7:30 PM, 20th February, 2014
Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) survived the 74th Hunger Games – but she’s still very far from safe. A victory tour sees her paraded through the Districts where her fallen competitors came from – and exposes her to a growing rebellion, ruthless suppressed by the Capitol’s peacekeepers. Her for-show-only romance with Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson) as she has to smile and wave for the cameras becomes increasingly difficult. When it’s announced that a special 75th Hunger Games will be selected from previous victors, Katniss’s return to the arena is inevitable. With a new arena, and a range of ruthless competitors, the battle to survive is on again…
The Hunger Games was a surprise package – the recent plethora of young-adult-adaptations has seen a lot of fairly shallow films with middling acting, contrived love triangles and half-hearted fantasy, science fiction or supernatural themes. And while The Hunger Games seemed to follow that lead, Lawrence’s strong central performance and a script that touched on themes of media manipulation and political suppression made something a tad more thought provoking than expected. And Catching Fire is a worthy follow up – it’s obviously part of a series (the opening doesn’t give you a lot of time to catch up on prior events, and the finale leaves us on one hell of a cliffhanger, to be followed up in November this year with Mockingjay –Part 1), but it’s a hell of a fulfilling movie along the way.