The Hunger Games came out in 2012 to decent reviews and created a breakout star in Jennifer Lawrence. Yet the movie missed the mark in production and with the heart of the source material. Fast forward to November of 2013 and Catching Fire looks to succeed, where it’s predecessor failed. Armed with a new director, bigger budget and a fantastic second book, I am delighted to say that Catching Fire is everything I had hoped The Hunger Games would be and more.
One of my main criticisms of the first film was its lack of depth in dealing with the issues Suzanne Collins so deftly portrays in her gritty series. There are no such problems here in Catching Fire. Francis Lawrence directs with precision and captures the core of the series. He embraces the darkly disturbing world that Collins created, showing the fallout the first hunger games has had on Katniss and Peeta as well as the fear it has instilled in President Snow. Katniss, now a symbol of hope for the rebellion must be discredited and eliminated in Snow’s mind. Thrust again into the hunger games, Katniss and Peeta must figure out who they can trust as well as try to survive.
The acting is superb. In The Hunger Games, Peeta felt miscast and off. Here in Catching Fire, Josh Hutcherson comes alive as Peeta. Jennifer Lawrence is Katniss, continuing to embody the role with ease. Each of the other characters feels spot on. This is a fantastic movie that will leave everyone clamoring for Mockingjay.
(A quick aside. Covergirl makeup is selling makeup inspired by the Capitol’s flamboyant fashion. It saddens me to see a celebration of the opulence that Collins writes against being accepted in the real world. Strangely enough, our society may have more in common with Panem’s Capitol than we’d care to admit.)