Reviews & Previews - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Posted on Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 05:00 PM

Movie: Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Reviewed by: S. Tran


Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 146 minutes



Little Girls Will Love This


For the rest of us the movie doesn’t really have much to offer. Based on the middle book in the trilogy the film acts more like a set up than a complete story with a real payoff. Everything looks great and some of the characters are better than in the first film but overall it comes off a bit flat.


Catching Fire is true to the books and starts off where the first movie left us. Katniss (Lawrence) is back home in District 12 but her actions have now made her a dangerous symbol of hope to the downtrodden districts. The evil President Snow (Sutherland) has let her know that her family and friends are in danger unless she continues act like she is in love with Peeta (Hutcherson). To add more misery to her life she is once again forced to compete in the Hunger Games.


Sometimes the second movie in a trilogy works well as self contained story (Empire Strikes Back) and sometimes, like here, it feels a bit incomplete. I don’t mean because it leaves you with a cliffhanger ending, which is to be expected, but because the story itself feels like its just setting up the third film. The games in this second movie didn’t have the urgency of the first film. Everything felt like it was happening very quickly, as if the director was just trying to get it over with. There were no real moments like we had with the young girl Rue in the first film.


We also don’t get enough additional information about the evil Capitol to make us more invested in what is going to occur. The film needed more backstory about President Snow and the politics of the Capitol and the districts to give some additional context, to show us why we should care. for example in one scene the people in the capitol seem to be against putting katniss back in the games but that aspect is not explored at all. I understand the young teen audience may not need that, but for the rest of us that exploration would have helped draw us into the story.


I’ve heard that a lot more money was spent on the sequel after the huge success of the first movie. You can see some of that money being spent here and there but overall the production didn’t seem that far apart from the original.


Lawrence remains fairly reliable as the hot tempered, easily provoked Katniss. The role could have become almost a parody of itself except that she also manages to display vulnerability quite well, perhaps almost too well. Her character bounces back and forth between tough girl to crying girl so easily and often it almost felt a bit schizophrenic. It’s not the actor’s fault in this case, just a puzzling bit of character development.


On a good note Hutcherson is much better in this sequel. In the original film he seemed woefully outmatched by Lawrence, coming across more like her little brother. In the books he is supposed to be a strong, intelligent character in his own right and he finally seems to hit his stride here. After reading the book I still don’t think Hutcherson has the right physicality for the role but at least his character has matured.


This a decent movie that could have done a lot more with the source material. Despite the target audience there was a missed opportunity here to really explore the dystopian world, especially since this is really a setup for the finale. Its an enjoyable watch but that’s about it.



3 stars out of 5


Review of The Hunger Games (April 2012) >


S. Tran also writes at, and



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