I remember waiting for months to watch the magnum opus that the first THG film was supposed to be. I wasn’t amused – the shaky camera and the PG-13 action just didn’t work for me. But since Now I am mentally disturbed seeing Motakshi Sinha every other week so I chose to give The Hunger Games – Catching fire a try. The first Hunger Games had a lot going for it, but a lot against it too. It seemed way too girly for my liking. I was still eager to see the sequel only because of Jennifer Lawrence’s acting talent in her Oscar winning role in last year’s Silver Lining Playbook.
The sequel Catching Fire fixes a lot of things that went wrong with the first film. With Francis Lawrence taking over the direction the unnecessary shaky camera is done away with making it more fluid and watchable. Also Josh Hutcherson gets more screen space and the rather boring character of Liam Hemsworth is thankfully sided.
The story takes place in the futurist kingdom of Panem. The first film introduced us to Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), a bold 16-year-old who volunteers for the televised fight to death – The Hunger Games. By the start of Catching Fire, she is a champion, celebrity and role model – and trapped in the crowd-pleasing romance with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), a fellow contender, while her secret boyfriend Gale (Liam Hemsworth) languishes on the sidelines. It then deals with a conspiracy which President Snow and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) devise in order to get Katniss killed.
The film jumps to various themes like nihilism, dystopia, the failure of humanity and its obsession with violent reality TV entertainment. When compared to the first film, Catching fire gets you more attached to the main character and her emotions. The other good thing about the film is the intense and dangerous Hunger Games in the later half of the film. The film also has a better CGI.
The main problem I had with the film was the slow pace in the first half. I understand the film needed a build-up but most of the things that the first half dealt with were repetitive and could have been cut off quite easily as they didn’t have much to do with the main plot. On the contrary, the latter part of the second half leading to the climax was totally rushed. But since I haven’t read the book I don’t know what’s in store in the next film. Plus, in spite of many good characters other than Katniss you don’t feel for any of the others.
Jennifer Lawrence is out of the world with her heroic, ethereal presence. She single-handedly makes the movie watching experience worthwhile. Also, the stroke of genius comes when the film ends with Coldplay’s Atlas, which perfectly sums up the haunting climax of the film.
Final Verdict: The popular opinion is that it’s a great film. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a great film. It’s certainly a good film with ample entertainment. Teenage girls who have grown up believing in some stupid definition of love that Twilight has made them believe should watch this. Katniss will them believe in standing up and kicking ass!
Rating : 3/5