The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Movie Review
Kidzworld reviews The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the second installment in The Hunger Games movie franchise. Is it true to the book? Will fans and newbies alike love it?
By: Lynn Barker
Katniss has settled in to her life in Victors' Village in her beloved 12th District. Working out her feelings for Peeta and Gale was her biggest concern. Then evil President Snow realized that Katniss might end up the leader of a revolution against the Capitol and threw her and Peeta back into more Hunger Games! This is how they treat the winners?
The Victory Tour
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) have returned home after winning the 74th Hunger Games but are off on a "Victors' Tour" of the districts just as evil President Snow beefs up security in the 12th District and warns Katniss that her trick to make both she and Peeta winners in the Games has made her an inspiration for a rebellion and he won’t have it.
The Fire Grows
In District 11, home of Rue, Katniss’ little ally in the games, her heartfelt tribute to Rue stirs an old man to whistle a special tune Katniss used in the games and gives her special salute to Rue which is picked up by the crowd. The man is killed for his rebellious behavior. Katniss and Peeta are freaked. Peeta proposes to Katniss hoping to draw attention away from the rebellion. Katniss of course accepts but the rebels have “caught fire”. On returning home, Katniss sees Gale horribly punished for not bowing to Snow and the invading soldiers’ will.
The new games will be a “Quarter Quell” with a twist. Snow has announced that old victors of the games will be brought back to fight to the death a second time! Everyone is shattered by the news. Katniss asks Haymitch to help her protect Peeta in the games and, of course, Peeta hopes he can protect her. The rebellion grows. In an appearance in the Capitol, Katniss’ stylist Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) dresses her in a bridal gown that morphs into the symbol of the rebellion, a mockingjay! Cinna pays dearly for his deed.
In the games, now staged in a saltwater, beach and jungle arena, Katniss and Peeta grow closer and become allies with Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) who survived the Games at the age of 14, and Mags, Finnick's 80-year-old mentor, both from District 4. Johanna Mason (Jena Malone) a feisty, loner victor from District 7 joins the good guys as well as Beetee and Wiress, an older duo from District 3 who are weird but very bright. Beetee’s plan to electrocute remaining tributes almost works but Katniss ends up directing lightning toward the force field containing the arena blowing it up but knocking herself out.
When Katniss wakes up, she is being transported to safety joined by Finnick, her mentor Haymitch and a surprise ally. She learns that Peeta and Johanna are prisoners in the Capitol and Gale is there to reveal that District 12 has been bombed and destroyed.
Loved this movie! It is a very close match to the novel and fans should be thrilled. Everything from the look of the Capitol to the various districts and the game arena is very well-executed. Katniss’ wedding gown that turns into a mockingjay costume is amazing.
Jennifer Lawrence again proves that she is a wonderful actress as she portrays Katniss’ evolution from reluctant semi-rebel to rebellion leader. Jena Malone impresses as the “nothing-to-lose” tribute Johanna and, for me, Sam Claflin is just fine as Finnick; giving the cocky, ladies’ man victor a little more humanity than realized in the novel. The wonderful Philip Seymour Hoffman and Donald Sutherland shine as gamemaker Heavensbee and creepy President Snow. Elizabeth Banks gets to show Effie Trinket’s human and sympathetic side as Effie balks at sending her young victors back into more games. Josh and Liam remain sympathetic and worthy suitors for Katniss as Peeta and Gale.
Direction and action sequences are fast-paced and exciting as the tributes move from area to area in the arena and fight a variety of challenging battles. I saw the film in IMAX which made it all the move enveloping. The themes of freedom versus governmental control and pop culture manipulation and the importance of personal courage are driven home very well. The odds are ever in your favor for enjoying this movie. We think Katniss and company hit the target. 5 stars!
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Movie Rating:
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is in theaters November 22nd!