When the first Hunger Games hit theaters it was no shock it was a hit due to the popularity of the book series but it has exploded in the same fashion of the Harry Potter and the Twilight series. Thankfully it stood high above the sparkly vampires, but the first film had numerous issues with some missed moments and bad use of the shaky cam. Now the next chapter The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is here but does it correct any of the issues from the first film and step things up to deliver a better entry and forever be in the fans favor?
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire follows Katniss after she has returned home from winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta. Now they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a "Victor's Tour" of the districts, but Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering as does the Capitol who is still very much in control with President Snow preparing the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) a competition that could change Panem forever. This time around the film felt way better crafted. Gone is the horrible shaky cam aspect and in its place was a better crafted overall film. The story was decent enough with the first half a bit slow paced but some of it necessary for the overall direction, but also at times is a bit of a struggle to sit through. Thankfully the second half of the film is way better. They seem to rush through the training aspect which was some of the better aspects of the first film, but decided that it just wasn’t as necessary here. Once the games themselves kick off things pick up pretty fast and stay moving delivering the action for most of the rest of the film. The action is better crafted and way more interesting than the first film and thanks to the lack of shaky cam you can actually see what’s going on. For the most part most of the performances from the returning cast were decent including Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland, and Woody Harrelson, but it’s some of the new additions of the film that are a bit annoying. This time around they used more visual effects adding more excitement to the action sequences and in turn the overall film.
There is no doubt that this film will be a major hit for the franchise, but it also steps the series up delivering an overall better film. Unlike the last film this one ends with a cliffhanger leading into the next chapter that looks to be leading to an even more exciting direction for the series. Time will only tell if they can keep the momentum going but this film is a step in the right direction to make some move on from the similarities of another film that sparked much debate from the original and into the camp of being fans. In addition to the film this release includes commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes and a sneak peek at Divergent.
Grab your copy of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire when it hits Blu-ray and DVD on March 7th.
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