There are very few movies with sequels that surpass their predecessors. To my knowledge there are only two: The Empire Strikes Back and Godfather Part II. Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the newest entry to that most elite list. The movie is masterfully directed and the story gripping. It truly draws you into the strength but also the prison that Katniss Everdeen resides in the movie. Being that she and Peeta were the survivors (winners) of the 74th Annual Hunger Games they are forced to embark on a Victory Tour through the Districts from which their competitors came from who died in the last games.
Peeta and Katniss are embedded within a world living the lie of a false love they share as established in the games to cover their survival of the games where in reality Katniss just wants to live her life without the eyes of those in the Capitol on her. This time, they have the eyes of President Snow and the new Gamesmaker as they seek to destroy Katniss and the flame she stoked in the last games. So they devise a new games during what is referred to as the Quarter Quell. Only these games will feature tributes that are previous victors of past games from each district. If you were looking for spoilers here, sorry for you there are none. Just a movie that you must see and will cheat yourself out of if you miss out.
Director Francis Lawrence uses his all star cast well and gets masterful performances from them. For Jennifer Lawrence, her Katniss is like an old sweater that is comfortable but becomes more so for her as she is conflicted between keeping up the reality show love story with Peeta for the government and the deep love she genuinely has for her true love Gale and her mother and sister back in District 12. Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch does not miss a beat as a guide through the reality show she and Peeta are forced to live. We see more of Elizabeth Bank’s Effie Trinket and she comes across as more sympathetic to Katniss and Peeta and seems understanding of their plight while rushing them from place to place on the Victory Tour. Donald Sutherland is especially ominous as President Snow as he is the clear villain that exhudes power and influence over Katniss fully aware of the Katniss’s love for Gale and the show she must keep up for the district audiences. Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Plutarch Heavensbee plays Gamesmaker and political consultant/conspirator to President Snow in his plotting the destruction and death of Katniss Everdeen before the districts’ audience.
As you watch the movie you can tell the costumers had fun with Effie and Stanley Tucci’s Caesar Flickman as her wardrobe is just so flambouant and outrageous as was Caesar’s in his portrayal as Emcee and host of the reality show that is the Hunger Games.
I give this movie a rating on the 10 scale of an 8 and is one you simply cannot miss out on.