Directed by Francis Lawrence
Based on Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Philip Seymour Hoffman
After their stunning victory in the Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson) have become targets of President Snow (Sutherland). As Katniss and Peeta become pawns in the government propaganda, a rebellion might be growing among the people of the districts.
This movie is the second installment from the popular Hunger Games book series written by Suzanne Collins. The film was directed by Francis Lawrence (Constantine). The screenplay was written by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3). The cast brings back a long list of talented actors including Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote). Oscar-nominated actors Woody Harrelson (Out ofthe Furnace) and Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada) are also features. The cast includes Josh Hutcherson (Bridge to Terabithia), Liam Hemsworth (The Last Song), and Donald Sutherland (Backdraft).
This story picks up shortly after the end of the last film. The writers do a nice job bringing the story up to speed quickly, and moving forward without the need for much overlap. The world of the film is nicely set up with action and dialogue. The tone of the film is also established quickly, and seems to stay true to the first film. (Having not read the books, I can’t comment on any aspects of the story as they relate to them.) Overall, this is an entertaining story that does what it needs to do to get through the film. Like many series movies, this clearly works more as a setup than a stand-alone movie.
The acting in this movie, much like the writing, does what you’d expect. This is a large world for a film, and the characters are all unique and slightly odd. This works nicely since the movie works in such a strange version of reality. The acting is pretty good from all of the stars of this one. Some of my favorite performances came from Harrelson and Sutherland. Harrelson brings his character new depth, evolving nicely from the first movie. Sutherland also seems to dig a bit deeper into the motives of his character. Overall, the acting helps to keep this entertaining.
The visuals in this movie are pretty impressive. The special effects and CGI seem to create a pretty realistic version of an unrealistic world. (I hope that makes sense.) I think that the technology of this story is brought to life with a visual realism that keeps this movie from feeling cheesy. The movie also has some great costumes and set design that keep this looking good. The film also features a good score, and sound work. Overall, this one does some good stuff.
This is a good movie, but I don’t think it’s much more than a one-time watch. While the series might need this movie, it doesn’t work on its own. I would recommend this to anyone who loves the books, or the other films. I would also suggest to the fans of the young stars in this one. I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.