put everything that was in the book in the
movie? Is it going to be worth it? Well I am pleased to say that the
answer to all these questions are yes. This movie is by far one of the
best franchise movies to date...Go suck it Twilight. Hunger Games
Rule!! The acting was amazing, Jennifer Lawrence...I am in love, I
don't know where she came from but she's from out of this world. They
could not have casted a better Katniss, this girl it on fire! Josh
Hutcherson might have grown up a bit and his portrayal of Peeta Mellark
was outstanding. The rest was awesome, the victory tour, the parties,
the tributes parade, the tributes, the arena, the obstacles in the
arena, the CGI was memorable, and the emotion that these actors brought
to the set was unforgettable.
It's way better than the first one. And I'm so glad they did this one justice. I wish I could give this movie a fifteen out of ten, because it's just fantastic.
If the second one was this good...then I cannot wait for Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2. It's gonna be epic...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I went to see this movie after seeing that in IMDb, it got a rating of
8.3 out of 10. Even though I saw some bad reviews about it, I was
certain that a movie that got such a high rating in this kind of site
must have something to offer. My god was I wrong. Where do I begin?
Dialogue is poorly written and awkward at times. For example, when Peeta finds a pearl in the clam he just tells Katniss "For you" or something, and she replies with "Thanks" and takes the pearl. Wow. Just wow. What was the screenwriter or whoever writes that thing thinking? I honestly started laughing when I heard these lines.
Screen time is wasted and an hour and fifteen minutes into the movie, almost nothing happened and I started drifting away, something that has never happened in the first movie which I saw like three times. They did switch directors from the first movie, and it shows.
Unlike the previous Hunger Games, the sequel is plain boring, even in its most action-packed scenes, such as the toxic fog and the part where Peeta dies. So they manage to get past the fog and Peeta lives. Wooh, a twist! Everything that happens is so damn predictable and just uninteresting. Since over an hour passed until the games actually start, we don't get a chance to bond with the other tributes, and we just don't care about anyone except Katniss and Peeta. The part where the old lady runs into the fog in order to "save the others" could be much more emotional for the viewer if we only cared about her!
Also, ending a movie with a cliffhanger like this is just frustrating and plain lazy. This is something you can do in a TV series, where you get to see the resolution in the next episode in a week, but when done in a movie, it is clearly a way to force us viewers to watch the next sequel in order to get a satisfying resolution and cash-in on the way. In short, the ending is disappointing and doesn't resolve anything that happened so far. Did I just pay a full price for a prequel to when the story really kicks in to action?
I can go on and on about other things, such as the poor decision-making done by some of the characters (The bare-chested tribute knifing down the genius' wife while exposing himself to Katniss shooting him in the chest) or the stereotypical depiction of soldiers being sadistic, ruthless and unmerciful like robots instead of showing some small shred of humanity. I mean seriously, the Nazis weren't this cruel.
However, there are some good sides to this movie. Jennifer Lawrence acts wonderfully and does try to express some of Katniss' feelings. She does a great job. Josh Hutcherson gives a decent performance as well, playing the confused-from-love-and-fame Peeta. Other side-characters are depicted very well, and the overall acting in this film is superb.
Here and there there are some stronger scenes that save the movie from being a total bore, such as the fight against the baboons and Katniss and Peeta's first speech which was wonderfully acted.
Overall, this is a 5. There are some bright spots here and there in this movie, but they are just outweighed by the general boredom and heaviness of the rest of the film, and I found myself not giving a damn about nearly anything that happened on screen. Great acting and some strong scenes are burdened by poor dialogue and weak directing.
And that's pretty much it. I can't believe that this movie is believed to be one of 2013's best movies.
I wouldn't exactly call myself a fan of the books, but I did enjoy
Hunger Games, despite it's tweenie appeal. I'm a sucker for these kinds
of things. Maybe it's the Battle Royale and Lord of the Flies fan in
me. I did enjoy the first movie. It was a very well done adaptation.
However, having read the entire trilogy, I feared that adapting the
rest of the material would result in something similar to the books:
terrible follow ups. As someone who takes the content of these books
and the things that themes and stories they are trying to tell just a
bit more seriously than the target age group might, I groaned and
moaned throughout the novels, especially the last one. However, the
film has done something I didn't think it could do: not suck.
That's right, the movie does not suck. In fact, it's actually quite good. So good that it out does The Hunger Games in nearly every way, something that is quite the opposite of the novel. Where the original movie, while good, also came off feeling like it was feeding that tweenie audience it was aimed at, something about Catching Fire feels far more serious and far more mature. The film picks up right where we left off. Katniss and Peeta are on their victory tour, while the rest of the districts are showing signs of civil unrest due to Katniss defiance of The Capitol, that oppressive government regime that forces districts to send their children to die. To send a message to the districts that the capitol is still evil, they devise a new Hunger Games, this time forcing past victors back into the arena. Because what is a Hunger Games movie without the Hunger Games.
