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LIONSGATE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Francis Lawrence
Cast:
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Writing Credits:
Simon Beaufoy, Michael deBruyn

Synopsis:
Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

Box Office:
Budget
$130 million.
Opening Weekend
$158,074,286 on 4163 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$424,668,047.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Dolby 2.0
English Descriptive Audio
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 146 min.
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 3/7/2014

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson
• “Surviving the Game” Documentary
• Deleted Scenes
• Previews
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


RELATED REVIEWS


The Hunger Games: Catching Fire [Blu-Ray] (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 15, 2020)

Given that 2012’s The Hunger Games came based on the first in a series of novels, fans expected additional films no matter what. When Games turned into a massive box office success, that ensured that we’d get the rest of the stories as well, and we continued with 2013’s Catching Fire.

In the first movie, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) competed in the literally life or death competition called “The Hunger Games”. Alongside peer Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutchison), she survived and emerged as the winner.

Their joint victory made Katniss and Peeta folk heroes, and they inspire uprisings among the poor districts of Panem. President Snow (Donald Sutherland) tries to use Katniss to quell these rebellions, but even she can’t put out this fire.

Eager to find a way to alter this equation, Snow institutes a new Hunger Games rule and brings back former champions to compete. This plops Katniss and Peeta into peril with another brutal battle on their hands.

That synopsis may leave the impression that Fire mainly remakes the first film. After all, both revolve around the titular Hunger Games, and with familiar faces involved. It seems possible that Fire will simply echo its predecessor.

This doesn’t occur, however, mainly because of character development. Obviously the Katniss we meet at the start of Fire differs radically from the one we got to know at the open of Games, and the film depicts that evolution well. The other returning characters display similar growth, and these elements add depth to what otherwise might end up as basic popcorn fluff.

This becomes essential because so much of Fire echoes the narrative thrust of the first flick. We spend much of the first half with plot/character exposition before the second part digs into the violence of the Games.

In addition to the added depth/development of the main roles, the introduction of compelling new combatants becomes a positive factor. Whereas the prior movie went with then-unknown youngsters as the Games contestants, Fire finds some familiar faces.

Although this could feel gimmicky, it works. Not only does the talent level elevate with good performers like Jeffrey Wright and Amanda Plummer in tow, but also the film’s creativity in terms of character choices adds fun and ingenuity.

We don’t get the fairly basic archetypes of the first flick’s kids here. Instead, Fire brings a clever array of combatants, and these add verve to the proceedings.

Of course, an overqualified cast helps as well. Fire launched Lawrence to stardom, and she remains a grounding figure here. Though she could coast through the sequel, she continues to give Katniss warmth and strength.

Really, the only area where I might dock points from Fire comes from the minor “been there, done that” factor. As hard as it tries to form its own identity, it continues to feel a little too much like a bigger, badder version of the original.

Still, I think it improves on the first film. Self-derivative as Fire can seem, it accentuates the property’s strengths and becomes more exciting and compelling than its predecessor.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus B+

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc - usually. The filmmakers shot about 50 minutes of the movie with IMAX cameras, and that used a ratio around 1.43:1. For those scenes, the 4K expanded to 1.78:1 - it’s not the full IMAX image, but it’s closer than 2.40:1.

Sharpness looked very good. A few wide shots appeared a smidgen soft, but the movie usually remained crisp and concise.

Jagged edges and shimmering failed to create problems, and edge enhancement appeared absent. In addition, the print lacked any noticeable defects.

As one might expect of such a dark story, the palette went with a stylized feel. Much of the flick went with a grimy teal tint, though a fair amount of gold/amber emerged as well. I thought the disc replicated the color design well.

Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows demonstrated solid clarity and delineation. I felt impressed by this image.

Similar thoughts greeted the effective DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack. The movie presented an involving soundfield that worked for moments both quiet and loud. The film created a good general sense of place and used a lot of directional dialogue to further spread out the events.

The mix of action sequences provided the best material, though, as they opened up the spectrum to throw us into the events. The package melded together the elements in a smooth, concise manner.

No issues with audio quality emerged. Speech was consistently crisp and distinctive, and music showed good range, as the score seemed rich and full.

Effects demonstrated great clarity and definition, while bass response was always deep and tight. This was a high quality mix that earned an “A-“.

As we shift to extras, we find an audio commentary from director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the source novel and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, music, sets and locations, editing, and related domains.

After a slow start, Lawrence and Jacobson pick up and give us a nice array of notes. They cover the film in a fairly thorough and turn this into an informative chat.

A nine-part documentary called Surviving the Game fills a total of two hours, 24 minutes, 55 seconds. Across these segments, we hear from Jacobson, Lawrence, producer Jon Kilik, publisher David Levithan, production designer Philip Messina, director of photography Jo Willems, set decorator Larry Dias, special effects coordinator Steve Cremin, casting director Debra Zane, makeup designer Ve Neill, costume designer Trish Summerville, hair designer Linda Flowers, dress designer Tex Saverio, key makeup artist Nikoletta Skarlatos, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Chad Stahelski, stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave, property master Drew Petrotta, 1st assistant camera Gregor Tavenner, IMAX technician Doug Lavender, editor Alan Edward Bell, sound designer/supervising sound editor Jeremy Peirson, visual effects supervisor Adrian De Wet, visual effects producer Melinka Thompson-Godoy, 2D supervisor Julia Reinhard Nendick, CG supervisor Dan Neal, 2D sequence supervisors Richard Reed and Mike Brazelton, CG sequence supervisors Huw Evans and Fabio Zangla, lead artist May Leung, FX supervisor Viktor Rietveld, CG build supervisor Jordan Kirk, IMAX CEO Greg Foster, IMAX Senior VP of Production Hugh Murray, and actors Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Woody Harrelson, Willow Shields, Paula Malcolmson, Jena Malone, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer, Bruno Gunn, Meta Golding, Stephanie Leigh Schlund, Alan Ritchson, and Lynn Cohen.

“Game” examines the involvement of Lawrence as a new director, story/characters/adaptation, set and visual design, photography, locations, stunts, weapons and action, various effects, cast and performances, makeup, hair and costumes, editing and sound design, audio and music, and looking ahead to further efforts in the series.

In other words, “Game” touches on pretty much all the appropriate topics, and it does so in a satisfactory manner. While some segments can feel a little fluffy – and parts feel like a commercial for IMAX – most of the documentary works well, so expect a solid examination of the production.

Five Deleted Scenes take up a total of four minutes, 35 seconds. The first couple offer tiny extensions, while the next two add a bit of exposition and the final one shows a little character info. None of them seem memorable.

The disc opens with an ad for Divergent. We also get a six-minute, 43-second Sneak Peek at Divergent. No trailer for Fire appears here.

A second disc offers a DVD copy of Fire. It includes all the BD’s extras except for the documentary – which becomes a pretty major omission, of course.

As a sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire lacks the originality and plot strength of the first film. However, it refines its predecessor’s qualities to become a livelier and more engaging take on the themes. The Blu-ray brings very good picture and audio as well as a nice set of supplements. Fire acts as a fine continuation of the saga.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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