Valissa Smith is managing partner of www.itsallaboutHER.com, an online resource for women. She is a proud member of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle. You can watch Valissa's movie reviews Fridays at 11:00 a.m.on the KSHB-TV Midday Newscast.
The brutal games of survival haven't stopped for the Capitol. Every year, they pit pairs from the 12 oppressed districts of Panem against each other in a game to the death.
The most recent winners of the 74th annual games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, now know what it's like to live in the lap of luxury like the people of the Capitol. But it doesn't feel good to Katniss. Her anger and depression is evident. She hasn't fled for fear her mother and sister will be killed.
President Snow is not pleased with Katniss' lack of enthusiasm for her new life or her lack of love for Peeta. Love was a powerful tool in her arsenal that helped her win the games. He knows her heart still lies in District 12 with Gale Hawthorne, and with all of the oppressed in the 12 districts. And the oppressed people sense Katniss' disloyalty to the Capitol - they begin to see her as their hope. And hope is a spark that fuels change.
In an attempt to distract the crowds, President Snow orders a Victor’s Tour, moving the couple from district to district to show the people how much the two are in love - not only with each other but with their new life. It isn’t working. The gesture seems only to create more hope.
In a move of desperation, President Snow and Plutarch Heavensbee - the creative behind the various Hunger Games, change the rules for the Quarter Quell - the 75th Anniversary of the games. There won’t be new players from each district, instead the previous winners of each district will play against each other. Those who've been living the luxury life will return to the wilderness - a jungle this time.
The training begins again. It's time to find new allies. The games of survival are here. The level of technology goes up a notch. And the twist in the end is intriguing.
This was the fastest two-a-half hours of a movie that I've seen in a long time. The tension building up to the games, the games themselves and then the ending.
Oscar winning actress Jennifer Lawrence deserves every bit of the accolades. She can pull off the elegant scenes for Capitol, the emotional antics of her character and the physical intensity of the jungle. And the cast around her are strong especially Elizabeth Banks as the wacky Effie Trinket, Donald Sutherland as the evil President Snow, Woody Harrelson as comrade and trainer Haymitch Abernathy, Stanley Tucci as the exaggerated television host Caesar Flickerman and certainly Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the game's puppeteer Plutarch Heavensbee.
I haven't read the books, so I didn't know about the last short sentence of the story. But the few short ending scenes were a little odd, albeit surprising, and very abrupt.
What just happened? Oh! Clearly there's more to this story and a sequel on its way.
Arruga! - 0
Fidget Factor - 0
Age Range = 12 AND UP
Overal Grade = B+