It’s fair to say I’m a huge fan of The Hunger Games franchise and it’s star Jennifer Lawrence, therefore my expectations were through the roof. But now I’ve seen it have I been brought crashing down to Earth?
A year on from the Hunger Games, and it’s winner Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) is struggling with the memories of the killings during the games and the complicated love triangle she has with fellow hunter Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and her joint winner of the games Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). All this is pushed to the side once President Snow (Donald Sutherland) decided to get rid of Katniss -and any potential threats of uprising- by announcing the next Hunger Games will throw previous Victors back into the game.
There’s no point pretending otherwise. I LOVED THIS FILM!
I was worried that previous director Gary Ross’ departure would leave the franchise in trouble, however Francis Lawrence has shown a great understanding of the characters and the wider world of the hunger games. I enjoyed seeing the meetings of Snow and his collaborators behind the hunger games and revealing their motivations behind certain events. Its a nice development from the book which was limited in showing the wider world of Panem due to its first person narration. The games are just as brutal as ever with poisonious fogs and rain of blood, while Katniss is again left wondering who she can trust and just who the real enemy really is.
The whole thing is brilliantly cast. It is hard to pick stand outs from the supporting actors otherwise I’d might as well list the entire cast but particular mention has to go to Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, one of my favourite characters from the book –he fights against the regime using fashion!-and Kravitz plays him brilliantly. His relationship with Katniss is a joy to watch and really pulls at the heart strings. I had initial reservations about the castings of Sam Clafin and Jena Malone as previous victors Finnick and Johanna but now I’ve seen them in the roles they perfectly encapture their characters from the books and are welcome new additions to the film.
Above all this though there is one star of this film and that is Jennifer Lawrence. She manages to make a character who may otherwise come across as sullen and moody become likeable, strong and inspiring. Its not surprising that Katniss Everdeen has become something of an iconic character, and the main part of this is Lawrence’s portrayal of her. She can go from emotional and devastated, to enraged and rebellious in an instant.
The only downside for me is that I would have liked to have seen Haymarch’s (the excellent Woody Harrelson) backstory in the film. His experience in his Game was an important part of the book and made Peeta and Katniss understand why their mentor has turned out the way he has. That aside this was a tremendous experience to watch.
Rating 5/5-Leaving us on one hell of a cliffhanger I can’t wait for the next installment