Where This Meets That
I prefaced my review of the original The Hunger Games movie last year by admitting I hadn’t read the books and that I probably wouldn’t, since they’d made it to the screen before I could do so. After watching part 2 of the franchise, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, I’ve changed my tune; give me those books!
Catching Fire takes the framework of the original and packs on a ton of emotional weight. Jennifer Lawrence, fresh off her 2013 Oscar win for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook, reprises her role as Katniss Everdeen. Lawrence is masterful as the reluctant heroine, still reeling from the painful scars of victory in the Hunger Games. Few actresses can pull off such a broad emotional range as seamlessly as can Lawrence. Her face alone can tell a thousand tales and make you root for her in every one.
And the Katniss character deserves nothing less from a portrayal. It’s hard to imagine a stronger heroine in cinema today, skillfully balancing brute will with feminine emotionality. She hates her world but is determined to fight to the bitter end to preserve what little goodness she sees in it.
A year after the most recent annual Hunger Games, Katniss and her charming co-victor Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are supposed to be living out their days as celebrity champions, making tours and “looking happy.” However, lingering controversies over their victory help to inflame festering tensions between an increasingly heavy-handed Capitol and its governed districts, leading to the “wrinkle” of an unorthodox edition of the Hunger Games that will pit surviving Hunger Games victors, including Katniss and Peeta, against one another.
Who can trust whom? And to what end? Catching Fire ramps up in complexity from its predecessor and makes for an all around better film that is certain to leave audiences eager to watch the next, and final, episode unfold.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire score: 4.5 Falcone Rings