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Review: The Hunger Games Catching Fire

The Hunger Games Catching Fire
11.13.2013
8 10

PLOT: Katniss Everdeen has returned home after surviving the Hunger Games. Along with her ally Peeta, the two attempt to adjust to a regular life while still being paraded around by the upper class for an upcoming Victor’s Tour. Things change however when the Capitol sees a revolution brewing thanks to Katniss’ rebellious spirit, thus sparking a return for both to another fight to the death for the 75th Annual Hunger Games… Are the odds ever in the audiences favor?

REVIEW: THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE is a rarity. It is a sequel that ably expands on the original film while still living up to its own worth. While the games still play a part in the latest chapter, CATCHING FIRE explores the pressures of representing a society that is falling apart at the seams. When both Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark (Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson) find themselves being placed upon a mantel – what you could call a trophy for the well-to-do - the two feel the pressure of their new found celebrity. What the powers that be do not expect is the citizens of Panem finally fighting back thanks to the inspiration of Katniss and her willingness to stand and fight.

In the opening scene we find the film’s heroine facing her own demons. As a survivor of the first film, she faced death, loss and pain all in the name of keeping the upper echelon of Panem satisfied and entertained. Back at home during an early morning hunt with her true - and secret - love Gale (Liam Hemsworth) her memories seize control in a bout of a post-traumatic stress breakdown. Outwardly, she is a celebrated figure in the games however she still suffers from nightmares of the bloody PG-13 encounters. Upon her return, she looks to keep her family and friends’ safe from what is clearly a dangerous and authoritarian society lead by President Snow (Donald Sutherland). When the great and powerful Snow insists on arranging a meeting with her, she comes to the realization that she has made a very powerful enemy.

In this second installment, Katniss is forced to face an even more brutal battle. The one time champion is thrust back into the violent world thanks to Snow allowing the 75th Hunger Games to pit victors of previous years against each other. Along with Peeta, she is sent to fight against a brand new – and slightly more interesting – set of players. This includes Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair, Jena Malone as Johanna Mason and the wonderfully creative casting of Amanda Plummer and Jeffrey Wright as Wiress and Beetee – what the hell is with these names? Also new to the proceedings is the fantastic Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, a mysterious game designer that may not have Katniss’ best interest in mind.

Certainly this may all sound excruciatingly complicated for the uninitiated but it is not. I’ve yet to read a single paragraph from author Suzanne Collins bestsellers yet it is not hard to be taken into this strange world. Of course the film manages to present itself well to the many “young adults” that are sure to be watching. Thankfully it strives to be more than that with a fantastic cast and new look thanks to I AM LEGEND director Francis Lawrence (no relation). As much a statement on the detrimental consequence of greed as well as a modern day fable of class vs. class, Ms. Lawrence as Katniss remains a worthy example of female empowerment that is just as vulnerable as she is ferocious.

As for both Effie Trinket and Haymitch Abernathy (Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson), the two colorful district representatives are far more sympathetic as they are heavily affected by the games this time around. Both have much more at stake and it shows by their emotional support, especially since Abernathy is himself at risk of returning as a tribute giving up his lush, alcohol fueled lifestyle. Banks is especially good here as the elaborately painted chaperone for District 12 who is not used to discovering a connection with her tributes. The core ensemble that was developed in THE HUNGER GAMES is a strong one with each of the actors once again offering impressive performances.

As the second film in the series, CATCHING FIRE is given the difficult task of building the franchise as well as whetting the appetite for the next. Occasionally the story feels a tad long especially leading up to the games. Some of the themes presented could have been simplified as opposed to embellished. Even still the nearly two-and-half-hour running time is manageable. The final act especially will excite and frustrate many. Without pointing to an obvious and clear example of a sequel that managed to pull off the same thing remarkable well, the final shot here worked for me. The story is far from over and I’m looking forward to seeing exactly how the revolution that is beginning on-screen will transpire.

