Skip to main content

New Promo For #LADYBIRD

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review. Makes A Strong Case For Being Better Than The Original.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review
By: MattInRC

The thoroughly enjoyable The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a gut punch that might be too much for younger audiences.

Sequels - and particularly sophomore efforts in a series - are hard to pull off. Expectations ran too high with Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, and in many ways Iron Man 2 and 3 have suffered the same fate. Others - like the predictable Grown Ups 2 - never grow beyond their scope, content to churn out a perfect duplicate while raking in the cash. Luckily, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire doesn't rest on the laurels of its older brother and excels in every way possible, delivering a powerful swing of the axe to our characters that reminds us of The Empire Strikes Back.

Set three months after the 74th Hunger Games, Fire shows us that not all is well across the 12 districts: protests and violent responses by The Capitol City and its dictator President Snow (Donald Sutherland) are on the rise, as is a growing rebellion unintentionally inspired by Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), who beat all odds in the games to emerge victorious. Although they now live in greater comfort than ever before, the seeds of hatred against Snow have been germinating within our heroes, who soon learn the price of winning the games. The citizens of District 12 are similarly angry, and a victory tour turns violent and deadly throughout the Districts as all of Panem seems on the edge of war. Fellow Tribute Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) tries to keep Peeta and Katniss focused, but even he and their publicist/escort Effie (Elizabeth Banks) sense something darker is being planned.

It's not long before Snow hires Head Gamemaker Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to craft a deadly 75th Game, that will pit Katniss and Peeta against former winners, all of whom harbor deep resentment at being recalled. These past winners are a new breed, and their resumes read like a rap sheet: among them, there's the psychopath Johanna (Jenna Malone), the playboy Finnick (Sam Clafin), and the techie Beetee (Jeffry Wright). With Katniss at the lead, they ally to turn the games on their ear, without knowing that other forces are at work to bring the revolution to a full boil.

Catching Fire is not merely another distopian commentary on a world gone mad with dictatorial power; there's so many appealing layers here, brought to us via a shakeup in the creative team, with Francis Lawrence stepping into the director's chair and bringing Writers Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt along for the ride. The result is a powerful film that's broken into two parts: the first, a deep political tale that sees Katniss dragged further down the rabbit hole, unable to stop Snow and unwilling to lead the rebellion; and an action-packed second filled with deadly mist and angry animals, all wrapped up in a tropical house or horror. We think the best way to enjoy this series is not to read the books until afterwards, for the excitement and surprises contained within certainly made their effects more pronounced for the uninitiated. This is a deeper, darker tale that feels more like a punch to the gut than a triumphant escape for our heroes. Such things will have an effect on younger children, and violent scenes of people being whipped or beaten to death might be too much for them, along with the long run time. But, it's appreciated that Lawrence and his creative team have made a commitment to telling as much of this story as possible. Our tours through the Districts and Capitol City are enlightening, as these provide an important backbone to understanding just how destitute and ludicrous things have become before it all goes bad.

Lawrence, Harrelson, and Sutherland seem to relish in their roles, fueling Beaufoy and Arndt's very good script with terrific performances, while introducing new faces like Hoffman, Malone, and Clafin, all of whom shine early and often. Clafin slides effortlessly into Finnick, reflecting a good mix of arrogance and total commitment to winning the games. We also loved the return of over-the-top television host Caesar (the great Stanley Tucci), who thinks he's more important than Katniss or even the games themselves. Lawrence has certainly upped the ante here, delivering a sequel that might actually outdo the original.

Granted, no film is perfect, and Catching Fire does feature a litany of undeveloped faces that meet untimely ends wrapped within a couple of predictable moments. But, these are small and never demean the effort, which is as impressive as anything we've seen all year. Catching Fire's cautionary tale about assuming you know enough about your enemy to win makes for great watching, but go see it for its many other strengths as well. It gets a strong endorsement from us. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, and suggestive situations and language, and has a runtime of 146 minutes.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

Please Leave A Comment-


Popular posts from this blog

Morbius: The Living Vampire Film In The Works

The Spider spin-offs keep on coming! With Venom now shooting, an even more obscure character from the web-slinger's extensive comicbook past has now been unearthed, with plans for a movie. Power Rangers writing duo Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless are in talks to craft the script for Morbius: The Living Vampire.

Sony is pushing ahead with another potential Spider-movie, which, like Venom, is unlikely to be linked to the MCU. What it will boast, however, is the story of Michael Morbius, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who tries to cure a rare blood disease using an experimental treatment that combines electroshock therapy and vampire bats. The results are predictably catastrophic, and he's transformed into... well, the title should be a clue. He has some of the traditional vampiric qualities – he ingests blood to live, and conversely is not fond of bright light. He can fly, has superhuman strength and healing capabilities. When he bites victims and drinks their blood, his attac…

Enter For A Chance To Win A Family Four Pack To See COCO In Minnesota

© 2017 Disney/Pixar Enter for your chance to win a family four pack to see COCO in Minnesota on November 15th at 7:30PM.

In Disney•Pixar’s “Coco,” aspiring musician Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) teams up with charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal) on an extraordinary journey through the Land of the Dead.

In theatres November 22!


Facebook: /PixarCoco
Twitter: @pixarcoco
Hashtag: #PixarCoco

While supplies last. Once all allotted passes are redeemed, the code will no longer be valid. Supplies are limited.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Limit one (1) admit-two pass per person. This film is rated PG. Must be 13 years of age or older to win passes. Employees of all promotional partners and their agencies are not eligible. Void where prohibited. Entries must be received by [12:00PM], [11-19-2017] to be eligible to receive pass. Winners will be contacted via e-mail to receive their pass. Sponsors not responsible for…

Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To See DARKEST HOUR In Dallas

Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To See DARKEST HOUR on December 5th at 7:00 PM in Dallas

During the early days of World War II, with the fall of France imminent, Britain faces its darkest hour as the threat of invasion looms. As the seemingly unstoppable Nazi forces advance, and with the Allied army cornered on the beaches of Dunkirk, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the leadership of the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman). While maneuvering around his political rivals, he must confront the ultimate choice: negotiate with Hitler and save the British people at a terrible cost or rally the nation and fight on against incredible odds. Directed by Joe Wright, DARKEST HOUR is the dramatic and inspiring story of four weeks in 1940 during which Churchill’s courage to lead changed the course of world history.