Review: A great film spreads like wildfire

The “Hunger Games” movie franchise started as a success, with an intense and interesting storyline that stayed close to the book, and superb acting by Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and all the other major stars in the film, and this dramatic sequel is no different.

Based on the book by Suzanne Collins “Catching Fire,” the film is the story of how twenty-four victors from previous Hunger Games, a competition in which teenagers have to fight to the death, are forced to enter the arena again to fight for their lives as rebellion stews in the background of the totalitarian society they live in.

The casting choices for this film were simply brilliant, as every main and even secondary actor played their respective roles in their own unique way. Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist of the story and winner of the previous Hunger Games, is portrayed beautifully by Jennifer Lawrence. She plays the role of a scared but brave eighteen-year-old girl so well that at times I almost forgot that she wasn’t actually Katniss. Her male counterpart, Peeta Mellark, is played by Josh Hutcherson, and like Lawrence, Hutcherson does a fantastic job with this role. Sam Claflin, Liam Hemsworth, and Woody Harrelson also play their respective roles well, and completely capture the intended effect of the book.

The manner in which this movie is filmed is also something to be admired. Director Francis Lawrence, who is known for his work on “I am Legend” and “Constantine,” abandons the controversial “shaky camera” technique which was so prominent in the first movie, and manages to make audiences feel like they’re actually in the film without giving them a headache.

The special effects are great in “Catching Fire” The futuristic technology is in no way cheesy or fake looking, and the all the things that actually happen in the arena and in the capitol look realistic and, frankly, just cool. The costumes of this movie, which range from dress that goes up in flames to a gown made entirely of butterfly wings to a skintight silver uniform for the Game itself, are also really intriguing and beautiful.

A complaint about almost every movie based on a book is that the directors do not follow the original plotline and change the story to make it more suitable for Hollywood. This complaint cannot be made about “Catching Fire.” Every part of this film is taken straight from the book and almost no important parts are left out. Often times the actors lines would be taken straight from the original novel and no major changes were made to author Suzanne Collins’ original storyline. A couple small details are left out, but unless you know the entire book word for word, you’re likely not to miss them.

Keep in mind that while this movie is excellent, it is also extremely intense. I would not advise taking young children to see it as the nature of this story makes the film very violent. Although not much blood or gore is shown and many of the deaths happen off camera, it could still be disturbing for younger viewers.

Audiences who are new to the story will be on the edge of their seat the whole time as devoted book fans can watch all the events they know so well unfold exactly like they did in the novel. I highly recommend this film, and think that viewers should see it as soon as the can because it is not a movie to miss.

Our Grade: A

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

Rating: PG-13

Length: 146 Minutes

Genre: Action, Adventure

Director: Francis Lawrence

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Woody Harrelson