Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Blew me away.
Please give me a moment to regain myself and collect my jaw from the ground. I’ll be honest, I loved The Hunger Games, and thought it was one heck of a tense thrill ride, but that came nowhere near the epicness that was brought forward in the sequel, Catching Fire. I fully expected the second film to be good, just not great, and certainly not perfect. The middle film is almost always worse than the first, but when they aren’t, that’s when you are in for a treat. For when a second film is better than the first, you usually have something incredible on your hands – films like The Empire Strikes Back, or The Dark Knight comes to mind as something you could compare this to. Quite simply put, I was in awe of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
After the 74th Annual Hunger Games were beaten by Katniss and Peeta, they are both set to go on a tour, giving eulogies for the districts who lost their champions. Of course they are given scripts and they have to continue to use a façade of being in love, if you could call it that. The thing is, they still hate the government, and are still a threat. Their symbol of hope, especially from Katniss, is making the districts have hope and gather strength to fight back. President Snow needs this to stop, so he orders the 75th Hunger Games into session and forces Katniss and Peeta back in to silence them – around them are the other enslaved victors of the previous Hunger Games. Everyone is pissed and everyone wants to take revenge on the government, but don’t know how. They are in a controlled room that clearly can kill that at any opportune moment.
It’s incredibly rare for me to say this, but the film is two and half hours long, and you can’t even tell. By the end scene, you have been so engrossed in the film that you really believe there is at least an hour left, and would have been happy to keep watching…but it ends abruptly, leaving you to collect your jaw from the floor. The movie is intense, so much more than the first film. There is more focus on the Hunger Games themselves, so it is more violent, yet still keeps to the tone of hope as the first. Even the Hunger Games has its own separate puzzle-of-a-plot that the gang have to figure out. The characters are more fleshed out, some characters that you hated before you now love, like Elizabeth Bank’s character.
Yes, my review is going to feel a bit like a rant, because I have physically been ranting and raving about this flick since I watched it. I had two and a half hours of sleep last night, and I feared I’d just pass out in the theater, but the film did not allow me to. I was woken up like that *snap*. The action is non-stop, the emotion runs high, and there is plenty of twist and turns along the way. I had no idea they would have to go into the Hunger Games again. I worried for the worst, because I didn’t want it to be the same movie, because it was heading in that direction. So basically, I sighed and said to myself – how does this further the story? What makes this different? Well, from the very beginning, you know it’s not going to be the same type of thing, everyone is now pissed at the government for this choice. Not only have that, but you soon begun to realize that this is very different, and very smart.
The symbol of hope is what this series is about, and I’ve said it before – Katniss is one of the best heroines I have ever seen in film history. To see her physically affect entire districts by her words and her actions in unforgettable, and to see her creating such a change is magnificent. You can totally see where this series is heading and if you’re like me, welcome it with open arms. I wasn’t expecting Catching Fire to be this good, but I can’t help how I felt about it. Ladies and gentlemen, on more than one occasion, I stopped breathing while watching this sequel. From my perspective, everything that needed to be, was upped a level. This one raised a bar that will either be met with Mockingjay or it won’t. There is no getting better than this perfect score. Now I’m angry that I have to wait so long for the next one.