Fans in Colorado and across the globe grabbed their blankets and settled into theaters on Thursday night as they waited for the premiere of one of the season’s most anticipated sequels, “Catching Fire.”
“Catching Fire,” the second film in Suzanne Collins’s “The Hunger Games” trilogy, picks up a year after Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark’s (Josh Hutcherson) dual victory in the country of Panem’s 74th annual Hunger Games—a nationally televised event in which two children selected from each of twelve districts are forced to fight to the death until one victor remains. The games function as a reminder of the populous of the capital’s absolute power and the pain the capital can inflict should rebellions occur. Katniss, about to embark on a Victory Tour with Peeta through the twelve districts and the capital, faces the impossible task assigned to her by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) of diffusing revolutionary thoughts and spirits growing and spreading in the districts. Witty back-and-forth dialogue and reactions between the victor and president drive the plot and offer insight into Snow’s desire to destroy Katniss’ image as a symbol for revolution and rebellion.
The exchanges between Katniss and President Snow are tantalizing and offer real insight into the structure and fragility of Panem’s system. Portrayals of the capital captivate viewers and lead them through the diluted world that the country’s elite enjoys.
Themes of the need and cost of revolution as well as the importance of sacrifice for the greater good flow throughout the emotionally charged film. “Catching Fire” proves to be no heart-warming holiday flick but rather offers insight into life under totalitarian rule and the importance of revolting and regaining basic human rights. The film overflows with pathos, allowing viewers to sympathize with and understand the horrendous positions characters are forced into.
In addition to the emotionally charged plot and well-developed themes, the cinematography is simply breathtaking. Everything from the portrayal of the victory tour to the victor village, from the capital to the 75th annual Hunger Games, proves mesmerizing. Costumes captivate as well, as Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) returns in flamboyant and bizarre yet typically Capital costumes that channel everything from monarch butterflies to Marie Antoinette. Katniss dons her signature braid along with stunning extensions of her girl-on-fire gown from the first film.
Though the books always seem to be better, “Catching Fire” offers hope to Hollywood’s movie-adaptation franchise. The film flows impeccably, grabbing viewers and leading them on a thrilling journey through the dystopic world of Panem. Thankfully the film lacks extensive background information, allowing the film to ignite immediately without dull moments of rehash.
Whether a fan of the novels or a fan of the first film, the incredible cinematography coupled with a captivating cast and plot (not to mention the breathtaking costumes) make “Catching Fire” a must see for the holiday season.