Director Lawrence has taken to this world with confidence without sacrificing what Gary Ross had brought the first time around. The violence is slightly toned down as the games themselves are not as prominent here. Some audiences may even be thankful that the shaky cam and quick cuts from the first are considerably less noticeable. Thankfully this second feature is equal - if occasionally superior – to the first film. If this is any indication of what is to come, THE HUNGER GAMES may very well be a franchise to remember. With an impressive cast, a good script by Simon Beaufoy with Michael Arndt and and an intriguing story, this is one cinematic revolution that fans are sure to rejoice in.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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-3
11:08AM on 11/19/2013
I bet it is not better than Battle Royale 2
I bet it is not better than Battle Royale 2
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5:01PM on 11/14/2013

Strange Character Names

It doesn't seem that unrealistic for people to have such weird names in the future. I mean, based simply on today's culture treating children's names as if they were for pets (look no further than the names given to Hollywood babies), it's only inevitable that society will be full of bizarre names.

As for the movie, I liked the first one and look forward to this sequel.
It doesn't seem that unrealistic for people to have such weird names in the future. I mean, based simply on today's culture treating children's names as if they were for pets (look no further than the names given to Hollywood babies), it's only inevitable that society will be full of bizarre names.

As for the movie, I liked the first one and look forward to this sequel.
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9:41AM on 11/14/2013

Meh

I will admit right off I am what most people would call a hater of this franchise, never read the books, I stopped reading board books a while ago, saw the movie mainly because of the wife, gagged most of the way through it. Josh Hutcherson is now a movie killer for me such a douche. But what really got me about this article was the phrase "Toned down the violence" ROFL is it rated G now! Granted the actual fighting was boring and ridiculous in the first movie, but it was better than the
I will admit right off I am what most people would call a hater of this franchise, never read the books, I stopped reading board books a while ago, saw the movie mainly because of the wife, gagged most of the way through it. Josh Hutcherson is now a movie killer for me such a douche. But what really got me about this article was the phrase "Toned down the violence" ROFL is it rated G now! Granted the actual fighting was boring and ridiculous in the first movie, but it was better than the dialogue.

I will not be paying to see this movie, and can't believe that the SyFy channel can out special effect a big budget Hollywood tent pole...please someone teach them how to render fire. sigh.

I do have to say that showing the rating for any previous movie in a franchise in a sequel review sounds like a great idea.

Bring the hate.
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9:00PM on 11/13/2013

NEW JOBLO SITE RULE FOR REVIEWS

I think when you guys post a review for a sequel (franchises) you should post your rating at the beginning for the first film. Because if let's say you gave the first one a 7 and this one an 8, I would know what I was working with. Yeah I could look it up, but there's no guarantee the same writer wrote that review a few years back... And it's kind of a lame thing to have to do every time I want to know. It helps us have an understanding of what we are working with.

As for my example, if you
I think when you guys post a review for a sequel (franchises) you should post your rating at the beginning for the first film. Because if let's say you gave the first one a 7 and this one an 8, I would know what I was working with. Yeah I could look it up, but there's no guarantee the same writer wrote that review a few years back... And it's kind of a lame thing to have to do every time I want to know. It helps us have an understanding of what we are working with.

As for my example, if you did give the first one a positive score and this one gets an 8 then I would know, okay well you liked the first one so I'm not surprised you liked the 2nd one that had a bigger budget ect. I thought the first one was a horrible peice of shit movie, Like a 2 or a 3. If you felt the same and you gave this one an 8 I would slightly be more inclined to give this a chance.


You get what I mean?
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6:48AM on 11/14/2013
So Chris Bumbray and JimmyO both gave the original an 8/10. So by your reckoning, this new 8/10 review means the movie will be shitty too (to you).

Interesting...the problem with your system is this -- the books get *significantly* worse as the series goes on. So while I thought the first book and first movie were both good and I agree with the first movie getting an 8/10, I happen to know that the shitty writing in the 2nd book means I can't imagine how or why the 2nd movie would also get
So Chris Bumbray and JimmyO both gave the original an 8/10. So by your reckoning, this new 8/10 review means the movie will be shitty too (to you).

