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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - 12/11/2013 12:01:11 AM   
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Post #: 1
RE: Pt 1 overcomes poor source material - 13/11/2013 10:00:51 AM   


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I think it's unfair to say that the source material is poor. The first two books are actually very well written, and hurtle along at a dizzying pace until it all gets a bit mired down in the third book. They're certainly better structured than the majority of YA fiction, and while there may be some clear similarities to other works, it has - I think - successfully become very much its own animal. To be honest I can't think of many truly original works released in recent times, can you?

I'm very much looking forward to seeing this. The major aspect I think the book needed improving on was the political side (understandable, given it is written all from Katniss' perspective). I'm hoping the film expands upon this over the dopey love triangle thing - it's certainly a medium that can build on its source material.
Post #: 2
Bye-bye, Miss Dystopian Pie... - 23/11/2013 5:52:04 PM   

Posts: 257
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From: Oxford, UK
If you enjoyed the first movie, you'll get a lot out of Catching Fire. It's a great expansion of the story, and earnestly told. It's just not for me; I didn't connect with any of the characters emotionally, so after that it's just a guessing game of who'll die next...


More reviews and rambling like that ^^^ at: >>> <<<

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Post #: 3
RE: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - 23/11/2013 6:25:42 PM   


Posts: 355
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With the success of the Twilight Saga at the back of the teen film craze, it’s no wonder that Suzanne Collins’ trilogy of young-adult dystopian sci-fi is currently making its way on screen with the first book simply titled The Hunger Games came out last year, the second book Catching Fire is finally released while the final book Mockingjay is being adapted into two films. But right now, let’s focus on number two.

After winning the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) go off on a victory tour throughout Panem whilst pretending to be a celebrity couple for the pleasure of the Capitol. During the tour, Katniss witnesses the start of the rebellion inspired by her actions in the Games, which causes displeasure from President Snow (Donald Sutherland). As for Katniss and Peeta return to the Games which is now in its 75th Anniversary Quarter Quell games in which only previous champions will compete.

Adapting the second of Collins’ novels – which is not without its flaws – as well as a change of director from Gary Ross to Water for Elephants’ Francis Lawrence (no relation to Jennifer), does Catching Fire capture that same fire like its predecessor? While this film does somewhat the same beats as the story is almost like a build-up to the arena, the differences from before is what triumphs the film.

Part two is at its best even before the start of the Games as the story deals with the aftermath of the events of the last film, as Katniss is reluctantly the highlight in many forms for everyone in Panem. For the districts she is the mockingjay, symbol for the revolution, for the Capitol she is one half of a celebrity relationship that defined the 74th Games and perhaps the future, and for President Snow she is the threat that has to be eliminated.

The idea of the protagonist becoming the face of the Games so to speak is a well-worn sci-fi one, but Katniss being a great heroine – with the brilliant Jennifer Lawrence capturing her fear, vulnerabilities and talent with a bow and an arrow – you are engaged by her journey leading to either life or death. Any real connection between this franchise and Twilight is the love triangle is the main teen appeal for both series. In the case of The Hunger Games, while there are certainly pleasant dialogue scenes between Katniss, Peeta and Gale, it’s not as strong as the teen audience would want.

With the first film being about a group of children killing each other which evokes the Japanese masterpiece Battle Royale, the tributes this time are past winners, being played by known actors such as Jena Malone in scene-stealing fashion as Joanna Mason. Outside of the arena, the supporting cast includes Donald Sutherland who continues to be slimy and sinister as President Snow, while Philip Seymour Hoffman displays a level of mystery in his role as the new gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee.

Stepping into Suzanne Collins’ dystopian world that was wonderfully cinematically established by Gary Ross, franchise newcomer Francis Lawrence steps into this world nicely and expands on it, i.e. the districts, more detailed cityscapes of the Capitol and a brand new arena that has to be seen in IMAX. While the action sequences from its predecessor suffered a bit from the “shaky-cam” effect, Lawrence doesn’t fall into this trap as the action here is more crystal clear whilst providing shocking moments towards its contenders. Being the middle chapter of a trilogy, the film does not have an ending per se, but a rushed climax that just stops, rather than nicely resolved.

