By Benjamin Coren
Film Review – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Josh Hutcherson Runtime: 146 minutes
The follow up to last year’s hit The Hunger Games has arrived in cinemas and continues the story of Katniss Everdeen and the dystopian future society of Panem.
I was initially skeptical of the first film when it was released, seeing it as a clone of 2000’s Japanese shocker Battle Royale, which has an almost identical premise, but I was pleased to be proven wrong, and thoroughly enjoyed the film. The sequel, Catching Fire further builds on the foundations laid in the first film, and is not a disappointment for fans.
The follow up sees Katniss return home safely from the 74th annual Hunger Games, but the peace is fleeting as she once again finds herself back in the arena when the powers that be announce a quarter quell, and this time the fight is entirely against former victors of previous Hunger Games.
The big theme here, as with the previous installment is revolution, the stirrings of unrest are growing in the downtrodden districts, and Katniss has unwittingly become a symbol for hope to the masses, and is fast becoming a problem to the corrupt government.
Jennifer Lawrence shone as Katniss and her performance is impressive throughout, all the characters are far more developed than the previous outing, and Donald Sutherland is thoroughly unlikable as the scheming President of Panem.
There is a lot more depth here than in the previous film, with it being less about teenagers slaying one another in a horrific arena display, and more focused on the reason for the games existing at all, and the public rejection of the dictatorial government regime.
I would not recommend seeing Catching Fire without first watching The Hunger Games, while new viewers will be able to follow the plot, it may confuse those who have not seen the first film, and the story is so much better when told from the start, not halfway through.
Thanks to The Capitol.