Rated: PG-13, 146 mins
Director: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson
It was a highly anticipated film this year, following the explosion of 2012’s instalment of the first in the films of The Hunger Games, and I was glued to the screen from start to finish. There’s no denying that the film is entertaining, if a little repetative at times.
We arrive back in District 12 with heroine Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) trying to get on after surviving the hunger games, and still set on demonstrating to the public that her affection for Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is genuine, and not just a ploy to escape the arena from film one.
Following their victor’s tour which starts with threats from President Snow, incites uprisings and ends with a gluttonous feast, despite those starving in the districts, the 75th anniversary of the hunger games is upon them. This means that the tributes will be reaped from the victors in each district. In plain words, Katniss finds herself back in the arena.
Where this film manages to distinguish itself from the first, is in the clever design and CGI of the arena, a water world of terror in comparison to the forest fight in the first film. The new costumes are just as visually exciting and the action in the arena from baboons to poisonous fog is incredibly gripping.
Jennifer Lawrence continues to hold her own as Katniss, and is a very credible heroine, not afraid to show her emotions and frustration with the surrounding government. She is an admirable, but relatable lead and its not hard to see why the hunger games has taken off in a way that other teenage fictions franchises will fail to stand up to because of this.
One issue I felt with the books, was that they could have been condensed down. The trilogy felt unnecessary, so it was a real triumph for the film to not fall into this shortcoming also and to manage to be thrilling from the beginning to the end.
It’s a fun and exciting film and with new additions of hugely respected actors like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, I’m very much looking forward to Mockingjay in 2014.