While it suffers from flaws that were from its source material, this is a rare case of the film better than the book as Catching Fire is a more triumphant work than its predecessor in terms of pace and action, while Jennifer Lawrence continues to shine.

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Post #: 4
RE: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - 25/11/2013 9:23:17 PM   
Dr Lenera


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After winning the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark return home to District 12, but have to embark on a ‘Victor’s Tour’ of the districts. On the day they are due to begin their touring, Katniss is visited by President Snow, who explains that when she defied the Capitol by breaking the rules so that she and Peeta both survived the last Hunger Games, she inspired rebellions in districts and now must continue to pretend to be in love with Peeta or her family will be killed. They do their tour and see firsthand that an uprising is brewing, then Peeta proposes to Katniss in public. Snow, watching them, reads out that the 75th Hunger Games will be the Quarter Quell, an event taking place every 25 years in which a new rule is added to the game: contestants will be reaped from the existing pool of victors….

The Hunger Games surprised me, to be honest. I mistakenly got the impression it was another Twilight, and was fully prepared to mock it and tear it apart in my review for that film. Instead, I ended up praising more than criticising, even if there were still considerable flaws, mostly from Gary Ross’s shoddy direction, and of course it’s all a teen orientated version of the far superior Japanese movie Battle Royale. There was noise made about an American remake of that film a while back which now doesn’t appear to be happening [though there may be a TV series], the main reason probably being the success of the first, and now the second, film of Suzanne Collins’ ‘young adult’ novels, books which people keep telling me to read, but I don’t see the point of doing that if the films are as close to the books as I have been led to believe. Ignoring for the moment that Catching Fire is based on a book than many have read but not myself, this first sequel basically follows the rule that most sequels of the action variety attempt to obey: Bigger and Better, but often failing at the Better part. Catching Fire just about succeeds in doing that, though, again as with many sequels, it’s basically the same film all over again, at least after the first third.

Now the biggest flaw of the first film, something that made it hard for me personally to enjoy in several places, was the god-awful ‘shakycam’ and eye-hurting cutting during the action. The latter was probably done to give more of an impression of graphic violence than actually properly showing it, but movies have managed to successfully imply stuff you don’t actually see since they began, and only in the last ten years or so have filmmakers felt only able to do this by making cutting scenes to within an inch of their life. So what does Francis Lawrence [whose Constantine I am a big fan of but who otherwise tends to make forgettable, average pictures] do with the sequel? He retains the much criticised shakycam and hyper-fast cutting – honestly, don’t believe what you may have read about Catching Fire not containing this. However, he doesn’t employ it quite so much and mostly restricts it to the action scenes, unlike film number one where the epileptic cameraman couldn’t seem to keep it still even when people are in a queue. Some, though certainly not all, of the action scenes remain very hard to make out in Catching Fire and I see films like this causing me to wear glasses one day, but unfortunately most action in films at the moment is shot like this. Think of all the classic action movies from a while back like Die Hard, Speed and Hard Boiled. They didn’t feel a need to not actually let you see the action properly.

Anyway, that’s enough moaning, because for at least the first third, Catching Fire is very good indeed, right from the opening scene which cleverly mirrors a similar moment in its predecessor. We get far more sense of the world the characters live in, a world not dissimilar from our own. In fact, thinking about the way many countries are ruled, and the direction other countries are heading [and I certainly include Britain in this], with the gaps between rich and poor ever widening and rulers becoming increasingly repressive and inept, it seems entirely believable. Lawrence gives us lots of wide shots, unlike the somewhat claustrophobic first film, while cinematographer Jo Willems shoots the early scenes in the Districts with very muted colours, emphasising the state of the life that the poor live there, and later contrasting nicely with the garishness of the rich folk. The political element is sometimes a little simplistic, and the commentary on other things like game shows heavy-handed and to be honest no more sophisticated than The Running Man, but at least such stuff exists in these films. I think that it’s great these books and films are being devoured by young people, especially it seems girls, because for a start they may make them think about important issues instead of whether they’d like to sleep with either a vampire or a werewolf.

