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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Movie Review - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Philip Seymour Hofman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, and Donald Sutherland
Directed by Francis Lawrence

Comparing The Hunger Games film series to the Twilight series is inevitably going to happen simply because both focus on female protagonists and both stem from extremely popular literary tomes.  The comparison isn't fair in the slightest, however, because there's simply no competition -- The Hunger Games beats the Twilight series to a pulp in all areas -- story, acting, and direction.

With the first film in the series ending with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) formulating a plan for herself and her good friend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) to win the Hunger Games together, her success and intelligence doesn't sit too well with President Snow (Donald Sutherland).  Seeing his nation desiring to rebel against The Capitol and his presidency, Snow decides to throw a twist at Katniss -- for the 75th Hunger Games, previous winners will be forced to battle each other to the death again with only one winner taking the glory.

Admittedly, Catching Fire is really just a rehash of The Hunger Games, however, I think overall, the film plays better than its predecessor.  We've come to hate President Snow which makes his maniacal ways even more disturbing.  We've grown to care for Katniss and feel more empathy for her being forced to take part in a love triangle with herself, her public love Peeta, and her private love Gale (Liam Hemsworth).  The battle between the twelve districts against the Capitol holds more gravitas after we've seen what the government puts its citizens through during the Hunger Games.  It's because of this increased feeling of import that Catching Fire works better than the original film despite similar plots.

Unfortunately, this very thing that makes Catching Fire resonate more also doesn't allow it to feel remotely original.  We're given, for all intents and purposes, the same story again.  The actors across the board sell it, keeping up the good work we saw in the original, and director Francis Lawrence also keeps the film looking as nice as the first flick.  However, I found myself longing for less of the Hunger Games themselves and more of the battle between the government and its citizens.  Fortunately, I hear that the third installment will grant my wishes.

The RyMickey Rating:  B

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