While the market’s saturated with Vampire romances (hiding its shades of abstinence, cheesy romance and what not), The Hunger Games took a leap forward introducing a bloody albeit sensible saga for the teens. Much more serious in its presentation, Suzanne Collins has written a trilogy both teens and adults can enjoy and the movies based on it are just as good. As evident from the first Hunger Games, Catching Fire is no different and it doesn’t disappoint the least. I know I am late, I watched this movie like 2 weeks back and then I was caught in a Smaug-sized void.
Helmed by Francis Lawrence of Constantine and I Am Legend fame, Catching Fire continues where the original left off, we are introduced to a very disturbed and vulnerable Katniss Everdeen having hallucinations post her first Hunger Games. And just when you thought everything would be fine and well for her, it gets worse when 75th Hunger Games starts, also known as Quarter Quell. The first act of the movie was lush with characters new and old, setting things in motion leading to its finale in Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2. It did have a slow pace but it was captivating enough to make you feel that Panam and its politics were real. It does a very good job of showing the totalitarian capital and the undemocratic ways its politics goes.
Of course it all gets unarguably thrilling when the Hunger Games starts and it does get the adrenaline pumping. Our hapless heroes and their formidable foes are put head to head against all kinda new threats and it does make you wonder “May the odds be ever in your favor, Seriously?” Katniss and Peeta’s bond goes stronger throughout the Games and it all ends in a cliffhanger and a rather intriguing one at that. It keeps you wanting more.
Jennifer Lawrence, undisputedly, comes off as a winner here. She might not grab another Oscar for role but the way this girl acts is just jaw-droppingly convincing and yes, she was indeed a sight for sore eyes. Elizabeth Banks was annoying but i suppose she was written that way. Woody Harrelson, without surprise, steals every scene he was in whereas Donald Sutherland on the other hand felt nefarious beyond limits. Instead of Wes Bentley’s Seneca Crane, Philip Seymour Hoffman shares the screen as the new Gamemaker and showing off some good performance as well.
IMHO, Catching Fire got way too dark and I sometimes questioned myself if the fiction was intended for teens. I was not too happy with the weird love triangle tension between Katniss, Peeta and Gale. It remains to see how Mockingjay would end up, its safe to say in Francis’ hands its off to a good start.