There are some very strong early scenes in this film. One especially good moment begins with Peeta, having been given a speech to read out to people as part of the Victor’s Tour that he and Katniss have to embark on, throwing the bit of paper away and voicing his thoughts instead. Katniss follows this with a really inspiring speech of her own, and Jennifer Lawrence is so good here that her character really seems like somebody whom people will listen to and who could even become a leader if given half a chance. An old guy in the crowd begins to whistle a tune, actually the same tune that Katniss used during the 74th Hunger Games to inform Rue she was safe, and provides the three-finger salute of District 12. Everyone joins in the salute, and it’s one of those corny but damn rousing moments – remember “FREEDOM” at the end of Braveheart [okay it’s nowhere near that but it’s the same kind of thing] – where you have a lump in your throat and feel both sad and uplifted at the same time. Not enough films attempt this kind of thing these days. Anyway, the old man is suddenly dragged away and shot in full view of everyone, and you can just make out the back of his head getting blown off before some doors are shut. Lawrence does a good job of suggesting brutality in a scene soon after, where a character is publically whipped, and emphasises real human nastiness and fear. Catching Fire is a 12A, but it’s sometimes very intense. Think about how tame and harmless something like the Thor movies, both of which could be PGs, are by comparison, and it really rams home how ridiculous the 12A rating, a rating which seems to be virtually required by would-be blockbusters, really is. They may as well rate every single film a 12A.

The story certainly wrong-footed me a couple of times, especially with its love triangle, a love triangle that actually doesn’t really develop, though keeping one of the two main male characters injured and off-screen for more than two thirds of the film was not a good idea. In any case, Catching Fire gets increasingly less interesting when Katniss and Peeta have to participate in more games and it basically feels like we are watching a remake of the first film. The lengthy build-up introduces us to some interesting contestants, from a woman who has sharpened her teeth to a couple who, in the competition they won, hibernated and then showed themselves when everyone else was dead, but not enough of these characters actually do anything in the actual Games, and why does one strip off in a lift? I guess it’s a moment which is explained in the book, but it’s very random here. Having the contestants all former winners mean that these Games lack the edge of those in the first film where you had teenagers who had to become killers, and, while there are some very exciting moments – the most thrilling perhaps being an encounter with poisonous gas – there isn’t much of a climax. As with most middle chapters in a series [though of course the third book is being split into two, something that failed to work for the Harry Potter and Twilight films except in terms of money making but never mind], this one ends rather suddenly, but its twist is a good one and certainly makes sense.

Lawrence is again superb: just look at the way her face reacts when she sees on TV that more Games are going to happen. I’m still not convinced by Josh Hutcherson, but who cares when you’ve got the wonderful Stanley Tucci with hair and purple eye-brows as the most annoying yet oddly likeable game-show host ever. Woody Harrelson is as entertaining as before too. Composer James Newton Howard seems to require a project which he really likes for him to deliver a really good score, and he does that here, his music really adding to the emotion and intensity of some moments. When his memorable main theme plays over the contestants parading around the arena like the charioteers in Ben-Hur, it’s a great old-school moment in a film which, while it certainly has its aspects which hold it back, mostly either because of the limitations of its source material or its uneven direction, is as decent a piece of blockbuster entertainment as we can expect in these days of run-of-the-mill efforts like Thor: The Dark World or absolute garbage like Man Of Steel becoming huge hits.

Rating: 7.5/10


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Post #: 5
RE: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - 26/11/2013 10:28:41 PM   


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Joined: 27/11/2008
Babbies first dystopia. Avoid unless you are a twelve year old school girl fan of the books.

