Writer: Syahida Kamarudin
Overall: 4.0 Out of 5
Cast: 4.5 Out of 5
Plot: 4.0 Out of 5
Effects: 4.0 Out of 5
Cinematography: 2.5 Out of 5
Watch this if you liked: "The Hunger Games", "Battle Royale", "The Running Man"
There is a reason why people worship Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence. Her real-life quirkiness is endearing while her charisma on screen usually deserves a standing ovation. And unlike most young adult novel heroines, Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" has the ability to carry the movie on her own (that is, if she has to).
Not to say that others did not perform well. Characters from the first movie such as Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, and Donald Sutherland as President Snow, as well as other new characters including Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), Johanna (Jena Malone) and Finnick (Sam Claflin) brought their A-game to the table to make the experience of watching "Catching Fire" worth your while.
Compared to the book, Suzanne Collins' "Catching Fire" is not as refreshing as her first, "The Hunger Games", or as intriguing as the final part of the trilogy, "Mockingjay", as scenes mostly focused on Katniss trying to cope with her sudden fame and her own personal feelings involving Gale and Peeta.
But thankfully, director Francis Lawrence and writers (Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt and Suzanne Collins herself) not only knew which chapters to cut and what scenes should be emphasised in the movie version, the production has also learned what made its predecessor, "The Hunger Games" interesting (the introduction of Panem's dystopia, the relationships among every characters, and everything involving the arena) and what not (scenes involving long pauses and characters thinking), to package "Catching Fire" into one compact and concise presentation that served both parties - those who have read the book and those who just couldn't be bothered.
Effects-wise, just like the first movie, "Catching Fire" did not fail in reimagining and bringing to life all the scenarios and situations from the book with great success. If there is anything worth criticising about, it is the shaky camerawork that would be annoying for moviegoers with migraine and you might want to look elsewhere for a minute or two at times to avoid feeling nauseous.
It may also be a little more violent despite its "Young Adult Fiction" tag, with more blood and murders than parents would allow their children to watch. But other than that, "Catching Fire" is a movie well done, filled with lots of action scenes, some basic politics 101 for the young minds, and a little bit of romance thrown in.
Cinema Online, 20 November 2013