Monday, November 25, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Movie Review)

The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about the second Hunger Games movie "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" in about the time it takes to watch the trailer. Stay tuned to the end for this review's "Best Ever" challenge!

 

REVIEW TEXT:

 One way to give your teen lit movie a bit more prestige? Have your leading lady win an Oscar.
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“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is the second Hunger Games movie based on the best selling series of books by Suzanne Collins. It once again stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, the girl whose actions seem to be spurring a revolution in a future dominated by violence and destitution and a gigantic gap between the haves and have nots. It’s also a future where apparently everyone in high society has decided to dress up like they are in the kid’s show Lazy Town. Despite that, Hunger Games once again shows “Twilight” how it should have been done, by creating a movie that honors the story of the book, delivers amazing action, and features top notch performances.
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In fact, I think Catching Fire is actually better than the first Hunger Games movie, and I liked that one quite a bit. Most of this for me comes down to the way the movie manages to deftly balance the action and the emotion. It can be a tricky thing in a movie like this but director Francis Lawrence seems to know exactly when the audience needs some heart stopping action and when we’re ready to go deeper into these characters. It’s also due in large part to more amazing acting by the likes of Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, and of course freshly Oscared Jennifer Lawrence who is stunning as Katniss. But I also want to single out Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta, and has stepped his game up in this movie to the point that I almost felt like he was out performing Lawrence at times. Point being, this cast was bringing it, and it gave the story such a compelling jolt that you can’t help but be drawn in. Plus, that three fingered silent salute thing they do? Come on. A guy can only handle so much before the tear ducts start malfunctioning. Sheesh.
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Those tears however, didn’t keep me from identifying my worst thing about the movie. It’s the fact that it never ends. No, I’m not saying it’s too long, in fact, for being over 2 hours the movie seems to fly by, No I’m saying there is no ending. It falls into that whole Matrix 2 thing where it’s as if the movie just stops mid reel because there is still so much more of the story to tell in the next movie. Not only that, but there was so much that happened in those last 10 minutes that I actually left the theater a bit confused at where I was supposed to land. I actually had to call a friend who read the books to get some context. Now that’s fine on TV when I can jump back into the story in a week, but when you have to wait a year, a lot of that story momentum and pathos can be lost along the way. It’s just that the movie did such a great job at building this incredible emotion and then there was no catharsis to release it! Of course, much of this is probably different if you are a fan of the books, but as one who rarely turns pages, it was a frustrating finish to an otherwise brilliant experience.
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Overall “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is an extremely well balanced and well acted film with an amazing cast who brings both emotion and action to a compelling story. It’s only because of a dissatisfying non finish that I would shift it down to an A-.
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Thanks for checking out this Your Movie Friend review, stay tuned for this review’s “Best Ever” challenge here in bit but first, I’m going to put up some stuff you can click over in this area. If you’d like to subscribe, which I would much appreciate, you can do so by clicking the big gray subscribe button. Want to see more reviews? You can click here to see a review of the Christian Christmas movie “The Christmas Candle”, or the Vince Vaughn comedy “Delivery Man”. You can also Click the logo up here to go to yourmoviefriend.com where you can search by title for reviews. And finally this review’s “Best Ever” Challenge, where you name the best movie ever in a particular category and also try to identify my choice. So here you go, since it’s the hunger games, “name the best movie ever that has a food in the title”. Mine has a food AND an animal in the title, even though it’s just one word. Drop your own answer and a guess at mine in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe!