The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (12A)

Film

Action and adventure

Hunger Games Catching Fire

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

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Time Out says

Mon Nov 11 2013

What are the odds? Like Katniss Everdeen ducking a poison-tip arrow, the keepers of Suzanne Collins’s trilogy of fantasy novels have dodged the perils of the sloppy second franchise film. ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ is leaner, gutsier and smarter. In hand-to-hand combat, it would have the first film on the floor, trapped in a headlock, whimpering for mercy. Over two-and-a-half heart-pounding hours, it doesn’t drag for a second.

A hefty chunk of the story is similar to the last one – except this time there’s more to lose. Jennifer Lawrence returns as Katniss, whose defiance has revolution a brewin’ in the districts. President Snow (Donald Sutherland, playing evil Santa) can hear the howl of fury rising. ‘Would you like to be in a real war?’ he threatens, shark-eyes glinting. Snow puts his snakish sidekick (Philip Seymour Hoffman) on the job of devising a new version of the Games to eliminate Katniss – a champions’ championship.

J-Law burns the screen. She’s stunning, suggesting a storm raging behind her eyes and powerfully conveying Katniss’s terror of leading the revolution. She’s no Bella Swan. Instead of batting her eyelashes at love interests Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson, less drippy this time), she shoos them away to focus on staying alive.

The Games are more fun to watch this time around. In ‘The Hunger Games’ we got a bunch of samey-looking teenagers fighting to the death. This is the Olympics of Hunger Games, with the best of the best up against each other, like Usain Bolt with daggers in his Pumas. One past winner who ripped a male tribute’s throat out with her teeth bares her sharpened fangs. Perversely, though, it’s a less violent film, as the plot drives forward with a terrific pulse of energy. What’s thrilling (if you haven’t read the book) is that you never know which character is on Katniss’s side. Who can she trust?

Lawrence has first-rate support. Stanley Tucci gets the biggest laughs as the reality TV presenter with a spooky resemblance to Karl Lagerfeld. Even bubbleheaded ditz Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) shows her heart.

‘Catching Fire’ looks and feels epic. Hands down it’s one of the most entertaining films of the year. But there’s also something here-and-now about it – it taps the zeitgeist with its them-and-us society and the feeling that when money is in the hands of so few, the odds are never in our favour. The burning question is: just how badass will Jennifer Lawrence get in the next episode?

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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Thu Nov 21, 2013

Duration:

146 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|19
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Joanne Hardy

Having to wait 20 months between The Hunger Games and Catching Fire was far too long! Like The Hunger Games, this film didn't disappoint - the acting was brilliant and the special effects were excellent, roll on November for Mockingjay Part I

mummybadger

Is it my imagination or have the star ratings of Time Out film reviewers gone up since it became a free magazine? Bringing along with it need to keep advertisers happy rather than readers. I remember that the Time Out reviewers used to have, on average, lower ratings that the reader reviews. Now the opposite seems to be the case. This film is not bad. It's just a rerun of, whoops! sequel to, the first film. Three star at the most. And don’t tell me “The burning question is: just how badass will Jennifer Lawrence get in the next episode?” is not kiss-assing, or katnissing or whatever. What happened to the standard of writing in Time Out?

chris

terriblw film shear drivel, very disppointed cant believe it has good reviews , why? i agree it is palgirised from battle royale which is much better film

Eneko

I enjoyed the film but I think the books were far better than the film. This being my favourite book of the three, I enjoyed it more than the first film but seeing the pace they gave to it, I am expecting a great 2-hour nap on the third and most boring part.

critique

Juan Carlos - Cath Clarke very often seems to watch a differerent film to most people. Steady entry in to the franchise. Starts slowly and repetitively but picks up the pace a little in the second half.

Juan Carlos

I obviously watched a completely different film to the reviewer. I found it slow and one paced. Even the "Games" seemed to me to be little more than a series of short variations on trying to scare the participants. It takes long to get started with the series of repeat speeches on tour that seem to offer little but to show that the regime is bad and that rebellion is slowly building. To top it off the film ended very suddenly and disappointedly and with no apparent cliff hanger. I for one won't be waiting for film 3 part 1. A rather dull slow average 2 star film. Maybe 5 out of ten.

Charles Wheez

I watched it in Brazil last week. The movie is fantastic! Ten times better than the first. A must-see blockbuster.

Charles Wheez

I watched it in Brazil last week. The movie is fantastic! Ten times better than the first. A must-see blockbuster.

Augus

Catching Fire is an EPIC movie based on a wonderful book. Francis Lawrence has done an outstanding job directing this movie. Jennifer Lawrence is the most talented and versatile young actress in Hollywood. The cast and the production of this movie are fantastic. So Catching Fire will be the most successful box office movie of this year breaking records for a movie releasing on November.

Augus

Catching Fire is an EPIC movie based on a wonderful book. Francis Lawrence has done an outstanding job directing this movie. Jennifer Lawrence is the most talented and versatile young actress in Hollywood. The cast and the production of this movie are fantastic. So Catching Fire will be the most successful box office movie of this year breaking records for a movie releasing on November.

james

so they've stolen a few more items from Battle Royal (professional killers in the game) then? I'm stunned at how such obvious plagiarism is being ignored by the press.

MikeT

If it's anything like the first one, it'll be desperately bad. Avoid.