The first film, at times, felt like it was doing too much to introduce us into this world. Everything felt like some kind of obvious plot detail. While I enjoyed the film, I often felt disconnected to it and the issues it tried to present. There was so much focus on details of the world and the games, that the presentation of the world seemed to take a back seat. Lawrence was the major saving grace, though even she wasn't perfect. All of this has changed. With the games essentially taking a secondary part in the film, there is a stronger emotional connection. It helps that all the actors involved are not only a bigger part of the film but seem to be more comfortable and are much more convincing in their roles. Where the characters of Effie and Haymitch and even Gale seemed purpose driven, with little more than a role to fill, here they feel more fleshed out. They have a greater impact and there is more of an emotional connection, from Haymitch's clear frustration between his contempt for the Capitol and his attempts to keep Katniss and Peeta alive, to Effie's attempt to keep everyone as a team and sure signs that she is struggling with the facts of Katniss and Peeta once again thrown into turmoil.
The performances are the primary strength here. They do deliver on the emotion that is necessary to drive this story and don't feel like they are catering just to tweens, with the poorly written love triangle of the novel and the more trivial elements that are apart of the kind of writing that comes with novels aimed at tweens. Catching Fire feels like a serious movie with a serious story to tell. At it's heart is Jennifer Lawrence, who seems like a completely different person here. Since the original movie, as an actor, Lawrence has had several projects and has even won an Oscar. And so, it is no surprise that she feels like she is at an entirely different level. She seems more natural as Katniss and her acting is far more convincing. She comes off as someone who is not only conflicted, but scared. Even so, she remains strong and determined. Much like the first movie, as Katniss, she proves to be among the best of role models for young folk.
But beyond the performances, everything just feels elevated. The story has a better focus on the growing revolution that is clearly starting. The themes are more apparent and focused on. Everything feels less obvious and more natural. Gone are introductions to this world and it's elements, replaced by a futuristic vision carried purely by it's story and characters. Even the games are better, with more exciting action, better effects, and better character interaction, helped by a cast of new characters as fellow tributes.
I do seem to be gushing about the film, and it's not one I had expected to like nearly as much as I did, but I have to admit it: this was a very pleasant surprise. My fear now is that the next films won't live up to this sequel. But, I will give them more of the benefit of the doubt, considering how much this film blew me away as far as surpassing expectations. As I said in my review for the first film, fans will love this, and non-fans may also find themselves won over.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
all this movie does is give Hollywood another shot at more money. This is not the end of the districts, only the middle. When a movie ends and leaves you with wondering how the next movie will turn out, is pure profit for the movie makers. this movie is just part 2 of 5 movies soon to come to a theater near you. Plus is Jennifer, she is awesome. Want to leave the theater wondering what happens next? watch this one. I actually fell asleep to awake wondering if i missed half the movie and to my amazement, it was only 5 min. some cool parts, but predictable. and who are these other people that we want to survive, but then again, wonder if they are evil. this movie i feel is a scam. a scam to get you to go to another movie that is to be announced down the road. just like breaking bad. sometimes its best just to end the movie and move on.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Yes, it is to me. Well, like most of you out there, I was so hyped for
this film to come out, but tried to lower down my expectations, and
when I finally saw it, it kind of left me dumbfounded, because of the
ending. Of course, you can call me unfair in the first place because I
haven't read the original book, but if this film is truly faithful to
the book, either that the novel is not my cup of tea, or that the story
elements doesn't translate well onto the screen. Yeah, my problem with
this film is with some of the plot elements.
First of all, some of the scenes in the first half seems to just continue to drag on and on, until it gets boring, or at least, uninteresting. It really affects the pacing of the whole movie and doesn't make up for the real deal during the second half, which seemed a little too short, and rushed. The game can be quite intense, but instead of seeing tributes slaughtering each other, you mostly get the tributes forming a nice, friendly group, trying to avoid 'natural disasters', and then lots of talking. I mean the idea of the clock is unique and interesting, but it is completely missing the point of what the game is, or at least that's what the audience is seeing only. Most of the deaths are off-screen, otherwise they are deaths of man-made animals. Before you can say "Hey! What are they going to do after...", the plot twists, and it just suddenly ends, abruptly. Its like they are doing their best to remind you that there is another Hunger Games movie in the making, be sure to check that out!!! Seriously? Otherwise, the acting is really not bad at all, and it has some neat ideas. If you really love the book, you would most probably love this too, otherwise, you might not understand.
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