The movie basically picks up the story where part 1 left off. Katniss has become the leader of the rebellion, Peeta has been brainwashed, and an army is being formed to take on President Snow and the Capital.
The first movie in this franchise was a good piece of entertainment, perhaps a bit violent for a younger audience and with a good director behind the camera, Gary Ross who made ‘Pleasantville’ (1998) and ‘Seabiscuit’ (2003).
The next instalments, ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ and Mockingjay Part 1 & 2 were directed by Francis Lawrence a talentless gun for hire who just does what the studio asks. Just look at his credits, ‘Constantine’ (2005), ‘I Am Legend’ (2007) and ‘Water for Elephants’ (2011), all movies with a complete lack of personality and zero sense of what decent mise-en scene is all about.
The few actions scenes this movie has are so badly directed and the visual effects are so poor it was at times embarassing to watch.
This film is such a waste of talent, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore and Jennifer Lawrence at least have a fair share of scenes but Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Jeffrey Wright and Elizabeth Banks who were so entertaining in the first films are shamefully underused. Hopefully the Flemish DoP Jo Willems will get back to projects like ‘Hard Candy’ (2005) or ‘Limitless’ (2011) where he can put his talent to better use.
The only (film historic) reason this film may be remembered for (besides making a lot of money) is that it is the last movie with Philip Seymour Hoffman who died before finishing the film while he only had a few scenes left to shoot. Seeing him next to Julianne Moore at least brought back good memories of ‘Boogie Nights’ (1997) and ‘Magnolia’ (1999).