This is my guilty pleasure - I enjoy 'The Hunger Games' saga ... I actually watched the old Japanese 'Battle Royale' which I believe this series is based off and I loved it - not least because it starred Tatsuya Fujiwara, an amazing actor from one of my favourite series' 'Death Note' ... Anyway, I'm starting to get off topic. I don't tend to like it when the Americans decide they can do a film better than an original version and I really hoped that 'The Hunger Games' was going to be a massive disappointment so I could refuse to ever watch one again - it wasn't, I enjoyed, and here I am writing about it's sequel.
Set a year after the events of the prequel, we see that Katniss and Peetr are going on some kind of victor's tour to celebrate their victory in the last Hunger Games. Unfortunately they ruffle some feathers, most notably those of President Snow, and are forced into the 'Special Edition Hunger Games' containing the victors from the past few years. Low and behold, we have the same kind of setting portrayed in the first film, only this time, none of the contestants want to be there and they all band together to form super hunting groups to take each other on. There's a little twist at the very end that I quite enjoyed, but I'll let you see that for yourself.
The acting in this film was impeccable - I still struggle to believe that only three or four years ago, I had never even heard of Jennifer Lawrence and then boom! She appeared in 'X-Men: First Class', 'The Hunger Games' and 'House at the End of the Street' in quick succession, and now she's appearing all over the news as the 'perfect woman'. Focusing only on her acting, I think she is a diamond, a pure gem - and her agent must be rolling in riches having found her. Josh Hutcherson I do remember from a bit further back, from films such as 'Zathura', 'RV' and 'Bridge to Terabithia' (He also acted in 'Cirque du Freak', but as a lover of Darren Shan, I believe that film let down the books and should never be mentioned again) - again, an amazing actor and I think he acted brilliantly. Whilst there are plenty of others in this film (Donald Sutherland, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci to name a few) I think the only other one worth pointing out is Woody Harrelson - if you read my 'Now You See Me' review, then I'm sure I wailed about how good an actor this guy is ... It cannot be said enough, whatever films Woody Harrelson is in, go see them!
Graphically speaking, this film is so far above the rest in terms of attention to detail and visual effects - I think I read that the arena scenes were shot with an IMAX camera and I'm pretty sure that's one of the best out there at the moment - but don't take that to heart 'cause I'm really not a camera geek and I know nothing about that tech.
My only problem with this film - isn't the film itself ... It's what's going to follow it - the sequel 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay' is going to be split into two parts - I've seen first hand how that can damage the reputation of a film, firstly with 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' and secondly with 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn'. Both films were seriously let down by the fact they were split in half - don't get me wrong, the detail included in both the films was above and beyond their prequels, but the wait between films was way too long ... 'Mockingjay Part 1' will be arriving around the 21st November 2014 and 'Mockingjay Part 2' will be arriving around the 20th November 2015 - a year later. Will it be too long? Will we get bored and move on? Only time will tell.
Overall, a visually stunning film, well worth watching - I recommend you see the prequel first to catch up on what's going on, but even if you don't I think you'll be able to enjoy the amazing acting and superb graphics ... Just don't get too attached, as the sequel may let the series down completely.