Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Review – SPOILERS
As an excessive internet fiend, I’ve been involved with many communities on the internet, particularly Tickld.com (go check it out!). My involvement with this community brings many fandoms to my attention on a regular basis and anything that involves Jennifer Lawrence tends to be fairly popular. With the constant push of these groupies, I caved in and watched the first of this series, the night before we saw Catching Fire. Unfortunately, I was let down. I’m still adamant that the Hunger Games is just Battle Royale with cheese and less blood. I had high expectations of violence, excitement and characters that would grasp my interest. After my disappointment and being reassured that the second book in the series is far more action packed, I went in with hope. What I’ve failed to grasp is the tween audience and devout love for everything and everything related to it, but it could be worse, they could have been “Beliebers”…
Carrying on. With a lot of hope, I sat through the movie. Considering I haven’t read the books, I was a bit pissed with the cliffhanger ending but otherwise, it was alright. Very little has changed from the first film. a lot of shit is still going on, riots have put various districts under lock down and general discomfort feeds a waiting beast. The only thing that has really changed is the settings for “Peeta” and Katniss which lacks any of the suspected riches. A year has rolled on, comfortably living in their shabby mansions with little colour and all the aesthetics of a mental institute plucked from Batman’s Gotham city; suddenly joined by Tim Burton’s wet dream – Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), garnered in vividly sickening colours with influence from Medieval England and a bin, she begins spluttering about some tour across the districts and all that jazz. As I couldn’t work out a name for this tour, lets call it the, “Look how rich I am because I won a game tour of 2013”. Funnily enough, Katniss was oblivious to the riots she caused with the salute mid-game and notices an impending trend which she begins to abuse. Noticing that it gets people killed, she backed up and did what she was told. Until, you guessed it, the Hunger Games. Each districts winners are called upon for the 75th anniversary slaughtering because grumpy old president doesn’t like being beaten. Once the big baby is satisfied, the games start but don’t end in your typical fashion. Yeah, so as a story, it’s pretty easy to deduct how big plot pieces unfolds with a few additional little surprises tucked away. Even if I had watched the previous movie on release day, I could have jumped into this movie without worrying to much about a complicated story line and forgetting everything that previously happened.
I’d like to pick on the visuals a little. I’m an ass for good CGI and FX from big budget movies but there is certainly occasions that I have to question what on earth they were thinking. At one point there centre island and the water effect around it lost a lot of it’s focus and resolution and some of the rocks genuinely looked like set props from the Flintstones movie. I fully understand that the Hunger Games world is representing the deformities between the bourgeois and proletariat with the upper classes manipulation of those with little power but I feel it really misses the potential to really portray it after the whole Occupy movement, but I digress. On a positive note, the CGI for the baboons was far better than the ass-faced ‘dogs’ from the end of the previous movie. But then we get to a few of the deaths. If you’re going to walk about without a top, I would at least like to see some blood when you get shot in the chest with an arrow.
Being that Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook, It’s a common belief that they could continue this streak through their other projects. Occasionally, it felt as if she was really struggling to push Katniss. It’s hard to get much when he doesn’t play much of a role in the actual fighthing too. When Katniss has to act joyfully and blissful, she can do that but it’s nothing we don’t expect from a person that is a very much the same. It’s when she has to portray despair, fear and the really raw emotion. Perhaps not Michael Fassbender’s breakdown in The Counsellor with snot smearing his face like a Jackson Pollock painting, but a medium. This issue probably falls on the script and poor directing for not really exploring her to give J.Law some form of platform. Peter, or the incompetent way of spelling it – ‘Peeta’ (Josh Hutcherson) is a fairly standard role. With very little context to him, he’s once again left out by a weak script that makes him look like a giant pussy. The rest are fairly standard, Liam Hemsworth decided he’d tag along and take a bit more time on screen but then just blends back into the ether for the rest of the film. Philip Sermour Hoffman is probably the strongest of the cast, he powers through the lines and enjoys to play a game like a cunning fox, throwing you from pillar to post wondering what he’d do next and redeem himself for playing both sides of the fence.
With all of it’s flaws, the film is better than it’s predecessor. Not massively but a little better. Created for teens, I may just be an old git. The overall will probably be a 7/10. The script is weak and reflects on everyone. Without the aggression, you never feel the rush of excitement that is a foundation for anything action. A few of the FX were weak and I just longed for more from a production of it’s size.
Sorry for the chaotic review. I’ve been procrastinating all week and it’s a bit of a mess so I could get a review up for Saving Mr Banks tomorrow!
Posted on 28/11/2013, in Film & TV, Reviews and tagged 2, 2013, action, Adventure, catching fire, entertainment, film, films, hunger games, jennifer lawrence, john huterson, katniss, liam hemsworth, movie, peeta, philip seymour hoffman, review, Spoilers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.