I was suitably impressed with The Hunger Games and was greatly anticipating the adaptation of the second book of the series … Catching Fire.

A year after winning the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta have to compete once again, in special 75th anniversary edition that contains previous winners from all the districts fighting it to the death.

The film is much darker, thematically and visually. Even though the satire still exists at a certain level, the franchise itself appears to be in danger of taking itself a bit too seriously. The movie truly has very few “happy” moments and it peppered with moments of bleakness, anger and depression.

Jennifer Lawrence once more carries the bulk of the film, though Josh Hutcherson does much to expand his character in this movie. The addition of Philip Seymour Hoffman adds another level of legit to the franchise, but it’s Jena Malone as Johanna that provides the most interesting performance.

My only real concern is that I’m not sure if the movie stands alone? It’s not so much that you really need to have seen the first film, but the sudden “incomplete” conclusion to this film. Being the middle of a trilogy is a tough struggle – how can it appeal to be both existing and new audiences? Some franchises have done it perfectly – The Empire Strikes Back; whilst others have barely done enough to build upon their world and fail to deliver a satisfying resolution – The Matrix Revolutions.

Time will tell how Catching Fire will be judged. With the third book – Mockingjay – being split over two further films, there is still plenty of work to be done for this franchise.

Score: 7.5 out of 10.



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