On the plus side, Jennifer Lawrence feels at home in the body of Katniss Everdeen (much more so here than she did in the first one). I believe in her here, and I feel her post-traumatic pain. It’s not something the film dwells upon, but if you stop and think about it for a second, being dropped into a no-holds barred death match is bound to leave a mental scar or two. The visuals are breathtaking (love both their flaming entrance and the wedding dress), and it becomes very clear that their budget doubled (if not tripled) this time out—that spaceship looked hella-badass. I dug the Alucard poison mist and the lighting clock, but damn if we haven’t seen enough f*cking monkeys already (baboons technically, but you get the idea). They should have brought back the fallen tribute wolves and actually explained the premise behind them a bit better.
My biggest problem with this movie (like last time) are the games themselves. Thank Christ they ditched the shaky-cam bullshit, but I’m afraid that was only half the problem. The real problem is the fact that these games don’t last all that long. For a film called ‘Hunger Games’ I expect to see more of these games. Nope. And this time was even worse than last time because the damn ‘tricks/elements’ kill most of the damn tributes. Seriously, we lost at least half of them to the mist, monkeys and lightning, and mostly all off-screen at that. The people vs. people action was scarce and if you blink you’ll miss it.
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE is a step up for the franchise but still fails to properly deliver what they’re trying to sell. I’m not saying this because I want THE RUNNING MAN here, but it’s painfully obvious they’re tip-toeing around the book’s darker elements to keep things within a PG-13 parameter, and all that does is make me wonder how good this series could have been without boundaries. I’m also not much for the film’s weak twist. I won’t spoil anything, but it was by the numbers and underwhelming. Philip Seymour Hoffman (may he rest in peace) was cool until he brings about this ‘twist’ that makes me wonder how stupid President Snow truly is. Sigh. Big round of applause to Stanley Tucci’s teeth though, their performance really shined. Oh, and the elevator scene…niiice ;)
Surviving the Game: Making THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE: The real meat is here in a two and a half hour featurette with lots of interviews with cast and crew and loads of info on the effects, stunts, storyline, books and more. Cool if you’re a hardcore Katniss fan.
Deleted Scenes: Why they bother shaving four and a half minutes off a two and a half hour movie is beyond me. Arguably, not a great four and a half minutes, but they could have stayed.
Previews: There are a slew of trailers, as well as a DVD and Ultraviolet Copy of the film.