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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
November 30, 2013, 3:18 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Francis Lawrence
3 Stars
The Hunger Games - Catching FireNow firmly established as one of Hollywood’s brightest stars (and with an Oscar under her belt to boot), Jennifer Lawrence is even better suited for her role as Katniss Everdeen, the ultra-independent heroine of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy. Having survived the titular games of the first movie, Katniss returns in Catching Fire as a beloved celebrity–just as she is warned that she won’t be able to maintain a private life with her newfound attention, the same might be said about Lawrence herself at this stage in her career. Lawrence, indeed, is the key element that makes this series worth watching. Her command of the screen is unmistakable, and new additions director Francis Lawrence and cinematographer Jo Willems have a better understanding than their predecessors of what a close-up of her determined yet vulnerable face can accomplish. Despite the strength of her performance, however, much of Catching Fire feels like a retread of the first movie–the pacing is largely identical, only this time the intrigue of meeting a colorful new cast of characters is lost (stand-outs from the first movie, such as Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz, are underused). Most disappointing are the games themselves, which this time adapt a tropical setting with dangers such as a poisonous fog and a handful of murderous baboons. The conflicts between the participants themselves take on a secondary importance to the gimmicks, which considerably lessens the stakes of the interpersonal dynamics.

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