Movie Review: Hunger Games: Catching Fire
When watching The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, I couldn’t stop thinking about the amount of makeup that was on Elizabeth Banks’ face, and wondering if her Alexander McQueen-designed costumes were incredibly uncomfortable. This comes after just watching the film classic What to Expect When You’re Expecting and the more acceptable (and great and girly) Pitch Perfect and let me tell you, Banks is often underappreciated for her versatility. While Jennifer Lawrence typically gets all the attention for The Hunger Games franchise, the supporting actors and actresses certainly earn their keep.
While most people like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire significantly more than the original Hunger Games, for me it fell significantly short. I admittedly have not read the books (sorry), so for me, The Hunger Games was refreshing, the whole concept new, and Lawrence fierce as Katniss. But The Hunger Games: Catching Fire seemed to be a prologue to the final installment (or final two movies, rather); it took too long to get to the ending, if you can call it that. And the games themselves didn’t seem as fresh or inventive as in the first movie; we don’t grow to care about the other tributes as much as we did before.
That makes it sound like I didn’t like the movie at all, and that’s not true; it just fell short with all the hype it’s been getting. My advice? See the first and the second in a row; the momentum will keep you going.
Stars: 3 out of 5
Stars in relation to the first Hunger Games: 2 out of 5
What to peruse before going: The first movie, because Catching Fire does a spotty job of filling you in if you haven’t seen it in a while. And Jennifer Lawrence’s new haircut.
…and Jeffrey Wright is great too, but what I really like about…
If The Hunger Games: Catching Fire doesn’t bother to make a film that is self-contained with a beginning and end, then they don’t reserve a review that does. Even when compared to other “middle” films in a series, Hunger Games: Catching Fire feels incomplete. It’s not a standalone movie in any regard: the beginning of the film is heavily reliant on the aftermath of the first film, and all of the conflict that is set up in this one is left unresolved ready for the next movie. The stand-alone quality of a film is one of the few elements that still distinguish it from most cinematic television, so on that regard the film is kind of frustrating. But even if Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a half-eaten entrée (desert not included), it still tastes pretty good. The cast is absolutely top tier and is absent of even one bad performance. Stanley Tucci and his Fabio hairdo are still the best thing about the Hunger Games movies, but all of the new additions to the cast hold their own as well, especially Philip Seymour Hoffman as the new game master. And while in the last film, we didn’t really get to know any of Katniss’ competitors, they are much more fleshed out this time. There are still some scenes that don’t really work (Jena Malone, best known as lady Donnie Darko has a pretty pointless scene where she gets naked in an elevator for no reason and with no consequence) and maybe it’s a mandatory requirement of entertainment aimed at the training bra crowd, but the love triangle isn’t nearly as interesting as anything else in the film. Still, it’s about as solid and well-crafted a piece of entertainment as you can really hope for from a big blockbuster and is still worth a recommendation (which is good, because you’ve most likely already seen it).
Stars: 3.5 out of 5
How does it compare to other films featuring deadly female heroes?
Worse than: Kill Bill (Volumes 1 and 2)
Better than: Salt