Last year, fans of author Suzanne Collins were treated to a vivid and thoughtful interpretation of the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy. With “Catching Fire,” the second adaptation comes to the screen with as much fevered anticipation as its predecessor. Once again, the source material has been (mostly) honored, and fans of the book need not fret over the dreaded “curse of sequels.”
The Hunger Games trilogy follows Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), a citizen of District 12 in Panem, a country governed by totalitarian dictatorship, set in the dystopian future of North America.
Katniss and her fellow tribute Peeta Mallark (Josh Hutcherson) are still recovering from their battle in the Hunger Games arena. Just six months after their terrorizing ordeal, they are thrust again back to the lavish hedonism of the Capitol with a victory tour, in stark contrast to the starving, tyrannized citizens of the Districts.
President Snow (Donald Sutherland) poses a great threat to Katniss and her loved ones, as her victory with Peeta was seen in open defiance of the capitol, and has caused uprisings amongst the districts. Snow aims to crush any possible rebellion, with Katniss and Peeta caught in the fray.
As the first movie in the series was so expertly executed (directed by Gary Ross), “Catching Fire” director Francis Lawrence had big shoes to fill. Although lacking a little compared to the first film’s expertly stylized cinematic details, it keeps pace. The nearly two and a half hour film will fly by, leaving you gasping for the next installment, much like the books.
With excellent performances from the cast, and well thought out production design, “Catching Fire” can be marked as another success in the adapted Hunger Games trilogy.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language.