Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Catching Fire

Title: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Genre: Fantasy/Adventure/Sci-Fi

Director: Francis Lawrence

Studio: Lionsgate

Run Time: 146 minutes

Cert: 12A (UK)

Release Date: November 21/22
(Depending on where you were)

My Rating: 5/5

After winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen returns home to District 12 along with fellow victor Peeta Mellark. Shortly after returning home, they must embark on a "Victory Tour" of the districts to celebrate their win, leaving behind their close friends and family again. But little do they know they will have to go back into the arena with the past winners. On the day of the Victory Tour, President Snow threatens Katniss' best friend and pretend cousin, Gale Hawthorne, outraged after she and Peeta broke the rules of the 74th Hunger Games that allowed them both to win. During the tour, Katniss senses that a rebellion is brewing in the districts, but the Capitol is still firmly in control as Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games, known as a Quarter Quell, an event taking place every 25 years – a competition that could change Panem forever.

In this Hunger Games, the tributes will be reaped from the existing pool of victors, making all the other Games look like child's play. As Peeta and Katniss end up in the arena again (as the only victors of District 12 with the exception of Haymitch), this time surrounded by experienced and vicious victors, President Snow is determined to eliminate them and destroy the rays of hope and the sparks of rebellions brewing up in the Districts. Now Katniss and Peeta must do whatever it takes to defeat their foes and come out on top once again and ignite the flames of rebellion in Panem.

I can't even begin to put in words how excited I was to see this movie. Sure you could probably see that from all the previous hunger games-related posts that led up to the eventual premiere! Anyway, I just want to start, straight out, by saying that I had unbelievably high hopes for this movie, and it met almost if not all of them!

Before going to the midnight screening, I read a summary, very detailed summary, of the book and surprisingly, the beginning was one of the most memorable parts for me, and seeing that played out on the big screen was near perfection! I'm not talking about when Gale and Katniss harass the poor turkeys, no, but when Katniss goes back to the Victors' village and Haymitch is just flat out of it at his kitchen table. It stuck in my head because, for some strange reason, it's one of the few scenes I felt I could imagine with ease, and the scene in the actual film was identical to the one in my head! It was just a great way to start a film, but it's probably also a reason some fans, who hadn't read the trilogy, didn't pay much attention to the beginning.

Personally, the events of the movie flew by and I had to go see the film a second time before I could form any comprehensible thoughts haha!

Anyway, following was the series of political happenings, like Snow's unexpected visit, the Victor tour, which I was surprised at how well it came out, the clips of uprisings in the Districts and then finally, the Quarter Quell announcement that left even the mighty Haymitch speechless!

I loved how you really got to see

 into the characters of Plutarch

and Snow with their little deep

meaningful chats! Haha

It really added depth to the characters, well more so Plutarch I think, and it would have made for an even bigger surprise, for those who haven't read the book, at the end of the movie.

Ah the grand celebratory party at the Capitol, for Effie's two angels..

Elizabeth Banks is absolutely brilliant with her role, in this scene especially. She stays so true to the character, that when Effie says something funny and the whole cinema starts to chuckle, you really believe it's her speaking and not just an actress saying her lines. Know what I mean?

I thought she absolutely captivated the audiences be it with her snappy demands, her mini panic attacks, or her genuine teary moments when she realises she has to say goodbye to Katniss and Peeta.

Truly plausible!

Speaking of great character performances, can we just realise and appreciate, for a moment, both Cinna and Lenny Kravitz! They're so alike it's uncanny! It's like Cinna is Lenny's honest reflection.
 They're both so unbelievably creative and intriguing, that you can't help but like them! 

I mean, come on, look at Katniss' wedding dress-turned-mockingjay getup, for pete's sake! I know it obviously not real and she's not really on fire and blah blah blah, but the ideas Cinna has are so unique, every new creation a work of art. I won't go into too much depth as to why I love his character, but I will say that, even though I saw it coming from the beginning of the movie, Cinna's being beaten up was pretty sad.

Everything from the tribute parade, the training, and actual games that is, is still a haze of pure euphoria for me, because it was just my absolute favourite part of, not just Catching Fire, but the whole trilogy! The directing from the tribute parade, and cinematography, were no less than strokes of genius. Everything was so much more vivid, much clearer and brighter. Definitely an improvement from the last movie!

Now here's where I rave about Jennifer Lawrence. Josh, Sam and Jenna also of course! But mainly Jennifer! The fact that the happenings in these games are obviously not real, makes the actor or actress' job even more difficult, because they have less to work with. But Jennifer Lawrence made it all look far too easy, she was that good.

Take the poisonous fog for example. I heard in a Francis Lawrence interview that he actually described to Jen and the others, as they acted out the scenes, where certain things were and the reaction needed from them, so on and so forth. But when I heard that, I was kinda surprised, because when you're watching the movie, and Katniss goes to touch the fog, it's so convincing that you don't really think to question how Jennifer acted that out behind the scenes you know?

The same for when the jabberjays were attacking Katniss and Finnick. The way they made it look, it was almost as if they used real birds and actually had to run and duck away from them like they did in the movie! Also noteworthy, might I quickly add, was Jena Malone as Johanna. She was badass to the core and freaking amazing to watch!

Across the board this movie scored full marks with me. It stayed true to the book, was well acted out and visually, was absolutely stunning! The way Francis handled the quick-paced ending, yet still made sure to keep the audience in the know, was excellent, and I'd say everyone could enjoy this movie. Young, old, fans and non-fans of the books, everyone.

I proudly award this brilliant film with a 5 out of a possible 5. Though there were one or two moments in the film that I thought were a bit unnecessary, like the one too many of these..

But I didn't think it was reason enough to dock any points off the film. Personally the film of the year. It'll definitely reel in some big bucks in the box office, that's for sure! Haha

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