Natalie Kfoury – Co-Editor-In-Chief
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” had a lot to live up to. When its predecessor, “The Hunger Games,” was released in March 2012, audiences and critics gushed over the acting, the special effects, and the
mesmerizing way the acclaimed book series had been brought to film. “Catching Fire” had to do quite a bit of work to meet and exceed the expectations.
Exceed them it did. “Catching Fire” is a fast-paced, thought-provoking, heartpounding adventure that takes the audience by storm and doesn’t relent along the way.
The film continues the story of heroine Katniss Everdeen ( Jennifer Lawrence) where “The Hunger Games” left off. Katniss is living a relatively easy life as a recent victor of The Hunger Games when she finds out the mark she left on the districts of Panem after winning has become a mark of rebellion. Terrified by threats she receives from President Snow (Donald Sutherland), Katniss agrees to do everything in her power to pacify the people by focusing on her relationship with Peeta Mellark ( Josh Hutcherson).
Katniss’ attempts cannot calm the anger the people have for the injustice the Capitol has on the twelve districts and riots begin to break out. In desperation, the President decides that for this year’s Hunger Games,the contestants will be previous victors, to prove that even the strongest citizens can be broken down by the Capitol. Katniss is going back to the arena where she will battle harder obstacles, make alliances, and be tested in more ways than ever.
While “Catching Fire” presents beautiful cinematography and brilliant special effects, its strength comes from the acting. Academy Award winner Lawrence is once again powerful as Katniss. In playing the Girl on Fire, Lawrence is nothing short of fiery and is outstanding to watch. Woody Harrelson returns as Haymitch, mentor to Katnis and Peeta, and once again, his portrayal is equally as strong and memorable. Newcomers such as Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair and Jena Malone as Johanna Mason provide added depth to the already powerful cast in roles that add so much to the plot.
It is clear that “The Hunger Games” series is not losing its energy and this is wonderful as “Mockingjay,” the third book in the series, is slated to be divided into two films. If anything, “Catching Fire” captures viewers for the entirety. The film does not lose momentum and the audience is left gasping for air at the edges of their seats by the end. “Catching Fire” is in many ways more confident and stronger than its predecessor in what is quickly becoming a classic series in both literature and film.