Title: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Genre: Action, Adventure
Director: Francis Lawrence
Music: James Newton Howard
Cinematography: Jo Willems
Philip Seymour Hoffman
THE HUNGER GAMES (2012) is a harbinger of another monolith box-office knockout with quite different teen spirit from TWILIGHT franchise. Its dystopian milieux strike as a resounding backbone to carry its social onus which is unusual to be seen among its peers. As the second part of the trilogy-turns-quartet (a lame strategy when shifts from the source novel to its cinematic adaption), CATCHING FIRE basically is an amped-up survival battle as its predecessor (with an elaborate overture to dovetail its storyline development), new helmer Francis Lawrence (I AM LEGEND 2007; CONSTANTINE 2005) barely achieves a middle-of-the-road tactic to fulfill his demanding task.
Since I tend to divide movie from its source material, I am a piece of blank paper towards the plot and its characters’ ominous destiny, so the great pleasure comes from newcomers (name-checking Sam Claflin and Jena Malone) in the series since it did pique my curiosity to know whether they will survive in the end, both actors are camera-friendly and vividly evoke laughters and empathy. So tracking back to the love triangle, Hemsworth’s part is tapering down quickly meanwhile J. Lawrence and Hutcherson manage to breakout from their asymmetrical relationship, although judging from all levels, she looks like a big sister (and caretaker) to him, but which also accomplishes an unorthodox heroine and hero pair against all odds. Tucci and Banks are as excellent as they could be with their flamboyant antics, while veteran Sutherland and Harrelson are unequivocally underemployed as the antagonist and the mentor respectively, plus the new blood Hoffman doesn’t seem to exhaust too much effort to accentuate the final twist.
So it all strips down to Jennifer Lawrence’s emotional curve out and out, save her swaying affections towards two boys, her awakening sense as a token of rebellion trudges through a laboriously-designed victories’ tour, which also gives Katniss (passively though) a strong conviction what will become her goal in the chapters to come, the great part of the story has just begun!
I watched it on an IMAX screen, and the effect is no more than satisfactory, during the game time, the CGI looks cheaper and faker than usual top-notch Hollywood output, the entire hue is also a shade darker in view of its 2D default, one can barely get the full idea what is happening during the high points. Brightness aside, the definition of the images is another disappointing factor. So maybe one crucial reason (my own conspiracy theory) is that the cinemas’ apparatus is not equivalent between here in Shanghai and in USA, where it gained raving reviews, but as far as I am concerning, the technique bloopers are too blatant to overlook, markedly mar the movie for me, but I will keep as loyal as possible for the remaining two successors (both will still be under the tiller of Francis Lawrence), just because Julianne Moore is on board now as a key role, god bless the mockingjay!