The middle chapter of Katniss’ survival story gets off as a dark, mean, dramatic sci-fi film with depths I didn’t expect. Yes, Catching Fire is by far better than its predecessor, sowing seeds for the two-part finale that will surely have to work hard to match its grit.
The movie starts almost a year after Katniss and Peeta’s legendary win, in a world endangered by the threat of an uprising. After a little talk with Katniss (the amazing Jennifer Lawrence), President Snow (Donald Sutherland) sends in his stormtroopers to restore order to the districts, and by order I mean killing a man for saluting Katniss with the whistle Row taught her. To make things worse, the new games master, Pultarch Heavensbee (The outstanding Philip Seymour Hoffman), gives Snow an idea: having all the Victors compete in the 75th Hunger Games. And the action begins.
The first movie felt incomplete, not because its story didn’t end then, but because it had major story gaps and under developed situations. However, director Francis Lawrence did a better job than Gary Ross, mastering all the good parts found in the first movie and fixing all the bad ones. So, even though Catching Fire is the middle chapter of a three books tail, it felt complete and satisfying, giving us all necessary details for us to fully understand the storyline, and the characters.
As for the actors, I felt that each one of them did justice to the decent directing and amazing storytelling: we had good enough performances like Josh Hutcherson’s as Peeta, Stanely Tucci’s as Caesar, Jena Maloone’s as Johanna Mason, and finally Elizabeth Banks’ as Effie. Now, on a different note, the charisma between Jennifer Lawrence and Woody Harrelson (Haymitch) was almost as magnificent as the charming charisma between Philip Seymour Hoffman and Donald Sutherland. Chapeau bas. Really.
I really feel like watching Catching Fire again, and I can’t wait for Mockingjay to say the least. The awesome work of the director and actors, alongside the gripping and breathtaking storyline, got me hooked up to a series I didn’t think much of a few weeks ago. A must-watch.
Rating: 8.0/10; Gripping story, breathtaking directing, charming acting, and Jennifer Lawrence.