The second Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, is finally out and is SO MUCH BETTER than the first one. An introduction of new characters and furthering the story of the existing beloved characters, the excitement builds just like the second book.
The first movie set the stage for the trilogy and introduced the beloved characters, but the big complaint of the blockbuster was how very cheap it looked. Shoddy camera work, shaky close-ups, and an unpolished appearance made it feel like maybe this movie was just for kids. Grown-ups shouldn’t have to look at that crap.
When director Gary Ross (Sea Biscuit, Pleasantville) dropped out, I crossed my fingers that we’d see a huge improvement with replacement director Francis Lawrence (Water for Elephants, I Am Legend.) And what an improvement it was! Yes, this movie is for grownups. Kids, too, but it’s the grownups who will appreciate the nuances.
For one, the style has been kicked up several notches. The makeup, hair, and costumes are a big part of the books. (To me, this is the most YA-ish part of the story.) Seeing this creative vision brought to life was thrilling. The dresses, the hair, the makeup. Katniss’ trademark braid took a backseat to formal up-dos and incredible makeup. (The face that Lenny Kravitz was supposed to be behind these looks cracks me up. I love Lenny, but what hilarious, ridiculous casting.)
As usual, I won’t comment too much on the movie so as not to spoil it for anyone. But I will say that I’m thrilled with the casting of Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair and Jenna Malone as Johanna Mason.
And of course, Stanley Tucci steals every scene that he’s in. That laugh, those blinding white teeth…the ponytail!