Sack Daddy Reviews - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire March 29, 2014 19:44

Sack Daddy Reviews fills you in on the latest DVD new releases, so you can kick back in a gigantic bean bag chair and enjoy a night off.

This month, it was the hotly-anticipated Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) saved herself and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) in the last year's Hunger Games, but it has brought anything but joy. Katniss's defiance has brought about an uprising from the oppressed districts against the Capitol, and President Snow (Donald Sutherland) wants her to calm the situation with her newfound popularity, playing up her love for Peeta. But Peeta knows it's just an act, and he's not happy with it. And Katniss's best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth) reveals that he's interested in much more than friendship. The Capitol begins cracking down harder than ever, resulting in a new kind of Hunger Games, one that pits 24 old winners together. Katniss is about to go back into the arena.

That's a lot to cover in just a couple hours, and not all of it flows perfectly. The first act is particularly rushed, and even later acts have moments where you just wish they'd slow down. And the love triangle seems less inspired this time around, partly because there's so much else going on, partly because Katniss's affections seem to flip-flop without reason or deliberation. She doesn't like either boy, but kisses each frequently. While this is true to the book, the book went over Katniss's conflicted feelings for both and her own inner turmoils. The film just shows her kissing both boys willy-nilly.

But these are the only real complaints. The rest is a wonderful whirlwind of action and plot development. The rebellion is built up well, the most exciting part being the Quarter Quell, the new Hunger Games which feature all old stars, none of them happy about being called back into duty. Emotions are high, and the tributes' reactions to being called back are especially strong and varied to suit the characters. Action is intense, though this time around, the arena is more dangerous than the tributes, with dozens of wicked tricks like acid fog and bloody rain.

And the best news? A LOT less shaky camera work.

The side characters steal the show, with Elizabeth Banks reprising her role as the surprisingly-likable Effie and Woody Harrelson is again grumpy, yet sagely as Haymitch. Fans of the book will be delighted with new tributes such as the charming Finnick, the spitfire Johanna, kindly old Mags, and wickedly clever Beetee.

FINAL VERDICT: 4/5 stars. More of what audiences loves, less of what they hated. While the pacing is too quick and the love triangle feels forced at times, the film is still highly enjoyable with dozens of great actors playing great characters and a slow, but steady build to revolution that will be showcased in the final films.

RATED PG-13 for intense sequences of action/violence, some frightening/thematic elements, a suggestive situation, and some language.

RECOMMENDED SACK INSPIRED BY THIS FILM:  If you're on team Peeta, the Tan Fur bean bag lounger, wide enough for two.  If your'e on team Gale, the Charcoal foam lounger to hide the miner's soot.  If your'e on team Katniss, the Cinnabar 5-foot bean bag chair, single and on fire!