Hunger Games, The: Catching Fire

Featured In Issue 188, July/August 2014

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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Intense equences of viiolence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Francis Lawrence
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 7.1
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Based on the novel by Writer Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the second film in a trilogy. Academy Award® winner Jennifer Lawrence returns as Katniss Everdeen. Against all odds, Katniss and fellow tribute Peeta (Hutcherson) have returned home after surviving the Hunger Games. Winning means they must leave loved ones behind and embark on a Victory Tour through the districts. Along the way, Katniss senses a rebellion simmering—one that she and Peeta may have sparked. At the end of the tour, President Snow (Sutherland) announces a deadly 75th Hunger Games that could change Panem forever. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson; three featurettes: Surviving The Game (HD 144:55), The Alliance: (HD 14:27), Friend Or Foe (HD 18:24), and One Vision (HD 12:37); five deleted scenes (HD 04:35); upfront previews; and an UltraViolet digital copy.

As with the first film in the trilogy, the 1080p 2.40:1 AVC picture is superb, with an absolutely natural appearance and cinematic texture. The imagery is framed in 1.78:1 during the Hunger Games sequences and 2.40:1 for all other sequences. The appearance is stylized in darker tones and moods. The color palette is rendered in slate grays or cold blues. Fleshtones at times appear desaturated, which can soften the imagery. Few sequences appear otherwise natural. The Hunger Games occupy a tropical-flavored environment and exhibit lush green foliage. Overall this is an intensely stylized and dark film that exhibits cinematic qualities that are thoroughly engaging. (Gary Reber)

As with the previous release, the DTS-HD Master Audio™ 7.1-channel soundtrack is effectively rendered with an aggressive holosonic® soundfield dimensionality that conveys a spatially dynamic presence that is, at times, bombastic and dynamic. Surround envelopment is not only aggressive but directionalized, whether during intense scenes or during low-level atmospheric soundscapes, as well as during the TV show. James Newton Howard's orchestral music score is dynamic, with a wide and deep soundstage presence that extends effectively to the surround channels. Deep bass is articulated in the .1 LFE channel, to provide weight to the action sacrifice scenes and the music score. Dialogue is intelligible, with a spatially integrated presence. The added dimensionality provided by the additional two channels further enhances the sonic engagement and suspenseful unfolding of the Games, with reference sonic quality. (Gary Reber)