After winning the Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are trying to get used to being trotted out on tour so that the government can exploit their fairy tale romance as a distraction for the populace, who are essentially slaves.
In Catching Fire, the second installment of the saga, the populations of the districts are starting to stand up to their oppressors, having been given hope by the subversive antics of Katniss, who is outwardly expressing her distaste for President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and his despotic police state.
Rather than just kill her, games master Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) suggests they invent a new 75th anniversary Hunger Games where all past living victors face off against each other.
Yet, with strength and desire for rebellion crossing class lines, it seems no one is going to be able to stop the coming revolution.
We say, “Don’t think you can kill this Mockingjay so easily.”
HOWE: To be honest I wasn’t that happy with the first one. I didn’t like the fact that you had 17 and 18 year olds killing younger teenagers for sport. So I wasn’t really looking forward to Catching Fire, but now having watched it, I was very impressed. It’s still a very dark, depressing place, yet there were hints of beauty in it as well.
TAYLOR: The first film left me wondering how this country got to such a state in the first place. Yes, I know they explain it away as penance for a past rebellion, I just don’t buy it. To put it another way, this new, coming rebellion is long overdue, in my opinion. However, this baby has been long since put to bed and now in the second film, I am pleased to see the seeds of rebellion planted. As for me, the games themselves are window dressing for the real story.
HOWE: I liked the games this time around. They switched it up a little bit so instead of just humans killing one another, they used “man-made nature” to help things along, to speed up the slayings, so the public wouldn’t lose interest.
TAYLOR: I’m more excited by the prospects of what is to come. I love the idea of a film that is essentially for young people, about ordinary folks slaving away at full-time jobs yet unable to properly house and feed themselves, who then rise up against their oppressors. I just hope that, unlike in reality, when those rebels free themselves from the chains that bind them, they don’t willingly put themselves back in chains by way of replacing one dystopia for another.
HOWE: I loved that Seymour Hoffman is in it. It’s just that as soon as you see him, you know he is playing on both the rebel and capital sides. I don’t know if that is down to the writing of the script or just his shady character; to me that is bit of a tiny flaw.
TAYLOR: It is rather obvious, perhaps it’s supposed to be. Make no mistake about it though, this is a huge movie and deserving of an audience. The theatre was packed and as my wife and I left, I heard three women comment that it was their third time seeing it. For some reason people are in love with The Hunger Games and it is entertaining, but it might also help keep the odds in our favour.
— Howe gives Catching Fire 4 lightning strikes out of 5.
— Taylor gives it 4.5 Google searches out five.
The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.