The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review | Fanboys Anonymous

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review

Posted by Unknown Friday, November 22, 2013
Most people know that Catching Fire is the sequel to last year's hit Hunger Games, featuring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark. If you don't, I highly suggest watching the Hunger Games first and coming back to this review. Catching Fire is distributed by Lionsgate Entertainment (the studio that brought the Twilight Saga and Ender's Game to reality) and directed by Francis Lawrence.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
Catching Fire is hot and full of action, adventure, and a moderate level of intrigue that will keep moviegoers wondering what's next. Unless of course you've already read the entire trilogy by Suzanne Collins, then you pretty much know what's next. What Catching Fire does for both the newbie and the hardcore fan is stay true to its book counterpart, capturing key details while delivering President Snow's message of a government keeping its districts under order and control.

Order and control is the theme of the Hunger Games trilogy and is the most common in Catching Fire. Katniss will have to choose between saving the ones she loves and being a symbol for the nation. Hunger Games introduced us to a world in poverty and hardship, forcing districts to send innocent children to kill each other for game and sport. Nothing has changed except that now the citizens of Panem have hope, and that hope is Katniss the mockingjay.

After reading Catching Fire a year ago, I hoped that the movie version would live up to the craziness created by Collins. I was not disappointed. Viewers will be satisfied with the special effects and action sequences packed into this movie. Catching Fire plays out like its predecessor—it starts off slow, gradually building up suspense, and ends on a bang. The ending will leave everyone wanting more and ready to watch the third installment.

Overview [warning: slight spoilers]

We ended Hunger Games with our heroine winning and coming home with her "love," Peeta, from the 74th Hunger Games. I say "love" but in reality Katniss's love for Peeta was a show to survive the games.

Hunger Games Katniss and Peeta Victory Celebration

It's about a year later at the start of Catching Fire, and we now find Katniss in the forbidden forests of District 12. Hunting is still illegal, but Katniss stills hunts to help feed Gale and his family (not mentioned in the movie but more implied. Katniss after winning the games is pretty much rich and doesn't need to hunt). Speaking of Gale, he steps onto the screen as both a friend and romantic interest to Katniss. Gale is not happy with Katniss for her love performance with Peeta, yet the two reconnect and go hunting.

Katniss Everdeen in Forbideen District 12 Forest

Unfortunately, hunting triggers a PTSD moment for Katniss; she panics, but Gale is there to comfort her.
Yet comfort is not waiting for Katniss when she arrives at her home in Victor's Village (a small rich neighborhood in District 12 for Hunger Games winners). We get a visit from President Snow (Donald Sutherland), who is neither happy nor convinced of Katniss's love for Peeta. Katniss's act of saving Peeta is seen as deviance causing uprising throughout the districts, and Mr. Snow ain't having it. Snow gives Katniss an ultimatum: either convince the nation she saved Peeta because she loves him, or he'll kill everybody she loves. The visit from Snow sets the precedent for the remainder of the movie.

Katniss later meets up with drunk Haymitch and pissed Peeta because all three must get ready for the Victor's Tour, a parading of last year's winners to all the districts.

Katniss Everdeen entering Victor's Village Hunger Games Catching Fire

The regular makeup and fashion crews are back, so viewers will get more Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) and Effie (Elizabeth Banks).

Catching Fire Cinna at 75th Hunger Game's Ceremony
Hunger Games: Catching Fire Effie Trinket Annoucing 75th Hunger Games Tributes

After getting preened and dressed properly, Katniss and Peeta leave for the Victors Tour. It's a sad affair. Nothing screams depressing more than showing the two children that survived to the other districts whose children did not make it. Unfortunately, the tour is aspiring other districts to rebel, exactly what Katniss Everdeen neither wants nor needs to happen. Katniss will battle between keeping her family safe and being a symbol.

As the movie progresses, we watch Katniss grow from a strong teenage girl to a determined and just as strong woman. The 75th Hunger Games comes with a twist. I don't want to give it away, but if you have seen the previews and movie posters, you pretty much know what that is.

Peeta and Katniss Entering the New Training Facility

Katniss definitely comes off more adult in this movie. She's grown up! She has a lot more to say, and I would too if I had been through the worst event that any human being has ever been through. She's a survivor who deals with constant PTSD nightmares, anxiety, and depression. She is an imperfect and tortured character, and Jennifer Lawrence nails her performance as Katniss Everdeen. I actually feel that Jennifer Lawrence is more Katniss Everdeen than Katniss Everdeen is Katniss Everdeen. Say that three times fast.

Overall, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire stays true and will keep viewers watching from beginning to end. I'm glad Hollywood did not take liberties with the source material. Catching Fire did exactly what I expected. For that I give Catching Fire 9.5 out of 10. Expect The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 to come out tentatively November 20, 2014.

What are your thoughts on the movie?

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