So I had the opportunity tonight to watch “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”. I was disappointed by the first movie because of the lack of Nazi cannibalism. In fact, I ended up reading the entire Hunger Games trilogy to see if there were any moments of Nazi cannibalism. There isn’t. Having read “Catching Fire”, I was not looking forward to watching the movie. I was annoyed by the ending and found the general premise to be repetitive. For some reason, everything just worked so much better in the movie and it ended up being very enjoyable.
The biggest improvement in this movie over the first is the removal of shaky cam. The first movie relied on it way too much and it just became disorienting at times. In “Catching Fire” everything is clear, allowing you to easily see all of the action rather than just a giant blur. I wonder if the reliance on shaky cam in the first movie was just to cover up the fact that most of the action scenes are pretty uneventful. Maybe it is just me, but I would expect a movie about putting 24 people in an arena to fight to the death to be pretty gruesome. I mean, Katniss is extremely accurate with a bow. She could easily shoot someone in the eye. The kills by the other contestants could also be more extreme. It would be great if there was bodily dismemberment and geysers of blood. Even ripping someone’s spine out Mortal Kombat style could work.
While the majority of the action scenes are not particularly special, the settings are exciting to look at. There is just so much going on in the background of each scene. From the snow covered wastelands of the districts, the incredibly colorful buildings of the Capitol and the lush scenery of the Hunger Games arena, “Catching Fire” might be worth buying on Blu-ray just to admire all of the detail. Even the way people in the Capitol are dressed is fascinating to look at, even if it appears that everyone got fashion advice from Lady Gaga.
“Catching Fire” may just be rehashing the same formula as the first entry in the series, but the movie switches it up just enough for it to still remain exciting. Each character is unique and memorable. I don’t know how Lenny Kravitz got involved in the series, but he should make a comeback.