Viewed – 22 March 2014 Blu-ray
I enjoyed the first movie in this hyped adaption of the popular novels by Suzanne Collins. Although inspired clearly by Japanese thriller Battle Royal, it retained it’s own personality and proved a star making turn for Jennifer Lawrence. We catch up with her character, Katniss Everdeen following her victory at the last Hunger Games, and due to embark on a tour of the various impoverished districts. Yet the threat of civil unrest has got the capital and President Snow (Donald Sutherland) nervous following Katniss and fellow tribute Peeta’s defiance of the game’s rules.
Clearly on a bigger budget than the last movie, this is an attractive experience, and is shot in a very eye-catching manner throughout. Lawrence again is perfect as Katniss and the emotional, moral centre of the story. The plot is more fleshed out this time also and with better turns from Donald Sutherland and various supporting characters (even the constipated-looking Josh Hutcherson). The movie takes quite a bit of time to get going however with far too much exposition following the fallout from the last games and Katniss’ troubles hiding the fact she’s not really in love with Peeta. Although her actual boyfriend is poorly represented and basically pointless. I was happy to see the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman make an effective appearance, and once the action presented itself … this was quite exciting. Yet like the last movie it’s also a story that struggles to involve a viewer who hasn’t already got an encyclopedic knowledge of the books (with vague referrences to characters and events), and beyond Lawrence delivering such a well-rounded performance, this could almost be straight–to-dvd forgettable.
As the first movie on my new sound system, this was impressive to say the least. A fully immersive sound stage with very clear dialogue and great use of all speakers, with some fun effects like announcers and animals in the rears. Overall it greatly enhanced what was still a fun, if over-hyped (and over-long) entry in this continually interesting franchise. Looking forward to the next instalment.
Verdict: 3.5 /5