The Hunger Games: Catching Fire-2013
Starring-Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson
Scott’s Review #1
Reviewed June 16, 2014
I confess to not having read any of the Hunger Games books so I am critiquing the film on its film merits only with no knowledge of the books. Interestingly, I graded the first Hunger Games film a B- and that is what I am giving this one, almost for the same reason.
The first hour of the film sets up the second hour, but it is unnecessarily drawn out. In fact, at times it’s slightly dull. The meat of the film then takes off and the film is quite good though the film still does not completely hold my attention throughout.
First and foremost, Jennifer Lawrence is the best part of the film- she has the charisma and likability to carry it off. The chemistry between the 2 leads (Lawrence and Hutcherson) is there so there is certainly rooting value for the couple. The third part of the triangle is weak (Liam Hemsworth has far too little screen time to make him a viable rooting factor). Donald Sutherland is wonderful as the evil President, but Philip Seymour Hoffman seems to phone in his performance and the character is not all that intriguing.
The mood of the film and visuals (fog, train sequences) are great- there is modern darkness to the film and the premise and wondering who will die next during the games is interesting. The somewhat twist at the end was effective.
To summarize: nice characters/acting, great looking film, mediocre story and slow pacing in the first act.