Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Posted: December 20, 2014 in Drama
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catching fire

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) finds herself on the horns of a dilemma.   She loves Gale Hawthorne, (Liam Hemsworth) but the audience of the hunger games has fallen in love with the Katniss/ Peeta pairing that they fell in love with during the last hunger games. She’s won the last hunger games and now will get to tour the 12 districts of the country with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) as mentors and goodwill ambassadors.  The problem is, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) knows that she loves Gale, and does not approve, so she pretends to love Peeta, who is completely in love with her.

During the tour, Katniss is supposed to give a prepared speech written  by Effie Trinket, (Elizabeth Banks) but Katniss goes off script because memories of Rue clouded her judgment.  Katniss returns to script, but the revolution continues to foment in the districts.  President Snow is not happy, he thinks Katniss is a troublemaker, and he and gamesmaker Plutarch Havensby (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) add a wrinkle to the hunger games, since this is a Quarter Quell, President Snow forces Katniss to participate,  and even though Heymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) is chosen as Katniss’ partner, Peeta volunteers to take his place.  Do Katniss and Peeta survive the 75th hunger games?

I must say I’m disappointed in the second installment of the Hunger Games.  The first movie cleverly integrated a dystopian society with a satirical look at reality television.  Also, the Katniss character seemed like a strong minded intelligent role model for young girls.  But then the first movie followed in the footsteps of the Twilight series, developing the already hackneyed teen love triangle between  Katniss, Peeta and Gale.  In this movie, the love triangle dominates the story, the revolution against President Snow is almost an afterthought, and Katniss becomes just another lovesick teen girl torn between two boys.  The story is sadly predictable, and getting there is no fun at all.  I know that the studios have a demographic to please, but some adults were forced to watch this movie, throw us a bone too won’t you?  I also found the Mags storyline as manipulative as the Rue storyline in the first movie.

The performances varied greatly.  Jennifer Lawrence gave a comatose performance, no urgency about either the revolution or her male suitors.  She delivered the lines in a dull monotone, either this is bad direction or she is genuinely uninterested in this character.  Liam Hemswoth and Josh Hutcherson are just poster boys and their characters are just as one-dimensional as a poster hanging on a tween girl’s wall. There were good performances by great a actors, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Banks and Jeffrey Wright all gave great performances, but their roles were too small to be memorable, all to make room for the drippy romance.

The movie was far too long and unevenly paced, and the director should have taken the younger actors aside and gotten less leaden performances from Hemsworth, Hutcherson, and especially Lawrence, because she is capable of a much better performance.

The Hunger Games Full of it.


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