Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

We found "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" to be an interesting and exciting installment in the series. The second plot picks up shortly after Katniss and Peeta's winning the annual games, just before they are to set out on the mandatory "victory tour." Katniss is not dealing well with her post-traumatic stress or with trying to balance her public romance with Peeta with her genuine feelings for Gale (Liam Hemsworth). The pressure on her increases when she gets a personal visit from the sinister President Snow (Donald Sutherland), who demands that she convince the populace that her winning stratagem was in fact done out of love for Peeta and not to outwit the system, since she has unwittingly become a rallying point for dissatisfaction and potential new revolution. So, the emotional stakes are ramped up even before the devastating announcement that she must endure the murderous games again.

Jennifer Lawrence, reprising her role as Katniss Everdeen, does a fine job expressing the horror of living under a government that has given up pretending it is not an oppressor, while maintaining the Kafkaesque pretension that it plays fairly with its victims. Ms. Lawrence portray Katniss' anger, despair, and determination, while keeping her character believably youthful and vulnerable.

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mullark gives another stalwart and sensitive performance, and we get to see some depths from both Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, and Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket. Although the competing Tributes are mainly one-dimensional, seeing them makes them more real, although most of them get less action and dialog than in the novel. (Georgie was displeased with the role of Mags, the old woman Tribute, which adds to the stereotype that the old are only burdens until it is time to sacrifice themselves. It's been a while since I read the book, but I was pretty sure she had more to do in print--.)

Effects and production values are maintained, with some amazing costume and makeup designs, making for a satisfying visual experience.

That being said, I'm not thrilled about the prospect of the final book becoming two movies. Although there are two distinct parts to it, I don't really think that there was enough plot in Mockingjay to sustain two movies. But, I'll reserve judgment on the films until we have a better idea how they are done.

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