Cast - Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone.
Director - Francis Lawrence
Rating - ****
Release Date - December 6
Synopsis - Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, having won the 74th Hunger Games, are now settled in Victor's Village to live out the rest of their lives in luxury. However, a year later, they are called upon to go on a Victor Tour during which they have to visit all the districts. Just before leaving, Katniss gets a very ominous visit from President Snow who is still begrudging her defiant act of choosing to die with Peeta. The sheer act of defiance that led to both Katniss and Peeta being crowned winners creates an open uprising in across all 12 districts. Snow tells Katniss that if she doesn't put out all the fires she's started, everyone she cares about will be in danger.
But the revolution has already picked up steam and the uprising is in full swing, none of which Katniss could hope to calm. Snow, under the advice of Plutarch Heavensbee, uses the Quarter Quell, the 75th anniversary of the Capitol winning the war, to his advantage. He manages to manipulate the games such that all the tributes will be picked from the already existing pool of winners. The movie goes on to explore all the past winners from the different districts and shows Katniss and Peeta that what they faced in the past is nothing compared to these games.
Verdict - The movie as a whole continues the tale of an unlikely heroine in Katniss Everdeen, and honestly soars much higher than its predecessor. The Hunger Games - Catching Fire, further explores the dystopian future of Panem and the segregation of the affluent and the starved districts. The first film though also well done, was a little rough around the edges, still introducing all the elements of the series. The second instalment, however, smoothens out all the edges and manages to effortlessly capture the beauty and character of the first film while also engaging the audience and taking the story further.
The movie really implores the sense of hope and fighting for a better tomorrow, and the cinematography really flushes that sense out beautifully. The visuals and the action shots are masterfully done, such that most of them leave you in awe. The setting of the arena and the CGI behind the various creatures present within it have also been vastly improved as compared to the previous film.
But what really clinches the film as a hit, is the acting ability of its cast. Jennifer Lawrence does a brilliant job between being the stubborn and willful Katniss before the first game, and the scared and scarred girl due to the trauma she faced after the fact.
Josh Hutcherson as the calm and collected Peeta Mellark, delivers a strong performance while also showing layers of his undying love towards Katniss. Woody Harrelson, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, and Elizabeth Banks round up the strong supporting cast.
All in all, the movie works because all the elements blend together well. In a fantasy film, the best thing that can happen is not to lose track of the plot in the midst of overwhelming action sequences and over the top effects. And The Hunger Games - Catching Fire, does just that, it stays true to the story. Those who've read the books will not be disappointed, and those who haven't will be pleasantly entertained just the same.
IMDb - 8.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes - 89%
Metacritic - 75%
For a list of other movies that are releasing this week, click here