Our blogger Sandip continues his reviews of both the novels of Suzanne Collins and their film adaptations. Read what he has to say about Catching Fire below
The odds are definitely in favour of a pulsating sequel to The Hunger Games. Director Francis Lawrence dodges with spectacular results the Hollywood poor second-film syndrome. The sequel does everything the original film does, but only better; it’s more emotional, gutsier, and fiercer. The two and a half hour running time might seem excessive, but the film does not drag on. Every moment of this instalment is set to light up the box office this winter.
The sequel in many respects is similar in format to the original. Jenifer Lawrence returns as Katniss Everdeen, whose refusal to be a willing victim ignites a revolution in the districts of Panem. The sparks of revolution are first glimpsed during the Victory Tour to celebrate Katniss and Peeta’s victory in the 74th Hunger Games. A Victory Tour that is full of the vibrancy, eccentricity and poverty of Panem. The failure of Katniss to act as a model for the districts, which are on the verge on revolution against the high powers in the Capitol; ultimately leads President Snow and Head Game Maker (Philip Seymour Hoffman), to the decision to eliminate not only Katniss, but her kind, the victors.
The 75th Hunger Games is a celebratory version of the Games held every twenty five years, and for its third edition the tributes are to be reaped from the existing pool of victors. The Quarter Quell as it’s known, is akin to an Olympics of the best. The tributes are all veteran’s skilled in the art of killing to survive – after all they were victors of their own Games. From the moment that the tributes descend on the Capitol, revolution never seems too far away. Avid readers of the novels will know that nothing stops the 75th Hunger Games from proceeding, and this is where the film becomes ruthlessly gripping. The tropical arena for the Quarter Quell with its murderous baboons, rolling banks of poisonous fog, and clever clock contraption, add to a heightened tension and energy in the closing stages of the film.
The film brings back all of our favourite characters from the first. Of course there’s Katniss and Peeta, but there are also great performances from Woody Allen as the somewhat drunk, yet somehow always alert Haymitch. Then there’s the eccentricity and completely over the top fashion provided by Elizabeth Banks as the loveable Effie. The direction provided by Lawrence seamlessly guides the characters through the tribulations, terrors and abuse of Collins’ novel. You wouldn’t have guessed that Lawrence took the reins of direction from Gary Ross (The Hunger Games Director); it was a seamless transition.
Catching Fire, the second of what will become a quadrilogy of films based on Suzanne Collins’ much loved book series, may have ignited the revolutions in the districts, but it’s also ignited the Hunger Games film series. For fans there’s already a heightened sense of expectation, and anticipation for the next film, Mockingjay Part One, which is already highly anticipated, and Lawrence hopefully won’t disappoint.