Brace yourselves, revolution is coming

Featuring

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark
Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne
Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy
Elizabeth Banks as Lady Gaga Effie Trinket
with Donald Sutherland as Lord President Coriolanus Snow

Someone once said to me that if you thought something was really good, it would be very hard to write something meaningful about it. I mean, it was good, right? You enjoyed it and therefore weren’t thinking too much about it until you said to yourself, you know, might be a good idea to jot your thoughts down. So it is with Catching Fire. It is a good movie. Better even than the original Hunger Games which introduced us all visually to the world of Panem, its Capitol with its ludicrously vapid populations but not so much the poorer Twelve Thirteen Districts it exploits and punishes due to a war that occurred generations ago.

After the original Hunger Games, in which Katniss and Peeta emerged victorious, fakely in love and as symbols of the general population’s hatred against their subjugation by the Capitol, they’ve become rich and famous but more importantly to the fate of their loved ones, the mortal enemy of the leader of Panem, Lord Jon er…I mean President Coriolanus Snow. President Snow wants Katniss to convince the world that she and Peeta are really a couple so that people will not think of rebellion or else he will kill everyone she cares about.

President Snow and rebel scum

President Snow, yesterday – feeling angry at those rebel scum

The first part of the film follows the Victory Tour of Katniss and Peeta, reading speeches and seeing that indeed, the seeds of rebellion are strong and growing. Because their efforts at calming the population are largely unsuccessful, a final, desperate gambit by Snow in which he wants as many previous winners of the annual Hunger Games offed as possible, are required.

Now, I’ve never read any of the books the films are based on, so I can’t comment on any major differences in the plots or anything like that. However, taken as a separate entity entirely, the movie is very good at building the world, the story and the characters and their personalities and traumas. For example, Peeta is not a wimpy camouflage expert any more and actually does some manly things in this movie. Otherwise, Katniss also seems to be a harder, more grown up version of herself and even the innocently vapid Effie shows some attachment and emotion in this installment. Finally, it has to be said that the end of the movie was a little abrupt. I know that this is the set up for the general revolution that’s in Mockingjay, but it all happens so fast. In some ways, we’re in the same boat at Katniss, confused about what’s happened to the Hunger Game she was trying to disrupt and survive.

I’m actually quite glad that I watched Catching Fire. It’s a good movie in its own right and does the source material proud in actually making a good and logical sequel to The Hunger Games. The characters got lots of growth and the world building was much better, since we never saw much of the other districts in the first movie. I’m really looking forward to Mockingjay, although that’s now been split into two movies. Hopefully there’s enough story in the source material for that kind of treatment.

Rating

A good adventure, a great story of hope and the fight against repression.

Should I watch this?

Yup. Although, you really do need to see the first one beforehand, otherwise the will make as much sense as one of Effie’s hats.

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