The Hunger Games: Catching Fire follows Katniss and Peeta’s victory of the 75th Hunger Games. The second installment in the widely popular trilogy brought millions to the theaters, all waiting to see what happened with the rebellious main characters and their relationships with the Capitol. Winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games is the start of a new life for Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). After the Games, there comes a Victor’s Tour (a tour across the 12 districts taken by the most recent victors). Katniss makes a deal with President Snow (Donald Sutherland) regarding her rebellious attitude towards the Capitol. They agree that if she keeps her own opinions to herself during the tour and speaks only the Capitol’s words to the citizens, the people will not be inspired to rebel against their government and a war will not break out. But if she fails to do so, all her loved ones will be in danger, including her best friend and hunting partner, Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth). As it turns out, Katniss fails, and it is decided that the Quarter Quell (the 75th Games) would have a male and female tribute from each district playing, but the tributes must be previous victors. This means Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) have to live their biggest nightmare once again.
Jennifer Lawrence brought out the true essence of a rebel in this film. With her learned agility and archery skills, her role as a hunter and tribute were very realistic and impressive. She brought subtlety and friendliness when it was appropriate, but transitioned easily into a strong, intimidating character. Josh Hutcherson complements Lawrence perfectly, giving her a sense of home, company, and even keeping her sane. Francis Lawrence directed the movie wonderfully, keeping the storyline smooth and connecting the characters with each scene and emotion. In the film, Katniss starts to realize how much Peeta means to her. Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) is still vibrant as ever as the host of the Capitol’s biggest reality show. Katnis’s relationship with her mentor, Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), is renewed and grows as they, Peeta, and Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) gradually become a team preceding the Games. It’s great to see how the characters develop and make new relationships.
The visuals were breathtaking. The arena was so detailed, everything from the poisonous fog to the lightning tree to the cornucopia. As Katniss enters into the arena, I felt a feeling of fear and stomach-clenching anxiety. I was sucked into the movie, and was completely immersed in the action and scenery. The soundtrack is powerful and compliments each scene, making it feel more dramatic than the first film. The ending is a cliffhanger, and it leaves viewers anticipating the final installment, Mockingjay.
In its opening weekend (November 21st), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire made $158 million, and by December 4 it had made $307 million. It has been No. 1 in the box office for 4 weeks, surpassing Frozen and Thor: The Dark World. The film’s visuals and acting were considered better than the first installment, and the earnings were much higher. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a must-see for anyone who enjoys action, romance, and drama.