The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Erik Bates: “It ruled.”
This franchise is knocking it out of the damn park with, so far, two extremely high-quality films. What I pictured in my mind as I read the novels is being recreated phenomenally on the screen, which is a testament, I believe, to not only some great writing by Suzanne Collins, but equally to great interpretation by the film makers themselves. It was emotional where it should have been, and funny in all the right moments. Every single casting decision for these films has been spot-on, from Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, to Stanley Tucci as Caesar, and of course, Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence as Peeta and Katniss.
It's a bit long, clocking in at around 3 hours (trailers to credits, which is really the only way to measure when you're viewing at the theater). But that aside, I was fully engaged the entire length of the film.
Samir Mehta: “It ruled.”
Fantastic. With very few missteps, it faithfully adapts the second book and continues to build. The direction is effective though possibly less impressive than the first film in setting a mood and place. But the repeating actors all pick up their game (Lawrence and Harrelson just get better and better, especially together; Elizabeth Banks also gives a two-dimensional character more nuance than came across in the books) and the new additions are terrific. The ending quotes Empire Strikes Back and does so effectively. I don't recall an action film with a last shot that's so effective since the Matrix series. And the amazing thing is the shot is simply of Lawrence's face. This series is going to be an epic one.
Scott Hardie: I was prepared to write this sequel off as a waste of time. I was not impressed the first time and this seems like a close repeat, right down to the poster. But between your effusive praise and Erik's, I may just have to give it a chance. It sounds impressive. − December 13, 2013 more by Scott
Evie Totty: “It ruled.”
I remember what a huge fanboy I was of the first movie. I saw it 3 times in the theater. Then Ross isn't retained and Lawrence is brought in. I was worried.
However, CF was better than the first one. Not sure how much this REALLY affected it, but I was super happy no shaky cam crap was put in there. Hate hate hate shaky cam.
Regardless I was pleased with the film and pleased with the portrayals (for the most part). I did have one 'issue' - Heavensbee shows a watch to Katniss in the book and it is absent in the movie.
Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”
This movie has a bad case of sequelitis: It's the same stuff that happened the first time, in the same order, but with a promise of "bigger stakes" that turns out to be false. At least the first movie had some wild art design; this one doesn't even manage much in that regard beyond a neat flaming dress. I liked the extra dimensions afforded to a few characters (Effie was a surprise) and some of the performances (Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone cannot be boring), but otherwise, this was as much of a predictable, by-the-numbers bore as the first movie. With the third film(s) promising to leave the Games behind at last, perhaps the series will finally take an interesting turn, but thus far I'm just not on its wavelength.
Scott Hardie: more by Scott
Samir Mehta: I'm guessing you didn't read the books - this makes more sense in those. The books are VERY preoccupied with the role of the media in shaping opinions. What isn't clear enough (maybe) in the movies is that the Districts are essentially in heavily censored/media blackout conditions. As a result, their signals during Katniss events are brief hijacks that are indicating the level of support in the other Districts.
Katniss isn't really the leader of the revolution - she's the symbol of the revolution. Again, the books are pretty preoccupied with the distinction between these things. Katniss is never really a "fighter" for the revolution - she's the poster person for the revolt and is used in propaganda materials. − March 20, 2015 more by Samir
Scott Hardie: That makes sense, thanks. I haven't read the books, but Kelly has, and she explained a few other points for me while we watched. I'm sure all kinds of things had to be left out in the transition to film. − March 20, 2015 more by Scott