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The Hunger Games Franchise - Ranked

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There are several moments in Mockingjay - Part 1 that I like, but overall, I was left feeling kinda disappointed by this one. I really love Jennifer Lawrence. She's brilliant. Donald Sutherland is also amazing. And there are several single scenes that I feel powerful. But I think it struggles as a complete film. Not so much because it's all set up to Part 2. I even feel that as a set up, it got a lot of issues.

I think it's dramatically and structurally flat. It's a film that plays on the same kind of note throughout the entire running time, causing the film to fall into an endless circle of repetition. I honestly see that this film could have been trimmed by almost one hour without losing anything important or emotional.
Bml93's rating:
It picks up immediately where the last film left off, and it doesn't really provide much exposition for you in order to catch up with what happened the last time. Which is slightly refreshing, but then again, there's not really that much that is going on when you strip the film and its franchise down to its core. It's rebels vs. bad guys. So I'm glad it just went straight to it.

Part 2 is a much more action oriented film. The action doesn't necessarily have the grit and sense of vulnerability that Catching Fire or the original had, but the sense of spectacle is still very much present. It's entertaining to watch. Part 2 also continues the very appreciated trend of adding some emotion to its story. Jennifer Lawrence is once again bringing her best, and despite not always being extremely likeable as Katniss, you always care for her and the people around her. The filmmakers have done a fine job in creating characters that you form a bond with, and that you want to succeed.

A problem with Part 2 is the ending. It feels extremely rushed, and do in many ways come out of absolutely nowhere. It looks like the film is leading up to one final major battle, but then everything is suddenly over. There's also a tacked on epilogue that wasn't really necessary. Now. I do understand that this is probably how it all went on in the books, but this is an example of when you should stray a little bit away from the source material to create a better film experience. Still, this is a worthy conclusion to The Hunger Games franchise.
Bml93's rating:
People who added this item 2997 Average listal rating (2044 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
To be honest, I was skeptical about The Hunger Games to begin with me. I thought this would just be a gutless Battle Royale. But I was pleasantly surprised, and I do like how they decided to keep this mostly free for blood and violence. Only the implication is enough, and I like that the film takes a stand in it's portrayal of violence. It's social commentary is spot-on.

The thing that actually did surprise me the most is how emotionally engaging it is. Much thanks to a brilliant and affecting lead performance from Jennifer Lawrence, and her chemistry with Josh Hutcherson. They are on fire. They are so excellent that I do get completely engaged in what's going to happen between them, and that results in many scenes that are completely adorable, sweet, riveting and heartbreaking.

It's a film that is absolutely entertaining. It's well-acted, the production and all the technical aspects of it are excellent, but it do have it's share of flaws. It is running a bit too long, and some scenes could have possibly been trimmed. And it is a bit too conventional perhaps. It takes the easy way out sometimes, when it possibly could have earned a lot by walking in the darker paths it were starting to lay out. We lose some potential hard decisions for Lawrence's character, that would have possibly served the film. Nevertheless, this is an excellent blockbuster.
Bml93's rating:
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is everything the last film was, but improved even more. Which is a significant achievement, considering how good The Hunger Games was and seeing as Catching Fire is an improvement, it makes this film one of the best films from 2013 so far. It's an extremely entertaining, thrilling and thought-provoking blockbuster!

Catching Fire does in many ways follow the same structure as the previous film. There's the lead up to the games and then the games themselves. But thankfully there's been enough change in the story, to avoid the film being a rehash of the last film. Yes, the film has the lead characters sent into yet another deadly game, which can only end with one survivor, but luckily, director Francis Lawrence manages to steer the focus away from creating a simple bloodbath. Because even if the "main attraction" of the series are the actual games and the deaths that occur from those games, Lawrence manages to tone down the violence a bit. It's certainly violent for a film with the audience it has, but not anywhere near as being as violent as the last film. The reason for that is quite simple, but equally genius. Because this film is about the after match of the previous game and how it gave everyone hope. It's definitely darker and more grim, but behind all that, this is a film about the rise of hope. About giving a repressed people one thing to hold on, one thing to fight for. The previous film was about introducing us to everywhere, and showing us of cruel this world is. Catching Fire is still cruel, but it does also show us that shed of light. It's actually quite intriguing, and the actual themes of these films are certainly interesting to discuss.

As I said, the structure is similar to the last film, but there are some minor changes here. The actual games are shortened down and not as graphic as they were in the last film. This time they're actually fighting more against the Capitol rather than the other "contestants". Causing this version of the Hunger Games to be more about the districts vs. the Capitol, rather than district vs. district. It's a much welcome change, and it also fits in nicely with the underlying theme of hope. Some of them are naturally killing each other, but there's not too much of that. But the biggest change lies in what happens before the games start. There are certainly some scenes where they have to train, and do interviews and such. Which is sort of obligatory, but thankfully, there's not a lot of that. They could've easily just done the same thing as they did in the last film and put together a much longer training montage. But seeing as they didn't do that, the film does really tell that it's not about the Hunger Games. It's about its effect on the world. So instead of seeing training sequences, overlong fashion shows and individual interviews for a second time, we get to see things that are actually important. We get to see people standing up against how they're being mistreated. And we get to see the Capitol trying to prevent a rebellion. This makes for a much better viewing experience.

One thing that also makes for a much better viewing experience is the change of visual style. One of my major issues with the last film was the shaking camera. In Catching Fire it's completely gone. Which is a huge relief, because you actually get to see the action that's happening on screen. I do acknowledge that shaky camera may create some intensity, but there shouldn't be any need for that as long as the action is well-directed. Which is the case here. The steady camera manages to produce even more thrilling and suspenseful moments, than what the previous film did. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire film.

Francis Lawrence deserves every bit of credit he gets for directing this film, but the true star of this film is Jennifer Lawrence. Despite of everything else in this film being as excellent as it is, it wouldn't be half as compelling or engaging as it is without her. She's quite simply an extraordinary actress, who's capable of pulling me straight into this film with her emotions. I get emotionally engaged in her character and the film because of her acting. I care for her and I do believe every line she delivers. I believe every emotion she send out. The rest of the actors in the film are naturally good as well. Philip Seymour Hoffman being particularly excellent. But this is Jennifer Lawrence's show. I'm actually quite into the tiny love triangle that's going on her. And I'm rooting for Katniss/Peeta. I think they're quite cute together, and Lawrence is just delightful when she's playing cute and warm. She might be my new celebrity crush, if I'm being completely honest.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is an excellent film that surpasses it's predecessor in terms of quality. It's cleverly written, beautifully shot, well-directed, wonderfully acted and tightly edited. It's interesting, thought-provoking, emotionally engaging and very thrilling. It's always refreshing to see a blockbuster that manages to be as entertaining, as it is thoughtful. Catching Fire succeeds in doing so.
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