THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
Liberty Is Worth Fighting For
Release Date: November 22, 2013
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Woody Harrelson, Alan Ritchson, Stanley Tucci, Willow Shields, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Donal Sutherland, Jeffery Wright, Stephanie Leigh Schlund, Paula Malcomson, Lenny Kravitz, Toby Jones, Lynn Cohen, Nelson Ascenicio
Genre: Science Fiction
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 146 Minutes
Distributor: Lionsgate Films
Director: Francis Lawrence
Address Comments To:Jon Feltheimer, CEO, Lionsgate Films AKA Lions Gate Films (Summit Entertainment/Roadside Attractions)
2700 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 449-9200; Fax: (310) 255-3870
CATCHING FIRE takes place after the safe return home of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). Both survived a last-man-standing gladiatorial event by pretending to be in love and defying the Capitol’s command to kill each other. Peeta’s love for Katniss is real, but she doesn’t feel the same way about him. Now, as the beloved winners of the games, Katniss and Peeta must embark on a “Victory Tour,” where they will speak at each of the government-oppressed 12 districts.
As Katniss and Peeta travel and pretend to be the couple that everyone wants to see, a divide grows between them of broken hearts and lost hope. Along with them is their drunken, but decent-hearted mentor, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), and the over-privileged Capitol born chaperone Effiie (Elizabeth Banks), who is also caring, but in her own way.
Katniss’s act of defiance in the games against the Capitol and its leader President Snow has marked her as an enemy of the state. However, the citizens are so in love with Katniss and Peeta, that any harm Snow does to them would cause a revolution. So, his head game-master devises a plan to destroy Katniss’s image before tension in the district goes out of control. His plan is, at the 75th Hunger Games event, to choose past hunger games winners and have them re-compete for their lives in the deadliest Hunger Games ever conceived. The announcement of the new Hunger Games devastates Katniss and Peeta, who simply want to go about their lives and keep their separate families safe.
It soon becomes clear that their bravery and supposed love is sparking a revolution. Katniss has become a symbol of hope for all the 12 districts.
Will Katniss and Peeta survive the 75th Hunger Games? Will a revolution bring danger to everyone Katniss and Peeta hold dear? Most of all, will Katniss overcome her own personal demons of fear, anger, confusion, and past savagery that haunts her day and night?
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE is very close to the book in its adaptation, maybe even to a fault. In the beginning, the movie gives viewers very little foresight into the direction the story is taking them. It merely shows the relationships and tensions between several of the characters. This makes the movie feel episodic at times. Another misstep in the writing is that a large section of the movie is very, very similar to the first movie. In a book with a first person point of view, this may be fine, but in a movie, it feels repetitive.
That said, CATCHING FIRE is much more engrossing than its predecessor in both the visual element and the characters’ journey. Like the book, the complex romantic relationship between Katniss and Peeta is sappy at points, but it’s much less melodramatic than other popular young adult fiction.
The first HUNGER GAMES caused a lot of controversy because of its depiction of children killing other children in brutal ways. CATCHING FIRE, though intense and violent, doesn’t have any children participating in the Hunger Games event. In fact, most of movie revolves around the 12 districts slowly leaving their passivity and choosing to stand up against the government’s oppression of the free market trade and its brutal persecution of men and women. The defiance of the Capitol’s militaristic wickedness aligns with the biblical, patriotic, capitalist ideals on which America was founded.
Also, the two main characters, Katniss and Peeta, exhibit moral worldviews of self-sacrifice, fighting evil, teamwork, and protecting the elderly. A pro-life sentiment is made when a contestant is said to be pregnant, and everyone is shocked and appalled. This is mixed with some Romanticism as Katniss struggles between affection for both Peeta and her lifelong male friend at home, Gale.
Though not as graphic as the first movie, the violence in CATCHING FIRE is still intense and has some brutal moments. Happily, the director turns the camera away from certain violent actions and stays away from excessive gore. The scenes are still harrowing, however. That intensity, along with some scary images, brief foul language and one indecent scene warrant strong caution for THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE.
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE is more engrossing than the first movie. However, while the characters are engaging, the story structure is episodic and sometimes repetitive. Nevertheless, the movie has a strong moral worldview. For example, the fight is against a tyrannical big government stifling liberty and the free market. Also, moral values like self-sacrifice and protecting the elderly are extolled. Finally, the violence is extremely intense, with some brutal moments, but it’s not as graphic as the first movie. The violence, some scary images, brief foul language and one indecent scene warrant strong caution for THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE.