It’s bigger, better, bolder and grander than its predecessor. Catching Fire the second in line of The Hunger Games series digs deep into the richness of its literature bringing to life some of the most gripping combat scenes in the race for survival.
The girl on fire Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her co-victor Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are manipulated and thrown back in the pit to play another round of the Hunger Games marking the anniversary called The Quarter Quell where only victors from all districts compete against each other.
While the heart of the film lies in the action, where the contestants kill each other to move on in the competition, Catching Fire spends a lot of time on the periphery gauging the mood of the citizens heralding an inevitable revolution and also gives us a glimpse of Katniss’s vulnerability.
Lawrence takes everything that worked in the first film and amplifies it on a multiplied level to present the story lavishly.
Set decoration, costumes, special effects, background music and the cinematography is top notch. Unlike other blockbusters that cut to the chase early on, Catching Fire stays true to its material and gradually builds up the tempo.
Early on we watch Katniss devastated and heartbroken as she’s taken away from family and love one more time. Similarly Peeta struggles to keep his emotions in line as he gets to share another round of life and death battle with his accomplice.
The ensemble is superb, particularly the face of the series – Jennifer Lawrence who takes to the role like a duck to the water. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Woody Harrelson make the adventure exciting with their varied performances one the mastermind of the games while the other a tutor.
Among the jungle scenes, those that stand out are the one with the poisonous gas the deadly fight with the baboons.
Those expecting the fireworks to begin early on will be a tad disappointed. Unlike the first, Katniss has to be subdued and mask her emotions for most of the proceeding.
Along the way there is a sense that Lawrence is trying too hard to capture a bit of every chapter in the book and spreading himself too thin in the effort.
The odds are definitely in favour of Catching Fire as it emerges as a strong successor for one of the most gripping action-adventure tales of our time.