The film picks up right where we left off last year after Katniss and Peeta unintentionally defy the very rules of the games within the world of the film. We are transported back into the very darkness and emotional tensity of it all as the unwanting victors (both Katniss and Peeta) go on a world tour to so-call 'celebrate' their win and to address the other disadvantaged districts.
It is this moment that we discover the taints of revolution beginning to spark, but that tiny ounce of hope within a world of cruel dystopian authoritarianism is diminished when President Snow (the head of the elitist Capital world) tempts to foil the emerging symbol of Katniss as being the inspiring revolutionary to lead the movement. What does he do, you say? He sends back all the previous victors of the games including both Katniss and Peeta.
The film in itself is set on a much larger scale (thanks to the bigger budget) as the stakes are raised to lengths unforeseen. The cast is brilliant and manage to flourish their characters much further, something lacking in the first film as the characters become more dimensional in the film allowing us to understand their motives much more clearly and feel for them. Jennifer Lawrence is the stunning stand-out as usual along with the new additions of Jena Malone as Johanna Mason and Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair adding something fresh and dynamic to the mix, plus Elizabeth Banks portrayal as Effie who manages shine a much more human side to her character bringing some well-needed comic relief to the table.
Technically, the film is a major improvement to the widely criticised camera treatment of the previous film. It's much more visually pleasing too, which might be thanks to the change in the games arena as we explore the lush landscape of beautiful Hawaii along with some brilliant cinematography to capture the essence of it all with a beautifully epic score to go with it. Oh and yes, no shaky cam! Thank the heavens for director Francis Lawrence ditching that dreaded look seen in the first film.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire's key to success though and its particular enchantment on the minds of todays audience is its heart and deeper messages of rebellion, equality and standing up for what is right no matter the cost. It's something the first instalment was particularly missing as Catching Fire explores this aspect much deeper which is what makes me think why such a series has sparked such an interest within today's times, something that will likely live on as fans anticipate the next instalment.
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