movies: the hunger games: catching fire

the hunger games: catching fire - remember who the enemy is
I have to admit that of the three Hunger Games books, I think Catching Fire is possibly my least favourite.

Like a lot of middle parts of a trilogy, everything that happens directly relates to the first part and anything new is mostly there to set up the final part, and in this particular case I always thought that it ended too abruptly.

Having said that, I think I prefer the movie version of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire over the original Hunger Games.

I don't know if the difference comes from the fact that I've now read all three of the books, but last time I hadn't read any of them, but I was much more invested in the characters this time around, even though I pretty much remembered what happened to 80% of them, but whether I was filling in the movie characters with what I remember from the books or not I couldn't say.

And unlike the book where you have more time to develop and get to know the characters and their motivations, it did feel a little like some of the characters, most specifically once we get into the Games themselves, were a little bit sketched in, even the ones we spend more time with.

This time around though the return actors all do an excellent job... both Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson as Katniss and Peeta do a great job, although it is Lawrence's movie for the most part and she carries it well. I found myself actively caring about her character this time around, and by extension, caring about the people she cares about, most notably Peeta. In a lot of ways Hutcherson does kind of get the fuzzy end of the lollypop... while he's in almost all the scenes with Lawrence, you still come away thinking she has considerably more screen time. But knowing what I know about the final part of the story, I'm looking forward to seeing how he handles his character then.

Also returning is Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, who doesn't have as much of an impact on the story this time around and Elizabeth Banks as Effie, who actually does a fantastic job at turning this seemingly airheaded, fluffy character into a fully rounded human being in only a couple of memorable scenes.

I'm still not sure if Sam Claflin meets the idea I had in my head of the impossibly beautiful Finnick Odair (don't get me wrong, he's gorgeous, he's just not what I had in my head), but he does imbue the character with the requisite spark that makes him believable.

Other than some understandably CGI monkeys, the effects work in the movie is outstanding... I know that a lot of it had to be effects work, but it never feels like it.

All in all, a marked improvement on the first movie and, just like with the books, this movie just made me hungry (no pun intended) for the next part of the story.

yani's rating: 3 tick tocks out of 5

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