Welcome to Hungerdome!!! Here's our review of Catching Fire
The epic story of Katniss Everdeen and The Hunger Games continues in this week's release of Catching Fire. Of the first two movies, this is definitely the weaker of the pair. As its a much darker continuation of the story, its a daunting hour long task to get through the first half of the movie. It's slow, emotionally draining, mildly brutal and altogether lacking some of the traits that made the first such an outstanding adaptation from novel to screen.
Much of the first half feels extremely similar and seems like a retread of much of The Hunger Games. Never having read the books, I'm really not qualified to judge on all the similarities between the original and the sequel other than what I saw happening on the screen. But, there was a strong feeling that I had been here before, only this time the exposition is dragged out to patience wearing proportions.
However, its still far beyond most other sequels that we've seen. After getting through the long winded first act, Catching Fire kicks in with another beautifully rendered environment in which our main characters will once again battle to the death. Many of the visuals are miles beyond what we saw in The Hunger Games. The action is captivating while the death scenes are never too gruesome for anyone over the age of ten.
There is strong character advancement that's taken place between The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. The overall perception is that Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark have changed from innocent teens thrown into an all out death match to harder, much more skilled competitors that know how to react in almost any situation. This was the stand out detail of the film. For once, audiences are treated to a franchise that's developing their characters from movie to movie instead of just giving us boring hero archetypes that plateaued along with the first franchise entry.
In the realm of sequels, Catching Fire is about the best you're going to get. Yet, it's still not a GREAT movie. It left much to be desired. At times the movie feels like it's too slow and at others it feels rushed. More time in the arena would have made it a bit more satisfying and a much more rounded film to the casual viewer like myself. Too much build up leads to not enough time spent watching people savagely kill each other. What this movie needed was much more violence. America!
- Review by Chris George