Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Written By: Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 2 hr 6 min
Catching Fire is one of those rare beasts, a sequel that is actually a little better than the original! It takes the strengths of the first film and builds on that solid foundation, by upping the ante as past winners of the games are brought together to fight it out in the arena. And it does this without losing heart, thanks in no small measure to another great performance from Jennifer Lawrence.
The only weaknesses I found in the original film were the low-budget special effects, and the shaky camera work. Thanks to the success of that first film, the sequel benefits from an increased budget and the visual effects are first-rate, without becoming the only focus of the movie. The director, Francis Lawrence seems to have a much steadier hand behind the camera, and the action in Catching Fire is much easier to follow, and as a result, more exciting to watch.
Catching Fire does suffer from being the midway point in this franchise, and the end is a little anti-climactic and somewhat predictable (and I haven’t read the books). But the film does set us up nicely for the next two installments that conclude the story.
If you liked the first installment you’re probably going to like this one t0o. If you are new to the Hunger Games you should really start with the first film, and then take on the sequel. It won’t make much sense otherwise. This movie is rated PG-13 so the violence never gets too graphic.
The visual effects are better in the sequel, but there are very few big crowd pleasing moments. A digital matinée is recommended. At home, and HD showing. Watching this on anything portable is not recommended.
Best moment: << spoiler >>
My favorite scene is when the Jabberjays attack. They mimic the cries of loved ones, and attack Katniss en masse using her sisters voice.