Thursday, January 30, 2014

PCP in Theaters - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I said back in my review of the first Hunger Games film that I hadn't yet read the books before seeing the film, a rarity for me. Since the first movie did so well that sequels were inevitable, I went out and read all of the books before seeing Catching Fire, the 2nd film (and book) in the series.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - 2013, rated PG-13. My rating: 8.5 out of 10.

The second film in the series picks up a few months after the events of the first. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence, who seriously never takes a day off because she's in like every movie these days) & Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), the winners of the previous year's Hunger Games, find that their defiance of the Capitol in the previous year's games has resulted in rebellions and riots forming and spreading throughout the twelve subjugated districts. When their victory tour, forced upon them for having won, fails to suppress but instead foments additional riots, the President of the Capitol is extremely displeased. He changes the rules for the next year's Hunger Games, forcing the duo back into the gladiatorial arena against their will, in a Hunger Games comprised solely of previous winners. In other words, all 24 people competing in the games have won the grisly fight to the death, so there are no newbies that have no clue what they are doing when the fighting begins.

The first two-thirds of the film focuses on the emerging rebellion, the Capitol's brutality contrasted with its wasteful decadence and shallowness, and Katniss' growing discomfort with herself becoming the symbol of a rebellion. The final third brings us back into the arena, but it shows far less of the combat than the previous film, for reasons that I am not going to spoil here. The film ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, which makes sense as it is the middle book of a trilogy (but in this case the films are going to be a foursome, as the final book Mockingjay is being split into two parts). But overall, if you liked the first film in the series, you'll enjoy this one more. Having gotten the character introductions primarily out of the way in the first film, the second film flows a lot better and doesn't drag as much as the first film did in places. I'm looking forward to parts 3 and 4, when they come out in November of 2014 and 2015.

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