The Hunger Games: Catching Fire review

The girl on fire, Katniss Everdeen, is back again – and the stakes are higher than ever.

Catching Fire, directed by Francis Lawrence, captures all of the elements of the book: intensity, action, emotion and absolute desperation. Jennifer Lawrence, stunning as ever, plays the lead character of Katniss Everdeen.

Almost two years after New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Collins published The Hunger Games, the long awaited second instalment of the trilogy, Catching Fire, was released in theatres. The movie will captivate fans with its passion, enthralling actors, unique costumes and subtle humour.

As the female lead, Lawrence’s character deals with a great deal of emotion torn between her love for best friend Gale and fellow Hunger Games victor Peeta.

Lawrence continues to surprise her fans with her acting skills, especially since according to Cineplex Magazine, she has never taken an acting class in her life. Lawrence embodies the real and convincing emotion of a girl saving her best friend Gale from televised violence and humiliation when he is publicly beaten after stopping a guard’s (ironically called a peacekeeper) violent outburst. In these moments, viewers can see how much she truly cares for him.

One of the more memorable moments of the film is when Katniss steps out on the stage of Caeser Flickerman’s show wearing her iconic wedding dress. Trish Summerville was in charge of designing this costume, amongst 6,000 others from the film. The dress is dazzling white, strapless with intricately woven designs that cover her shoulder, cinched at the waist with ruffles and layers of chiffon.

Just when fans think she could not look more beautiful, Katniss spins on stage and the ends of her dress begin to catch on fire, transforming her white ball gown into a black feathered “mockingjay” dress.

The Hunger Games follows the story of a dystopian world in which organizers of the annual Hunger Games select 24 contestants, a male and female child from every district, to participate in an essential fight to the death – meaning there can only be one victor.

Just as Katniss and Peeta are about to follow through with their suicidal vow – and deprive the organizers of any winner – the organizers, very reluctantly, announce both of them as the two victors of the 74th Hunger Games.

Transitioning into the second movie, uprisings wreak havoc in the districts because of Katniss’s rebellious, rule-bending actions. As punishment, the organizers select her and Peeta, among 22 other victors, to participate in the 75th Hunger Games in order to have Katniss killed.

Together, they must fight to the death, once again, in order to survive. Despite the distance growing between the star-crossed lovers, their connection intensifies in Catching Fire and they’re caught stealing several steamy kisses throughout the two and a half hour movie.

Viewers will be caught by the infamous love triangle that tears Katniss between Gale and Peeta. Katniss and Gale’s relationship also endure transformations – with an exchange of kisses along the way. Katniss’s overwhelming desire to save Gale when he’s being publicly flogged suggests that she’s in love with him. This love triangle was difficult to watch because it makes you want to root for both men deserving of Katniss, and the chemistry is undeniable.

Effie, played by Elizabeth Banks, truly captures the character’s nurturing instincts. She cares about Katniss and Peeta so much. Viewers can tell that she disagrees and expresses sympathy for the pair who must endure the Hunger Games all over again. Effie’s emotions towards Katniss and Peeta, likewise, brought tears to my eyes.

Although the first Hunger Games movie remained true to its book counterpart, some fans were greatly displeased with the shaky camera effect. But fans can rest assured because Catching Fire has no aspect of a shaky camera and the filming is as steady as ever.

In the film, however, a third person perspective allows the audience to have a more omniscient view of the other characters. Viewers get a glimpse of the scheming President Snow when he conspires with Plutarch Heavensbee to eliminate Katniss. Having read the book, I caught on quickly to all the different plot elements introduced in the film. However, for those of you who haven’t read the book, the movie lacks an explanation when it comes to the uprising, revolutions and District 13. It’s because of this I suggest you read the book before seeing the movie, or attend the movie with someone who has read it so you can pick his or her brain for unanswered questions.

As a huge fan of this trilogy, I can say with confidence that fellow Hunger Games fans will not be disappointed with the book to movie adaptation.

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