“The Hunger Games Catching Fire”
Release Date: November 22, 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13 or intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language
Run Time: 146 Minutes
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Do you like movies? If so, you should probably go watch The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Boom. **drops non-existant microphone** That is pretty much all you need to know. If you’ve seen the first Hunger Games, you have had 11/22 circled on your calendar for a while and are definitely going to see this movie. If you haven’t seen the first one (it’s pretty good), go raid an empty blockbuster, watch it, and then go enjoy the vastly superior second entry.
The second in the series, “Catching Fire” follows the story of Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) after she returns home with fellow victor of the 74th Hunger Games Peeta Meelark (played by Josh Hutcherson). Shortly after their return, the two victors are required to leave their home in District 12 on a “Victory Tour” through each district before finishing in the Capitol.
The movie succeeds over the first in almost every way. Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend”, “Water For Elephants”) directs with a skilled confidence. The action is thrilling without being overwhelming, intense but not confusing. In the midst of unusual and bizarre dangers that in less worthy hands could have taken a wrong turn towards silliness, the directing and performances are able to keep the audience immersed in the story.
The collective talent of the cast is very impressive. Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks reprise their roles and are both more likeable here than in the first film. They are joined by seasoned veterans like Philip Seymore Hoffman and Jeffrey Wright and lesser established talent such as Sam Clafin.
Overall, the movie was well done and enjoyable. It is somewhat disapointing that “Mockingjay” will be following the trend of splitting finales into multiple movies, as that means we now have to wait two more years to see how it all plays out on the big screen.
On my scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst, 5 being the best and 10 being the worst again, I give “Catching Fire” a perfect 5 with an emoticon based subranking of: ZERMYGOD THAT WAS AWESOME.