Monday, November 25, 2013

Catching Fire (2013): A much better, more sizzling Hunger Games

The girl on fire is back with unlimited arrows

"Eyes bright, chins up, smiles on. I'm talking to you Katniss." Still sulky, still independent, still a pain in the ass - it's so fun to watch Katniss Everdeen (played by the ever so charming Jennifer Lawrence) annoy the hell out of President Snow and his Stormtroopers - er, Peace Keepers, once again.. and kick some baboon's ass. 

"Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem."
Directed by:  Francis Lawrence (Constantine, I Am Legend)
Screenplay by:  Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire),
                       Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine)
Cinematography by:  Jo Willems
Music by:  James Newton Howard (Batman Begins, The Bourne Legacy)
Running Time:  146 mins

One of the movie's greater strengths is its wonderful cast. I love JLaw, no doubt about that. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, who is now cuddle-worthy in my eyes, is still such a damsel in distress. What a Disney princess! Liam Hemsworth playing Gale Hawthorne is surprisingly less exposed - I couldn't care less because he's just a tad cardboard-y. Elizabeth Banks as my favorite Effie Trinket, now given more character & human emotions, is awesome - though, I still have that fantasy of Helena Bonham-Carter playing this role. Woody Harrelson as the alcoholic District 12 mentor, Haymitch Abernathy, is fortunately more developed in this movie. He was painfully boring in the first installment, so I'm glad he's a bit more 3D now, though I was hoping to see the part where he won the hunger games during his time. Lenny Kravitz as Cinna (as cool as ever) plays a subtle but substantial part in the film. Donald Sutherland as President Snow is as chilling as his character's name. Stanley Tucci as the adorably fake Caesar Flickerman is one of the film's highlights which never fails to entertain me. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Game Maker Plutarch Heavensbee, and that's just cool. I also love the cute tandem of Sam Claflin & Lynn Cohen as the tributes from District 4 - Finnick Odair & Mags, respectively. I have no complaints with the additions to the cast. They all did great. But the one that stood out really is Jena Malone as the angry chick Johanna Mason. Would have loved to see more screen time for her. That elevator scene was hilarious! :)

Donald Sutherland as President Snow
Mags and Finnick:  It's a mentor kind of love

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee

"The deal was that if I won the Hunger Games,
I get to live the rest of my life in peace.
But now, you wanna kill me again. You know what? F*ck that!"
That expression hahahaha!
I have said that I adore Jennifer Lawrence. The only slightly negative thing I've noticed is her cheeks. Did she have botox? In some scenes or angles she reminded me of Snooki. O_O

Francis Lawrence sitting in the director's chair seems to be a good choice (but it would have been interesting if David Cronenberg or Alfonso Cuaron, who were also considered, have been chosen). But I'm happy with Lawrence's work.  Catching Fire is a huge improvement over Gary Ross' The Hunger Games. The returning cast did a way better job than what they did in the first movie. Screenplay was essentially faithful to the book. Of course changes were made, but that's necessary. I have no complaints regarding that. 

Obviously it has a bigger budget which is evident with CF's CGI and overall set pieces & costumes. And I definitely love the parade scene. Looks more realistic & bad-ass as compared to the first one where it's a bit too green-screened. 

That poison fog/water scene made me cringe a bit. They looked kind of silly - moaning like that. One of the movie's unintentionally funny scenes. 

There's also a scene where it was too dark, it made my eyes hurt (I actually need to get new glasses, so maybe that's the reason), and some parts tend drag on or rather a bit stagnant, but apart from that, I have enjoyed this film basically because of the cast. 

While I did like the first installment, I found it lacking in content and impact (especially with the treatment of some characters) with a bit of bad CGI here and there (you can read my THG review here)Catching Fire just upped the ante in all aspects. I may not be a hardcore fan of the books and first film, but this one made me an excited follower of the upcoming sequels. Mockingjay Part 1 will be shown on November 2014, and Part 2 on 2015 - that's too damn long! 
Can't wait for Mockingjay! -_-
MY RATING: A sizzling 4/5 - It's not a perfect film nor is it a perfect fantasy/sci-fi story - but considering its source material, they can only do so much, and they did more than enough, more than I've expected.  And I left the cinema satisfied. 

Who's your favorite character in this movie?

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1 comment:

  1. This is the movie where in i can't stop watching it lol. I already watched the movie more than 5 times now lol. I love the katness you guys can watch it too




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