Of the three biggest and most popular book series among young adults in recent memory - Harry Potter, Twilight, and the Hunger Games – I have read just one, in Harry Potter. I thought the books were some of the best I’ve ever read, and the movies were quite good as well. The other two series though? Little to no interest is putting it nicely (especially Twilight). But just a few weeks ago, I watched the first Hunger Games movie, and it ended up being almost exactly what I expected: silly, strange, unimpressive effects, childish, and just mediocre overall. So I was more than pleasantly surprised this past weekend when I saw, and very much enjoyed, the Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
There are plenty of good things to say about this movie, but one of the biggest and best changes was the transition from a kid-friendly or childish kind of movie, towards a more intense, violent, and gripping film. There are plenty of scenes that really would make me think twice about taking a pre-teen to watch this, even if they’d read the books. A fair amount of credit would have to go to the director, Francis Lawrence, for taking the franchise in a more adult direction while staying true to the uber popular books (I was assured this was indeed the case).
While I still can’t get over the oddities and strangeness of parts of the movie (the party in the Capital, Elizabeth Banks, etc.), it has a serious amount of damn good actors and actresses that helped transform this fantasy world into something that felt much more real and gritty. Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland, and Philip Seymour Hoffman were all very, very good in their respective roles, and brought a certain legitimacy to the film. Jennifer Lawrence is one incredible young actress, who at age 23, is already an Oscar winner and lead of this worldwide phenomenon.
The special effects were improved, the story was darker and more intriguing, the acting was better, and it actually left me wanting to see the next installment in the series. When you combine all of those impressive aspects of a movie, it’s hard to say it was anything but good. Catching Fire was nothing that blew me away, but it was a tremendous amount of fun to watch and a healthy improvement over the first film in the Hunger Games trilogy.
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE: (out of 4)
Filed under: Movie review | Tagged: donald sutherland, elizabeth banks, francis lawrence, hunger games, jennifer lawrence, josh hutcherson, lenny kravitz, liam hemsworth, philip seymour hoffman, stanley tucci, the hunger games: catching fire, woody harrelson | Leave a Comment »