By Vic Diaz (@TheVicDiaz)
If you decide to pay good money to go see “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” the odds will most certainly be in your favor. The second installment of the “Hunger Games” trilogy had everything to please even that one guy who’s infamous for saying “the book was better than the movie.”
From start to finish, the accuracy in the book-to-movie transition was dead on, which was something the film’s 2012 predecessor lacked. Every individual performance keeps you on the edge of your seat, filling you with suspense, emotion and having you construct scenarios you thought you weren’t capable of coming up with.
Jennifer Lawrence continues to add more dimensions to the character of Katniss Everdeen, carefully paying attention to every emotion that unfolded before our very eyes. As expected, the evolution of Everdeen continued; you see the ever-changing relationship between her and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and the struggle to understand her feelings for Gale (Liam Hemsworth).
And how awesome was Donald Sutherland? At the pace the film veteran is going, his portrayal of the cynical and conniving President Snow will be up there with Darth Vader and Scar as one of the greatest movie villains of all time. Sutherland’s interpretation of a calculating and subtly-malicious totalitarian is one that you absolutely love to hate.
And then we get to the games themselves. The setting of the games was so rich in color and so vivid that you can’t help but get excited from the very beginning. The eerily-quiet ambience that you get during the film is so realistic, that you almost feel as surprised as the characters that are facing death at every turn in the arena.
Every move the characters made is a step closer in the fight for survival, and you can’t help but feel like you’re right there with them. The introduction of veteran tributes from all the districts just gave more subtext to the film, introducing you to new individual stories that you emotionally invest yourself in.
Without giving out any spoilers, if you haven’t read the book, the ending to the film will certainly leave you with more questions than answers, and that’s not exactly a bad thing. The ending to “Catching Fire” can very easily be compared to the ending to “Back to the Future: Part II,” where Marty McFly receives that ominous message from Doc Brown in 1885 , that leaves you wanting more.
Overall, “Catching Fire” is thought-provoking, emotional and more exciting than any movie in recent memory. Fire certainly is catching, and it’s only a matter of time before the fire spreads at an uncontrollable pace.