The TWILIGHT series of movies were huge at the box office. But when it came to acting (Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and company)—not so much.
By comparison THE HUNGER GAMES serve up a much stronger and seasoned lineup of acting talent led by last year’s OSCAR winning Jennifer Lawrence and surrounded by Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland. And now with Jeffrey Wright, Jena Melone and the great Philip Seymour Hoffman joining the gripping tension of ‘CATCHING FIRE.‘
As the saying goes ‘Every Revolution Begins With A Spark’…..
And so it is that we find Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mallark about to begin their victory tour of the 12 districts. But Katniss now senses a rebellion in the making.
Yet with ‘The Capitol’ still very much in control, President Snow is preparing for the next round of the even more competition—as we encounter ever more signs of subversion and betrayal throughout the film’s 2:26 hour-long running time.
“Moves and counter moves, indeed.”
But instead of digging deeper into the storyline here, let me instead share a few thoughts of my experience in viewing this second chapter of the highly anticipated second installment in the trilogy.
First off, a tip of the hat to its new director Francis Lawrence who took over on relatively short notice from original filmmaker Gary Ross.
This edition shows no indication of any shortcuts taken due to directorial changes and/or philosophies at the top.
From set design and all through the film’s visual presentation CATCHING FIRE is first rate.
That’s probably due in part by this second installment’s greatly beefed up production budget which, according to industry estimates, was increased by roughly $50 million over the first installment.
Fortunately we as viewers aren’t hit over the head with over produced scenes and crazed special effects.
Hoffman never oversteps his parameters yet enhances every scene that he’s part of.
As for Ms. Lawrence.
She’s more beautiful than ever, yet never lets her persona overshadow her terrific acting chops.
It’s got to be Stanley Tucci, again perfectly over the top as TV emcee Caesar Flickerman.
My one bone to pick with the film is that they easily could have trimmed 10 to 15 minutes from its running time. In my humble opinion it probably would have made it that much better. But you’ve heard me bitch about movies being too long for ages. So I’ll just shut up and take it…..
The third book-to-screen edition in the Suzanne Collins’ trilogy called ‘MOCKINGJAY’ is set for release by Lionsgate for next November.
But you guessed it, they’re getting TWO movies out of the last book.
Hey, I’d divide it too considering how much money is involved—plus that it’s most likely being filmed all at the same time.
But that’s down the road a ways.
In the meantime we have the spectacle and gripping tension of THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE grading a heroic B-.
It opens This evening at 8:00 p.m. practically everywhere.
On to District 13, anyone?
(Reviewed at Alamo Mainstreet Theatre)
JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES Friday mornings at 6:40 a.m. and 8:40 a.m. on KMBZ FM & AM / And anytime on Time Warner Cable’s K.C. ON DEMAND, Channel 411.