The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Blu-ray Review

When it was announced way back in 2011 that THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy was going to be made into a movie, I was pretty excited. I was one in many eagerly waiting to see Katiniss Everdeen’s story portrayed on the big screen.  Maybe it was the hype or the influx of Young Adult adaptations, but I was underwhelmed with the first film in The Hunger Games series.  So last year when THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE was making its rounds in the theater, I was only slightly looking forward to catching it on Blu-ray. Lucky for me, the second film more than out shown my low expectations.

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games Catching Fire

In THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE we meet back up with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) as they are preparing for their victory tour after their scandalous win at the 74th Hunger Games. Little do they know that their win has been causing problems in Panem, so President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and new Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) are cooking up a little plan to put out the fire that has erupted in Katniss’ wake, which, of course, involves the 75th Hunger Games.  Not only is Katniss about to be sucked into another Hunger Games, but there’s an increasingly persistent spotlight on her love life.  She’s publicly committed to Peeta, but secretly has feelings for Gale (Liam Hemsworth).

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games Catching Fire

If there is one thing that stood out in this second film, it was the acting. The audience was already familiar with the characters so there wasn’t any set up taking place, but even with that, the actors felt more comfortable with the parts they were playing. Josh Hutcherson and Woody Harrelson did a fine job, but really Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman were the ones that stood out. Lawrence and Hoffman are obviously fantastic actors, but I was surprised at how Elizabeth Banks brought some depth to Effie Trinket, who is a decent character but not one that stood out in my mind in the books. Banks somehow made her way more likeable than was ever expected.  There are a lot of things that separate The Hunger Games from other failed YA adaptations, but the talented cast might be the most important.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire

The pacing was also much improved in THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE. Considering how much ground there was to cover, director Francis Lawrence did a pretty good job keeping the story moving with very few lulls. There were a lot of details left out of the film from the book (which is to be expected), but nothing so noticeable that fans would be overly disappointed. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles the final installment (which as I’m sure you know is being broken into two films) of the trilogy.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire

I have a sneaking suspicion that THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE will be my favorite film in this series, even though the first book was my favorite in the trilogy. If you have read the books then you know how dark things get in Panem in THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 and PART 2 which I’m interested to see play out onscreen, but at the same time am dreading because I don’t want to have to wait a year to watch everything wrap up.  Splitting the third book into two films seems like another money-grab from Lionsgate, but it seems to be the norm in book series adaptations.

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: Not surprisingly, the film looks great on Blu-ray with lovely colors and crisp and clear images.

Audio: The surround sound was utilized well and there were no spots where we needed to strain to hear dialogue.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire

Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson: Sadly, this commentary is a little lame as both participants seemed to have a tough time finding things to talk about consistently. There are a few interesting tidbits here and there, but unless you just can’t get enough of the film I would recommend skipping this feature.

Surviving the Game: Making THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE (2:24:56): Since you are skipping over the commentary, and This featurette is full of great  interviews with cast and crew, interesting information on the stunts, set designs and special effects. Well worth the watch.

Deleted Scenes (4:35): Although these were rightfully cut, you have to check them out since its less than five minutes long.

Sneak Peek – Divergent

OVERALL 3.5
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