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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) Review

Nearly didn’t see this film but luckily for you readers I did and do not regret it at all. A really good, entertaining film, November and December are looking like a great couple of cinema months. The first Hunger Games wasn’t all that great, it had potential and I did like some of it but it did miss the mark a bit. This film does wonders seeing its potential and going for it, changing directors seem to work for sequels this year. It’s a more thrilling story, it’s a well-paced and smartly presented film and if you are a fan apparently it’s more loyal to the book. It’s just winning on all fronts, or it’s as good as Caesars teeth are white. I’ll go into much more detail below but for now bookmark this if you are waiting to see the film, leave any comments below, if you have seen the film then check out the spoiler sections and I will look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts.

“You fought very had in the Games, Miss Everdeen. But they were games. Would you like to be in a real war? Thousands of your people dead. Your loved ones….Gone.”

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Plot:

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE begins as Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.

Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended

Story: 95%     Acting: 95%     Characters: 100%     Dialogue: 100%

Action/Thriller/Sci Fi: 90%     Style/Sound: 100%     Visuals: 95%

Total: 96%

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The story is much improved and its storytelling is down to the change of director, I am confident of that. It was a story told fluently, although slightly rushed right near the finale but its marginal rushing and might just be an impatient feeling from me to see the next film. The best features of this film are the revolution and fascist oppression which is far more present and well represented in the sequel. The new director certainly brought this film to its premises potential, hope he stays on for the other two films. A massive upgrade this time around which I am attributing with the new director is the more fluent and clever dialogue, clearly breathed new life into the sequel because dialogue can make or break a film and it made this one. Snow has some of the best dialogue and he really embraces the villain role this time around, just look at my starting quote, so grim.

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The cast is a very talented bunch and the acting matches this, however I am not sure about some of the acting as the plot takes at times a neck breaking twist that did sometimes throw the casts acting into question, its subtle but I did notice it, not anyone’s fault but going from stoic silence to holy shit your killing someone right in front of me was quite hash on the cast and it happened quite a few times, good scenes though. Jennifer was as great as ever but it was the characters I didn’t like in the first one that impressed me, Josh playing Peeta was actually pretty good, he was funny and at times quite witty. New comer Jena Malone provided the funniest scene/sexiest. Naked in a lift, I just didn’t see it coming, nice surprise. Other new comer who I didn’t expect to like was Sam Claflin playing Finnick, funny and kick ass in the games, and he carried his feeble mentor how sweet. Too many characters to mention but maybe some more name drops in the spoiler section.

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The action, the science fiction and thrills are all massively improved in this sequel. The idea of fascism and revolution is far more present which I thought was excellent. It’s what the first film was tentatively building to and we are finally on the eventual road to revolution in Panam. The film was far darker in some scenes and it worked really well, details in the Spoiler section. Whilst the capital and other districts showed some nifty technology, the best showcase as expected was the games themselves, again details in spoiler section. The feeling of unease and not knowing who will die and whose on your side was very present, I mean you know Peeta’s a nice guy and Snow is a bad guy but you don’t know where the new people lie, do ya!

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The visuals are really stunning and a massive improvement over the first film haha remember those dog things, just terrible. From the starved poor districts to the rich and ridiculously prosperous Capital, the visuals look perfect. It’s just a very imaginative world they have created. The idea of having a drink that makes you throw up so that you can carry on eating is so wrong and comparable to the state of affairs the real world has that it’s rather sad. The training room tech was interesting, I’d really like to try it with my bow, and it would probably bounce off a wall and kill me haha! Animals and game features didn’t look stupid at all, no rubbish dogs but there was a scene as they are running near the start of the games and the backdrop didn’t quite look right and it does happen with CGI backgrounds sometimes when fast motion is applied, should have been fixed post production.

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SPOILER SECTION!!!

Leave this section if you haven’t seen the film, do it now! Katniss Dies!!! I told you to leave. On a serious note though, this film really doesn’t shy away from people dying or being whipped or dying in a cloud of toxic gas. The use of psychological torture and chemical weapons was a fascinating and very brave feature to the game scenes, that cloud of toxic gas has been used in wars gone by and watching this should show why they are banned. The birds fitted with the voices of family and friends in pain was quite frankly sickening and really shows the cruelty of the people in charge. What about that cliff hanger ending? Normally I hate them but as it was good and I really want to see the next one which I didn’t after the first, I’ll let it off for the cliff-hanger. Next time I want to see District 13, know who lived and who died, REVOLUTION! And Snows face after learning Plutarch Heavensbee is a part of the revolution.

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Trailer:

The best reviews I found would be these:

“Francis Lawrence bats it out of the park in terms of appealing to genre devotees and general audiences alike. Catching Fire is a movie you won’t be able to avoid, but don’t think of that as the groan-inducing kind of side-effect associated with something gone mad-popular, but more as a sign of appreciation for a film that got things right.” Digital Short Bread. Full Review

“Catching Fire may not be perfect, and feels a little too familiar at times, but it’s a big improvement over the first film and delivers where it matters the most. And in a turn of events that especially surprised me, I walked out of the theater more excited to see where the franchise goes next than I’ve ever been before.” William Jepma. Full Review

“All in all, Francis Lawrence and the cast really hit this one out of the park. I encourage you to see the film—even if you aren’t a HG fan. I’m already planning when I can see this again.” Flix Chatter. Full Review

“A sequel that surpasses the original, Catching Fire is well worth a watch for fans of The Hunger Games film as well as the book series. While it’s nowhere near my movie of the year, nor worth full marks, it was certainly enjoyable and one I would definitely recommend.” The Verbal Spew Review. Full Review

“Catching Fire takes a great original film, improves it and gives us one of the best blockbusters outside of the summer. Fans will not be disappointed.” Oracle of Film. Full Review

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Spoiler

My favourite scene would have to be well a lot of the game scenes where pretty great, hard to choose. Love a good fight scene so any good ones of those.

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About Tim The Film Guy

Very opinionated about films Mwahahahahaha!

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  1. Tim’s Top Ten Films of 2013 | Tim's Film Reviews - January 9, 2014

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