The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
A Bad Movie Studios Film Review
I’m going to try to keep this review short. Usually I would go into detail over a few pages worth of text what I thought of a film, but I’ll have another review coming out shortly and then a Best of 2013 thing that I’m gonna do. And I just put out the review on The Wrestler a few days ago, so I don’t want to over crowd myself with work. It is the holidays after all.
So, the Hunger Games. I heard about the books a few years ago, and remember thinking that if they were so popular that I’d see them go the way of Harry Potter sooner rather than later. And wouldn’t you know it, they did. The Hunger Games film franchise has grossed over a billion dollars so far. That’s impressive since the series is only half way through it’s four film run (the third book is being turned into two movies, a la Harry Potter: The Deathly Hollows). I saw the first film (simply titled) The Hunger Games when it released last year (2012) and I had heard a lot of good things about it. Well, to give you a short statement about what I thought, it was okay. I thought it was very reminiscent to the Japanese film Battle Royale. It focuses around a similar premise as The Hunger Games, and actually predates the release of the first book in the series. Anyway, I liked the idea, the presentation was pretty cool, and there was a good supporting cast in it. My gripes about the film were mostly that I thought it felt too long and that Jennifer Lawrence’s character felt dull. And don’t even get me started on that useless bastard Peeta. I didn’t think that Josh Hutchinson did an impressive job with the role, and felt that the character was really bothersome and never developed properly. Now before I go any further, let me be clear that I have not read any of the books. I know things are going to be different anyway and that the transition in mediums calls for change. But that shouldn’t have any impact towards how I feel about the film. It’s its own thing and should be viewed as such.
Okay, now let me get to the actual subject of the review, Catching Fire. Well, I can immediately say that there were some definite improvements in the sequel and one’s that I was very pleased with. Mostly they revolve around the introduction of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the larger focus on the supporting characters. I liked the cast in the first film, and like it even more in the second. I like Woody Harrelson , thought Lenny Kravitz did a good job, felt the same about Stanley Tucci, and I love Elizabeth Banks. I also love Donald Sutherland, I pretty much can’t complain about him in anything. So it was nice to see their characters given more screen time in this film. It helped break up the moments in the movie that focused on Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss and Josh Hutchinson’s Peeta. And as I mentioned before, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s addition was the stand out feature in this movie. He did a fantastic job, absolutely stealing the show for me. His presence and delivery were just 100% perfect. Those though, are largely the only real improvements that I felt were made in the film. It still felt longer than it needed to be, taking a long time for the plot to move along, and retreading a lot of the same things of the first film. Also, even thought they are the main characters, I find Katniss and Peeta to be mostly unlikable. Katniss comes across as dull, and uninteresting. Peeta is worse for me. I genuinely don’t like him. He’s more bearable in Catching Fire, but still retains this “dead weight” aspect that he had in Hunger Games. From what I’m told, he’s supposed to be a bit like that, so I guess I can’t really complain if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. But that doesn’t make me like him any.
Something else that bothers me about this series, is the lack of pacing on character development. Aspects of characters personalities and things that become important to the story (mind you, I mean the movie and not the book) are just glossed over. And when change is made, it’s abrupt and there’s no build up to it. It’s annoying when I’m supposed to understand that Peeta is strong, but they never indicate that he is. Or that I’m supposed to understand that Gail (Liam Hemsworth) and Katniss are having deep relationship problems, when I’ve only really just been introduced to the fact that problems in their relationships exist.
Overall, I wouldn’t say that The Hunger Games: Catching fire, is a bad movie. But it’s definitely flawed and I would say that its overrated as well. It isn’t a must see, gold encrusted jewel from the treasure vaults of Xerxes, but it isn’t a terrible watch if you can stomach it’s length. Sp I suppose, give it a watch if you liked the first one. But if you only thought it was “meh” like me, then there’s a lot better you can do with your time for 2 and a half hours.
Final Score – 6.5/10
- Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Guest Post) (moviefail.com)
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (denobis.wordpress.com)
- Review: The Hunger Games – Catching Fire (2013) (zuts.wordpress.com)
- THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE movie review (nishitsingh.wordpress.com)