Review: The Hunger Games – Catching Fire

Available to buy on DVD now
Available to buy on DVD now

A few years ago it was becoming very common for films to be produced in ‘trilogies’ – now we’re getting films that are produced in groups of four – is there even a word for that? Hot on the heels of last year’s success ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘Catching Fire’ is the second of this set of four films based on the books by Suzanne Collins picking up the story one year on with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) embarking on a Victory Tour of the districts before finally and somewhat inevitably having to enter the arena once more as the Quarter Quell leads them into the arena yet again.

Alongside the two leads who provide both a sense of vulnerability and strength in the face of adversity throughout, there are stand out performances from Elizabeth Banks (Effie), the late Philip Seymour Hoffman (Gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensbee) and Donald Sutherland (President Snow) with able support from Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman) and Sam Claflin (Finnick Odair). In all cases they speed up a somewhat slow paced film with their own character traits whether it be Caesar’s game-show like persona, Snow & Plutarch’s plotting or Effie’s rather unique fashion sense.

Given the fact I have read all the books much of the film’s slow pacing at the start is in some way understandable in helping to build up the sense of fear into why Katniss and Peeta end up back in the arena anyway. However in my opinion whilst this approach is understandable I just don’t think the approach actually worked. Given the film comes in at nearly 2 and a half hours, there are places where a faster pacing would be advisable and in some places I would point to the highly successful ‘Harry Potter’ series which used some highly effective techniques in later films to increase the pace.

As the film builds up towards its somewhat surprising conclusion (providing you haven’t read the books already) the pace picks up and with it the special effects as the arena truly comes alive. In terms of reviewing the actual DVD package I am particularly happy with the Blu-Ray/DVD/Ultraviolet pack that represents good value for money. As with all of my purchases this is what I look for as it represents the best value for money as I can watch it on multiple devices and not necessarily be in front of a TV and DVD/Blu-Ray player. I should also note here that I use Blu-Ray for the superior picture quality and sound.

In terms of features this package offers over 2 hours of extra content with an extensive ‘making of’ documentary (9 parts!), commentary and customary deleted scenes which will give anyone and everyone a greater insight into the film. Whilst it’s not for me to suggest what might happen, but as with Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and many other film series’ it would be of no surprise if the film makers were holding out on us all for some spectacular special features when the whole box set can be released some time during 2016.

Nutleyone rating for the film: 7/10; Nutleyone rating for the Blu-Ray package: 8/10

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is now available to buy on DVD and Blu-Ray from your local stockist. Blu-Ray: £12.99; DVD: £9.99