Thursday, 21 November 2013

MOVIE REVIEW: HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE



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Once upon a time there was a girl named Katniss who had won the survival show on TV. Only it was a reality TV where everyone else had died... but her and her boyfriend had survived. Only he wasn't her boyfriend really... they just played for the cameras...

Two years later Katniss and Peeta are on the road to promote their winnings. President Snow puts pressure on Katniss to become the  symbol of the system. Instead she becomes a symbol of revolution. There's only one way to defeat her. And its a new Hunger Games...

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE was probably one of the worst books I had ever read... but one of the best stories ever told. It's a page turner and turning the pages I could not help thinking what a terrific movie it would make. Little did I know! This film is destined to become a new classic.

It is very simple really. We are living in the world very similar to the one of Hunger Games.  IN the film it is stretched to the extreme of course, but it's a satire and like every good satire it has a good heart deep underneath.

The best thing about the second instalment of THE HUNGER GAMES is that it is a mixture of genres: its a drama, its a SCI FI anti-utopia, a thriller, a horror and a teenage romance novel, all stuck into the oven, but with the right ingredients it works just well. The movie is split in two parts: first describes Katniss' life after the winning of the first HUNGER GAMES,  with its  heartbreak, tension and preparations for the worst. The second part is the Arena, with non stop action, monsters and a secret that is not revealed until a few minutes before the main titles will roll.

The moment when Katniss has to step into ARENA is one of the best action scenes I had seen this year and best seen at IMAX. The screen goes down to the floor and up into the ceiling (seven floors high) and IMAX vision of the Arena is as spectacular as it could be ever imagined.

It is amazing how the script make us fall in love with the characters from the first sight. It was different in a book, which requires a closer attention, but in a film one look is enough, a few words will define it for you.  It is all about the first impression, in a book can happen many times, but in a movie - only once. We either love them or hate them and you don't get a second chance.

The great casing is what CATCHING FIRE is all about. You had not seen Jennifer Lawrence if you had not seen her in CATCHING FIRE. She can be heartbroken and angry and then sentimental and insecure, one after another, and stay true to her character. The boys Peeta (Josh Hutchenson) and Gail (Liam Hemsworth) do their best, but are quickly upstaged by a newcomer Finnick (Sam Claflin), who is full of surprises and goes from happy-go-lucky to all time sad in a matter of seconds.  The supporting cast of rebellious Johanna (Jena Mallone) and weird Effie Trinket (Elisabeth Banks) does a fantastic job. It is incredible what the latter did with her role, awakening the sympathy for the antagonist and making us see good where it seemed to be a lost cause.

Lets forget for the moment about the incredible success of CATCHING FIRE the novel. Lets forget that its a gorless re-telling of BATTEL ROYAL by Batoru Rowaiaru or RUNNING MAN by Stephen King. It is a pop culture phenomenon that has been turned into a great film by a director Francis Lawrence (in my opinion his best film to date). Rush to see it. You'll be HUNGRY for more.






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