The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – A worthy sequel (review)

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By Balázs Pászli

I finally managed to free up some time this week and took a trip down to the cinema to watch the new flick that everyone has been rambling about. Some people went as far as to call it the movie of the year. The movie that we’ll be talking about of course is the latest blockbuster, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

I was rather excited about this production because last year when Jennifer Lawrence scored at the Oscars, I wasn’t really sure about her acting performance. We already knew from numerous TV shows that she’s an absolutely fabulous, smart and colorful gal, but it wasn’t until now that I knew that she deserved it.

Catching Fire is leaps ahead of the original Hunger Games in almost every aspect. When I sat into the theater, I really didn’t know much about what I was going to watch. I heard a lot of good things, but I didn’t want to read too much about it in fear of it spoiling the movie for me. I was expecting an action movie, but what I got was so much more. This movie is a combination of genres; it has drama, it has romance, and boy it hits you with action like you wouldn’t believe when you would least expect it.

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A Little About the Story

If you haven’t seen the first movie, then the next two paragraphs might contain some spoilers for you. Catching Fire continues right after the events of the first movie. Katniss is back in her hometown in District 12. She’s trying to repair the damage the show did to her and her relationship to Gale, her true love. Things seem to be quiet as the story unfolds, but of course, there’s trouble brewing behind the scenes.

It doesn’t take long for President Snow to appear, who explains that he and many others didn’t buy Katniss’ love affair with Peeta. They are now looking at her as a symbol of hope, and one that needs to be destroyed. He ultimately threatens to kill her, her family and Gale if she doesn’t do what is asked of her. She agrees that she will obey and do what she’s told. This is where the movie starts to speed up.

Acting and Screenplay

This is the main reason why this movie stands out to me. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this is the movie of the year, but it’s definitely among the best. Every scene in the movie is consciously built upon one another, with each of them having its own meaning. Right from the very beginning we are shown a world that stands on the brink of revolution.

If you’re new to The Hunger Games, then here’s a little help to catch up:

The Capitolium, which is the capital of the Hunger Games universe, is a rich, technologically superior area. It holds the rest of the world, namely 13 separate districts, in unbelievable misery.

Katniss Everdeen, our main character, is from the 12th district. After her little sister is chosen to participate in the deadly TV show, The Hunger Games, she decides to volunteer as tribute instead of her.

While participating in the deadly tournament, Katniss realizes that if she doesn’t find a way to fight herself and love her partner, Peeta, then either one or both of them will die in the arena. After winning the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss becomes somewhat of an even bigger celebrity inside the Capitolium, and a symbol of hope for the poor.

The second movie puts a tremendous weight on showing how hard it is for Katniss to deal with her life being degraded to a show, and her becoming a slave even more so than before. Jennifer Lawrence plays the role so authentically; it almost made me believe it was real. What’s so great about it? I think the magic is inside the character, and here is why it’s exceptional:

Our hero, Katniss, doesn’t exactly fit the description of a hero at all. She’s like you or me. It’s usually hard enough for blockbusters to create a strong woman, but not this time. They do an excellent job displaying the emotions that Katniss has to deal with. In the beginning, she doesn’t even want to start a revolution, or rise against the president. All she wants is to protect the people she loves. She is afraid and weak, and that’s what makes it great. There’s a noticeable and deep evolution of character inside many of the main characters, which starts off in the first movie, and it continues through the second. For this very reason, I recommend you to watch the first one.

But I don’t want to give her all the credit; all the characters have great scripts and are very well played. We know what they want, and we can relate to them. There’s no flaw in their logic or in their reactions, it’s done masterfully. The other thing that I really enjoyed in storytelling was the way that they had portrayed the growing frustration inside the districts, and also in the Capitolium.

Conclusion

To sum it up, it’s a very well put together movie, and although at times it might seem to be a little long (after all, we are talking about a movie that’s more than 2 hours long). I would say this is one of those times in the year when it’s worth to go to the movies. When I came out, I felt like I’ve got much more than what I had expected. Overall, the story, the actors, and the effects come together really well. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will take you on a cinematic adventure that I’m sure you won’t come to regret.

Grade: B+

About Balázs Pászli

Balázs is a huge fan of all forms of entertainment. He likes to write and start discussions about movies, games and TV series. His goal with starting Entertainment Peakly is to create a community where people can share and discuss their ideas and opinions.

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