Friday, November 22, 2013
Jennifer Lawrence has such an expressive face that you have to be sure it is her from one frame of film to the next. I am not a fan of films like "The Hunger Games" but her face and acting grabbed me in that first film just as it does in this sequel, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" which is the second of 4 films that will make up the three volumes of the original story. Like most sequels this is more opf a holding pattern to set up the next two films. The film, Jennifer Lawrence and some of the supporting players will get you through this way too long film that could have easily been cut to run 2 hours instead of the 2 hours and 26 minutes.
The screenplay written by Simon Beaufoy and Michael deBruyn, based on the novel by Francis Lawrence (no relation to the actress) provide the screen with action, color, blood and just a few spots that drag. The production designer provides good background and costume designer certainly deserves accolades, including those that over the line.
This new film brings back 24 winners of previous games with only 1 who can win. The government seems to interfere more with the games than it did in the first film but this is because President Snow (Donald Southerland) of Panem sees Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) as a threat to his rule and wants to eliminate her thinking that will stop the brewing revolution. Katniss not only has to defend herself with the possibility of having to kill Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) who is in love with her but she is also put in a position of having to choose between Peeta and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) who confuses her with a kiss before she goes off to fight.
Stanley Tucci chews up the scenery more than he did in the first film while the makeup, wigs and costumes upstages the wearer of all 3 Elizabeth Banks. Woody Harrelson shines as the mentor of both Katniss and Peeta putting himself in position to betray one of them. Lenny Kravitz stands out, once again, as the designer of Katniss's dresses.
Newcomers to the franchise are Philip Seymour Hoffman who plays more calm than he has in other films while Amanda Plummer, Jeffrey Wright, Lynn Cohen and Jena Malone all bring strong characters to life as competitors in the games. Another game player is Sam Claflin who takes over the screen whenever he is on it, as a egotistical, handsome and, with a 6 pack stomach, gets quite a few sighs.
As an in between sequel to set up the last two films in the franchise "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" drags a bit here and there but then you can always look at Jennifer Lawrence's face as it almost imperceptibility changes.