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Movie Review: Catching Fire

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Maine chapter.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

A review by Maria NeCastro of girlwiththemovieblog.blogspot.co

In the sequel to one of last year’s biggest movies, America’s new sweetheart, Jennifer Lawrence, takes the screen again as the courageous Katniss Everdeen.

The film, which has earned over $250 million since it was released on Nov. 22, takes place in the dystopian nation of Panem after Katniss and a her fellow District 12 tribute, Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson, have become the most recent victors of the “Hunger Games”.  Despite their good fortune of surviving the gladiator-like event, Panem’s President Snow has become fearful that the victory might inspire rebellion in the districts.

While the pacing of the first half of the film (prior to the start of the next games) seems rushed, it does a great job of explaining the society in which Katniss lives.  From the horrifying physical punishment for acts of defiance in Panem’s districts to Donald Sutherland‘s portrayal of revenge-thirsty Snow, Catching Fire captures the essence of the society that writer Suzanne Collins created in her 2009 young-adult novel.     

For the viewers who really enjoyed the action in the first Hunger Games, the film provides an even more exciting arena for the 75th annual Hunger Games.  Plus, with Francis Lawrence as the new director of the series and a substantially larger budget, the cinematography of this film tops the shaky-cam film style of the 2012 release.

What makes this film worth watching, in addition to the fascinating cautionary nature of the story, are the performances given by the cast.  Laurence’s performance as the emotionally void Katniss continues to exceed expectations, as the events of the prior games have caused her to become a more vulnerable character.

Other roles worth mentioning include Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, the wealthy chaperone-like character from the Capitol and former Hunger Games victors Finnick Odair and Johanna Mason.  Banks’ acting stayed consistently impressive, while the emotional growth of the character was both unexpected and compelling.  Sam Claflin took on the devilishly charming role of Finnick.  After much speculation of whether or not he could do the character justice, Claflin proved to be a success.  The brutal and daring Johanna is played by Jena Malone of Pride & Prejudice and Sucker Punch, who brought the fiery essence of Johanna to the role.

In terms of the love triangle that the story offers, some viewers may take argument with the portrayal of the varying relationships Katniss has with Peeta and Liam Hemsworth‘s Gale.     

Although Catching Fire was longer than the first installment in Collins’ series, the film manages to encapsulate the most important parts of the plot, while remaining truthful to the original tone, all within a 142 minute runtime. 


Grade: A-


Taylor is a fourth-year journalism student at the University of Maine and one of Her Campus UMaine's campus correspondants. Taylor was born right outside of Philadephia, Pennsylvania, but spent summers teaching sailing on Vinalhaven, Maine. Taylor also produces video for The Maine Campus, and loves making videos.