The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The review for: The Hunger Games (23 March 2012)
The best thing about this instalment is, like its predecessor, Jennifer Lawrence. Although she is let down by her director Francis Lawrence here and the general direction of this cinematic franchise. By focusing on the YA market and the general dumbing down of Hollywood productions, the socio-political commentary and satirical aspect of Suzanne Collins novels is lost. Although we spend the First Act establishing the political background of the show, we do not spend time in it to understand much about it. Similarly, this made villain Donald Sutherland rather un-intimidating. Jennifer Lawrence, does however, have her fine acting moments when she finally comes to terms with her role in the situation, but sadly those are far and in between. Instead, we have more moments where she portrayed Katniss as a wishy-washy tramp. The other standouts include Elizabeth Banks, who looks like she may be getting bored; Woody Harrelson and Philip Seymour Hoffman who were the bright sparks in their scenes; Sam Claflin as the charismatic Finnick Odair who almost set up Team Finnick; Jena Malone as Johanna Mason who surprised me with her on screen presence and whom I would not mind seeing again in the next movie; and of course, the vastly under-rated Hutcherson who can portray their sincere, simple, heart-broken tenderness so well that only a fool would choose the silver-screen Gale against him. Francis Lawrence direction led to an overlong, badly paced movie with poorly lit scenes that marred the supposedly exciting Third Act. When a reader who knows all the twists is watching this faithful-ish adaptation, there is really nothing much to look forward to except the occasional brilliant acting from the cast. The direction is mediocre with some scenes too forced, too long and too distant. And of course the lack of focus on the socio-political aspects of this dystopia. Even James Newton Howard's score was generic. I do not see how this movie can benefit from 3D or an IMAX experience. This is way better and funnier: Sesame Street: The Hungry Games - Catching Fur.