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Post #: 6
nonsense - 28/11/2013 12:19:12 AM   


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The whole thing just doesn't make any sense. I do not believe or buy in to the premise of this world. I spent the first 20 minutes trying to remember the first HG as everyone kept babbling on about things that I had evidently found far more boring that I'd realised as i'd clearly forgotten all about them.
I found this film too long, too boring, too annoying (Why does everything have such a stupid name? Quell? quill? tributes, Katniss Everdeen!!?!?
Urgh. What's next?

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Post #: 7
Download Movie - 30/11/2013 9:07:52 AM   


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Download The Hunger Games Catching Fire :

Watch The Hobbit 2 :

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Post #: 8
Where's my favourite scene? - 30/11/2013 5:20:32 PM   


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Would have been 5 stars had they put in Katniss and peeta viewing previous year winners' tapes...most importantly Haymitch's, would have loved to have seen that portrayed on film to show more meaning behind his drinking and bad life

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Post #: 9
Where's my favourite scene? - 30/11/2013 5:20:35 PM   


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Would have been 5 stars had they put in Katniss and peeta viewing previous year winners' tapes...most importantly Haymitch's, would have loved to have seen that portrayed on film to show more meaning behind his drinking and bad life

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Post #: 10
RE: Where's my favourite scene? - 3/12/2013 6:34:55 PM   

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Joined: 30/9/2005
I really liked this. It sags a bit when they're in the jungle, but the more "civilised" dystopian scenes either side are horrifying.

I only saw the first one the other day, but I'm really enjoying this saga so far

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Post #: 11
RE: Where's my favourite scene? - 4/12/2013 9:13:51 AM   

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Joined: 14/10/2005
From: Behind the European Parliament
Really enjoyed this one. Jennifer Lawrence is great and even though the whole plot resembles the one of the first film a lot, somehow I didn't mind. It looks fantastic and I found it really gripping.

Philip Seymour Hoffmann's character is almost boring (how could that happen??) but it seems he has a bigger part to play later (I didn't read the books...).

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Post #: 12
GRIPPING Stuff!!!! - 6/12/2013 2:02:46 PM   


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Joined: 24/12/2011
A Gripping second instalment in the popular adapt ion of books by Suzanne Collins.

We encounter our heroine Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, bitter and wounded but still ready to endure the Capitol and the ensuing Hunger Games Tournaments. This sequel builds on the original and expands the horizons, both visually and emotionally for our young heroes. After a stern warning from the President of the Capitol Snow (Donald Sutherlnd) Katiness must play the games their way or face the terrible consequences. Both her and Peeta must continue the fa�ade that they they are indeed happy and forming a blossoming relationship among the death squads dealing out punishments to all who defy the Capitol and totalitarian rule.

Cue some uncomfortable and chilling scenes where Peeta ignores reading from his cards,...causing men and women of the District prisoner camps to salute them, knowing full well it means instant execution. The civil unrest continues and makes for great drama and stand out performances from our leads. Both Jennifer Lawrence and Josh hutcherson shine as they must deal with the pressures of the Capitol, abiding the rules and staying alive. Good work also from drunkard Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) once again advising the young couple on their roles as public persona to the world of the Capitol and beyond, as the stakes get higher, so do the pressures.

The sequel once again highlights the horrors of fascism in all it's vulgar brutality, be it in the camps or in the methodically executed environments of the games where poisonousness gasses and voice mimicking birds are used to push the contestants to the limits of their emotional and physical powers. It all makes for great pulsing action drama.

We have a whole new set of colourful characters for Katiness and Peter to deal with, such as Bruce Candy as the fiery axe wielding Octavia, and the flamboyant Finnick Odair (Sam Calfin) are worthy contestants to the games and make for some cool action set pieces. Another worthy addition is Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) as the games controller, to mention a few. It all flows well, building up to a great cliffhanger ending leaving you wanting so much more and you don't mind the 2-3 hour running time as you really want to know what will become of these fascinating characters.

GREAT Stuff!!!


