Being a big Jennifer Lawrence fanboy, I hate to admit I saw The Hunger Games only a week or two ago. However, I had been very excited to watch it for a very long time and I had been looking forward to see its sequel in cinema, as I should. In the past few weeks I had heard some great things about the film and Lawrence's performance as well as of course the huge box office opening it had last weekend. And the film sure reached up to all my expectations. To avoid spoilers, you should stop reading here.
Having read all of the books, as many of you probably have too, the story came as no surprise to me. However, I do think though the second film is better than the first one, even though I liked the first book more. For me the most intriguing parts of the Hunger Games trilogy always were the cruelty of how children are to fight until death on the one hand and the huge contrast between the bizarrely rich capitol and the very poor and suppressed districts on the other. That first factor, the cruelty of children fighting to death changes in this second installment, because in fact almost all the tributes in this special anniversary edition of the Games are adults, but the rich-poor contrast is shown so much more.
Coach Effie (Elizabeth Banks) embodies the Capitol's extravaganza like no one and nothing else. Her costumes, hair and make-up are outlandish and just fabulous. Her wardrobe includes a wonderful SS11 Alexander McQueen butterfly dress, another McQueen frock from the FW12 collection as well as well as Dutch shoe brand United Nude's crazy Fang heels (a special edition in collaboration with Iris van Herpen) and dozens of other beautiful items. Katniss Everdeen's (Jennifer Lawrence) costumes while she is in the capitol for the many festivities and TV moments are very elaborate too, with a beautiful wedding gown that transforms into a mockingjay costume as a climax.
The visual splendour and a great story apart, it truly is Jennifer Lawrence who carries the film. Her performance comes with so much emotion and strength. Every time she gets dragged away crying and screaming - which happens quite a few times - is just heartrbreaking. Most of the rest of the cast delivers too. I particularly like how Stanley Tucci portrays the very showy Hunger Games host Caesar Flickermann. The only one I am still not sure whether I hated or loved her is Jena Malone as Johanna Mason. I like her character, but I felt she overacted a little every now and then.
Over all I was positively surprised I liked this film even more than I liked the first one. The story, visuals and cast are all great and way better than lots of other big blockbusters (based upon teen novels). Furthermore I think it is great that in a world still mostly dominated by males, a film carried by a female is one of the most successful of the year. I am very curious to see what happens with the last two films. I am quite skeptical, for I didn't like the third book as much as the first two. To me it got less interesting when the rebellion had actually begun. But then again, I didn't like the second book as much as the first either...
Have you seen Catching Fire already? I'd be thrilled to hear what you guys think!