Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Movies: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

(Drivebycuriosity) - Maybe there is somewhere an alternative universe where the classical Rome still exists, still ruled by a mean dictator and his perfidious clique, but with a very advanced technology. The movie "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" shows such a world (imdb). The film is the second part of the franchise. Like the first part the film focuses on a perverted survival game with a lot of action scenes. The sociological aspects of the oppressed provinces (districts) are just a kind of topping of the adventure story (I have written about the fashion of dystopian science fiction here driveby).

I liked this film more than the first part of the trilogy (driveby) because it looked better. According to Entertainment Weekly the studio Lionsgate spent $130 million on the film — a major increase from the original Hunger Games‘ $78 million budget (insidemovies). The plus in investments paid well. Cinematographer Jo Willems, set decorator Larry Dias and the legion of software engineers (special effects team) delivered impressive pictures from the "Capitol", a kind of futuristic Rome. I also indulged in the work of the huge makeup department (IMBD registers around 70 names).

But the greatest accomplishment was the fact that the camera often rested on the face of Jennifer Lawrence. She is one of the rising stars on Hollywood`s firmament and the most valuable asset of the movie.

Woody Harrelson in the role of a cynical mentor was as cool and funny as in the first part of the franchise. It was also a lot of fun watching Stanley Tucci as the arrogant host of the TV spectacle. I enjoyed the flamboyant appearances of Elizabeth Banks as the escort Effie Trinket. Philip Seymour Hoffman, as the slyly chief manipulator of the games, was a real enrichment of the trilogy.
As in the first part I had problems with the figure of the dictator (President Coriolanus Snow), played by Donald Sutherland. This character was too plain and too stereotypical for my taste.

The new The Hunger Games doesn't really "catch fire" but the film is an acceptable popcorn movie for a dark winter day.

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