< Message edited by Ramone87 -- 6/12/2013 2:04:54 PM >

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Post #: 13
a very good movie - 8/12/2013 7:15:41 PM   


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Joined: 6/10/2005
All round a very goods movie

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Post #: 14
Not as good as expected - 24/12/2013 3:58:07 PM   


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Joined: 24/12/2013
I went to watch this not long ago in the cinema as I have read, and thoroughly enjoyed, the three hunger games books. However I must say that it did not live up to it's expectations, some good parts but mainly quite disappointing. President Snow was once again fantastic in this film, however I think that Gale's attitude in the film was far from the same in the book as he seemed more emotional in the film, a trait that I would not associate with Gale. Moreover, Katniss's crying scenes were cringe worthy to say the least. Not a great film on all accounts which is a shame as the storyline was so good.

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Post #: 15
Solid film, well paced...but how about some love for th... - 28/12/2013 4:24:40 AM   


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Joined: 28/12/2013
I really liked "The Hunger Games," but I like "Catching Fire" just a bit more. The politics of Panem become more in focus here, the spirit of rebellion more palpable, and the complexity of the characters much more multi-faceted. Katniss is an excellent heroine, though Peeta has clearly matured in terms of his offering within the game, and their allies play their part.

I felt compelled to write a review here because of the words of Ian Nathan, who suggests that Katniss is infinitely superior to both Gale and Peeta. I guess what bothers me about that view is...I don't see where Katniss is so superior to either Peeta or Gale. Gale, it's implied, is every bit as effective a hunter, is every bit as brave, is loyal, etc... And Peeta, though he isn't as effective a hunter, he too is exceedingly loyal, infinitely more compassionate, more sociable and so on!

No Mr. are absolutely wrong...Peeta and Gale are both worthy companions for Katniss...I can only presume that because she's a strong, pretty woman, you feel the politically correct need to cast her as superior to any male character in the story...but it'd be nice if when you're reviewing films in future, you stowed that latent misandric attitude.

I don't recall the exact comment, but I believe it was Haymitch Abernathy who tells Katniss rather bluntly that she is the one who is undeserving of Peeta. And later, it's Johanna Mason who clarifies that Peeta, not Katniss, is the one "everyone wants to sleep with." Katniss may be the true warrior from District 12, but Peeta is the one that keeps her balanced...which makes them a perfect match for one another!

The film is excellent, but this review of Mr. Nathan's sadly is not!

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Post #: 16
Really liked it - 28/12/2013 9:50:55 AM   


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Joined: 19/1/2008
THG:CF is a really great movie. THG is good too, very difficult to pull-off sci-fi and cinema but CF is an awesome sequel. The cast is very good. Everyone brought their A-game. The costumes and sets, CGI, the story. And the direction was understated which made it enjoyable.
I liked the roles of the TV presenter Caesar and Johanna Mason who almost, almost stole the show from Katniss (Miley and Selina take note, Jena did it in Teen Fiction is that irony? Not too sure. I’m not the only one who noticed that right).
The male characters/actors in CF were good also, the new guy Finnick didn't bore me at all, sad to see SPOILER ALERT: Gloss go. and loved Commander Thread....loved Commander Thread.
THG is to American cinema what HP was to British cinema, an amazing Christmas treat. There’s much more to THG:CF than what is in this review check it out for yourselves.

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Post #: 17
RE: Really liked it - 31/12/2013 9:33:18 AM   


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Joined: 28/12/2013
It is heartening to find a teen-oriented movie franchise as gritty as The Hunger Games. Even so, Catching Fire remains contradictory, caught in some nether world between nightmarish political allegory and adolescent escapism.

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Post #: 18
The Hunger Games Pt 2 Catching Fire - 19/4/2014 2:08:39 PM   


Posts: 2
Joined: 18/4/2014
Loved the first movie...This instalment although enjoyable just didn't live up to my's worth watching...I just don't know if it's worth keeping in my collection for future viewing (no such problems for the first movie that was a 'hit', new entry straight in at No 1)...Catching Fire looks more likely to end up getting listed in the for sale category of my ebay listings...i'll finish off with the comment...'Must Do Better'

< Message edited by alljohn -- 19/4/2014 2:10:41 PM >

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