The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (English) - The New Indian Express

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (English)

Published: 08th December 2013 02:53 PM

Last Updated: 08th December 2013 02:56 PM

If the Harry Potter series took a dark turn around the third book and was elevated by Alfonso Cuaron’s delectable adaptation of the same, The Hunger Games series similarly comes into its own in this second instalment. While the third Potter film was more ambitious in terms of filmmaking, the true zenith with an admirable balance of craft, staging and entertainment was achieved with Deathly Hallows Part 1. In that sense, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire owes a great deal more to the first part of the final Harry Potter film than the Cuaron gem.

There are a number of parallels. Katniss Everdeen becomes the single most important target of her foe - the Capitol and President Snow. She decides to go it alone for the sake of her loved ones. She finds it hard to earn the trust of her friends and they share that feeling towards her. There is a still inchoate uprising threatening to go out of control for the Capitol. There is that use of natural elements and scenery to depict gloom and desolation - the snow in winter, the rain forests, the gushing water and the artificial lightning. This is a lengthy film but the material is so deftly handled that it does not feel like that at all. Much like the first part, the action - the Games themselves - doesn’t start well halfway into the film.

It’s almost as if Jennifer Lawrence can do no wrong ever since her breakout both on screen and off screen. This is a film that’s got its casting absolutely right. The ever inebriated Haymith played by the ever dependable Woody Harrelson; Donald Sutherland as the scheming and smiling Machiavellian President Snow; and Stanley Tucci hamming it up chewing the scenery and more as the host Caeser. The pick of the second film though is Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the new game-maker Plutarch. His is an eerie and sinister presence and the way he mouths his dialogue is dreadful in its own way. Such ace casting with just one disappointment. It is tough to imagine anyone other than Helena Bonham Carter in that Elizabeth Banks role.

Catching Fire is an exhilarating ride through the world of Panem and its reality TV obsession. It makes its social commentary in subtle ways in the background and keeps the world building, performances and the action in the foreground making it one of the most entertaining franchise films this year. It ends with the third (in two parts) instalment nicely set up and there is hope that they won’t make a mockery of this shocking ending.

From Around the Web