Director Francis Lawrence awes audiences with his film version of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the second movie in a four part movie series. The movie broke the Thanksgiving holiday record, surpassing the mark set by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, ranking at a total of $110.1 million.
The movie opens with a heart wrenching scene of Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, flashing back to her time spent fighting for her life in the previous year’s Hunger Games. Being plagued with nightmares and her rocky relationship with fellow victor Peeta, Katniss tries to focus on her relationship with Gale, childhood friend and who some would call lover, to get her through this challenging time.
The love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale is not the only problem District 12 is faced with after their people won the Games. President Snow shows his anger during a meeting with Katniss. Snow is facing riots and dissent in the districts. Snow and new Gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensbee, plan on disposing of Katniss by forcing her into The Quarter Quell, a special version of the games that requires all past victors to be selected.
While a normal Game would involve 24 contestants battling to death in order to survive, the Quarter Quell brings a new set of rules to the table. Former victors are called to compete in the games. Relationships, alliances and betrayals are formed between the former-winning contestants. The trials and environment within the Game arena quickly bring out who the characters are. But the Games are just as deadly as the contestants.
The supporting cast however is what makes the film. Woody Harrelson returns as Haymich and Elizabeth Banks as Effie. While Harrelson was able to invoke the only few laughs in the movie, Banks displayed a genuine sadness when the Quarter Quell forces Katniss and Peeta back into the Games. Donald Sutherland does a fantastic job on portraying President Snow as a ruthless dictator. The new GameMaker, Phillip Seymour Hoffman excellently plays the role of conspirator and manipulator, while adding an intellectual depth in discussions with Snow on how to destroy the rebellion.
Fans of the book could not be disappointed in the way the movie turned out. It not only followed the book’s story line well, but visualized aspects of the book to match what the imagination could conjure up. Fans of both the movie and book highly anticipate the film version of the third book which will be broken up into two films.