The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Caching Fire, the sequel to last year’s March hit The Hunger Games, is a pretty decent follow up. It really does feel like just a continuation of the story but with its own narrative, much like the Harry Potter films did. And like the Harry Potter films, the quality is proving to be pretty consistent.
Katniss and Peeta are now celebrities in this dystopian future and are trying not to further inflame the rebellion which they inadvertently started. They do so by pretending they are in love. Okay lets stop here, since this is something I have a big problem with. This fake love triangle thing they’ve got going on, is that interesting to anyone? It sure inst to me. Its certainly not convincing and doesn’t work as any sort of a narrative engine.
That aside, the conflict between wanting rebellion and not wanting war is interesting enough. It culminate into another round of Hunger Games which sees Katnisss trying to survive in the jungle this time. These games are more about her vs. the environment than her against the other people, but it works all the same. And its different enough from the first that it manages to stay fresh. However, one big problem with the games is that there are absolutely zero audience reactions. There aren’t even any commentaries from Stanley Tucci. This seems to lower the stakes too much and doesn’t give a global perspective to what’s happening.
Catching Fire has a few turn offs. The running time is one of them. It simply goes on a little too long, especially before the games. This is probably a direct complication from adapting the book, since they want to make fans happy by including as much a possible. Unfortunately its at the expense of the films pacing.
Some of the supporting characters are also pretty poor, which is likely another adaptation problem since some sillier characters just dont translate well to film. I’m thinking specifically about the “scientist” characters played by Jeffrey Wright and Amanda Plumber. Plumber in particular gives an awful, annoying, irritating performance. (Just like her role in Pulp Fiction now that I think of it…)
But those faults still fall short of ruining the movie. Its still a pretty good story, and the sparks of rebellion are a good hook. I must say that I particularly liked the ending, though I’m not going to spoil it here. Jennifer Lawrence gives a solid performance and is becoming pretty comfortable with her character. So its a great sequel if you enjoyed the first film. If you didn’t don’t bother, since this is very similar in story and quality.