Interesting...the problem with your system is this -- the books get *significantly* worse as the series goes on. So while I thought the first book and first movie were both good and I agree with the first movie getting an 8/10, I happen to know that the shitty writing in the 2nd book means I can't imagine how or why the 2nd movie would also get 8/10 unless the script is a completely different story than the book. I didn't get that from this review though.
-2
2:32PM on 11/13/2013
I'm surprised. The book was pretty bad. The first film I enjoyed, but the series gets progressively worse. I will still see this as I enjoy the series as a whole, but I have little hope for the final films, especially since there's two of them. The last book was terrible. How they will manage to pull off a great movie, I've no clue.
I'm surprised. The book was pretty bad. The first film I enjoyed, but the series gets progressively worse. I will still see this as I enjoy the series as a whole, but I have little hope for the final films, especially since there's two of them. The last book was terrible. How they will manage to pull off a great movie, I've no clue.
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11:40AM on 11/13/2013
8/10? Great!
8/10? Great!
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10:02AM on 11/13/2013
Sounds awesome! I liked "Catching Fire" more than the first one, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
Sounds awesome! I liked "Catching Fire" more than the first one, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
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9:05AM on 11/13/2013

I hated the first one, this looks like more of the same.

Even the trailer is nothing but shaky cam nonsense and its just really overuses poor CG.
Even the trailer is nothing but shaky cam nonsense and its just really overuses poor CG.
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8:29AM on 11/13/2013
Glad to read the positive review and that it surpasses the original, which is no easy feet. Can't wait.
Glad to read the positive review and that it surpasses the original, which is no easy feet. Can't wait.
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-33
6:33AM on 11/13/2013

Surprising...since the book blew...

I'd have rated the books:
Hunger Games: 8/10
Catching Fire: 4/10
Mockingjay: 2/10

So...how did they pull off a good movie based on such poor material!?
I'd have rated the books:
Hunger Games: 8/10
Catching Fire: 4/10
Mockingjay: 2/10

So...how did they pull off a good movie based on such poor material!?
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12:46PM on 11/13/2013
Wow...guess there's a lot of 12 year olds on this site...
Wow...guess there's a lot of 12 year olds on this site...
5:09AM on 11/13/2013
Glad to hear its good, thoroughly enjoyed the first one and am looking forward to this and how awesome is Jeffrey Wright in Boardwalk Empire!

It's also great to see a young adult range of books that promotes strong, independent female characters, unlike...you know who!
Glad to hear its good, thoroughly enjoyed the first one and am looking forward to this and how awesome is Jeffrey Wright in Boardwalk Empire!

It's also great to see a young adult range of books that promotes strong, independent female characters, unlike...you know who!
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5:06AM on 11/13/2013

Jimmy-o's reviews

What score he gives, take off another 3 or 4 points!

So this is prob a 5 or 4!
What score he gives, take off another 3 or 4 points!

So this is prob a 5 or 4!
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6:34AM on 11/13/2013
In this case, I'd tend to agree, since the book was so bad, but that's my only data point.
In this case, I'd tend to agree, since the book was so bad, but that's my only data point.
12:09AM on 11/14/2013
Why are you guys giving booster_gold87 and drexxell such negative points? I mean I have a feeling it's one person continuously giving these two thumbs down. Really guys? At least back it up.

Damn kids...
Why are you guys giving booster_gold87 and drexxell such negative points? I mean I have a feeling it's one person continuously giving these two thumbs down. Really guys? At least back it up.

Damn kids...
2:39AM on 11/13/2013
im glad jennifer lawrence is doing well she seems like she has a good head on her shoulders i enjoyed her in x-men first class have not seen the first hunger games
im glad jennifer lawrence is doing well she seems like she has a good head on her shoulders i enjoyed her in x-men first class have not seen the first hunger games
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2:08AM on 11/13/2013
I'm looking forward to this. Francis Lawrence does solid, good-looking work and Simon Beaufoy is a talented writer who totally deserved the Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire. I hope the production values on this one are better than on the first film, though that didn't inhibit my enjoyment of it.
I'm looking forward to this. Francis Lawrence does solid, good-looking work and Simon Beaufoy is a talented writer who totally deserved the Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire. I hope the production values on this one are better than on the first film, though that didn't inhibit my enjoyment of it.
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