Threatened by the support that the 47th Hunger Games victors Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) have received from the struggling people in the slums, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) throws them back into the arena to once again fight for their lives and provide the rich with further graphic entertainment.
This time they are up against stronger opponents ” past winners.
Where Catching Fire succeeds over its predecessor is in the palpable tension it creates while working in the confines of the ratings board.
Part 1 censored the barbaric things these teenagers did to each other in order to survive, using quick cutting and wobbly camerawork, rendering the action incomprehensible, which ultimately dulled the overall tension and impact of the story.
This time around, there is minimal gore once again, but director Francis Lawrence has managed to achieve a high level of tension that will leave your stomach in knots simply by showing consequences of the violence and allowing us to connect with the characters.
What helps in achieving this is the long build-up to the Hunger Games. We get to spend about half of the film catching up with these characters before they are put in danger ” an important step in drawing the audience in to this new chapter.
While the talented Jennifer Lawrence, now with an Oscar under her belt, isn’t allowed the opportunity to showcase her talents to their full potential (so far) in this franchise, she is certainly extremely watchable.
If the franchise continues to improve like this, the next should be a corker of an action/thriller.