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Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is on Fire

What: Movie Review
Hunger Games: Catching Fire
When: Sunday, December 1st

Short Review:

Last week saw one of Hollywood's biggest modern franchises coming to the big screen once again with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The movie is wonderfully directed, smartly acted and overall done exceptionally well. By watching it one can sense that care went into this film, and the final result is rewarding with a second film in the franchise that's even better than the first.  The Hunger Games: Catching fire provides a much better thought provoking movie experience than some other franchises before it (ahem twilight), while also drawing even greater expectations for the next two movies that will follow.

Long Review:

Let's face it. Second movies in trilogies or franchises are usually the dull fork in between that are trying their best to bridge the gap between the first and second movies but usually fail upon doing so. (Unless one's talking about the Two Towers). This is utterly not true with the Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The movie is done exceptionally well, making the franchise more alive than ever with its second installment. All of your favorite characters return in the film, and the movie strongly benefits from an excellent lead performance by Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen.

Jennifer Lawrence is the ultimate star for Catching Fire. She brings her character to light, and outshines the others. There are some casts in movies that Hollywood utterly messes up on, and then there are those that seem to born to play the role. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen no doubt fits on the later. She truly brings her character to life and fans of the books should be proud of an actress that actually cares for the part and puts effort into. Of course, the other actors in the series also are convincing as their characters, especially the return of Woody Harrison as Haymetch and Elizabeth Banks returning as Elfie (the two mentors for Katniss and Peta). Even the young actors do a fairly descent job as Peta and Gaelle. It was also a delight seeing Phillip Seymore Haufman playing the games maker.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire did some major behind the scenes changes when it was first being shot. The film changed directions and had newcomer director Francis Lawrence coming on board. Francis Lawrence did a superb job as director, and even replaced some minor difficulties of the first film with more better characteristics. One of these was how awkward the cinematography was in the first movie, and one can tell how much of a greater improvement there was to the second film.

Strong action also benefits the film, and it actually doesn't feel as long as it is. The second part of the film, when Katniss enters the games for the second time is especially entertaining and an absolute thrill to watch. The themes presented in Catching Fire are also powerful and well done, making the film seem all the more interesting.

The movie is a tour de force, and will satisfy most all fans of the franchise and may even win some new ones. It's well worth seeing and one of the better films of 2013.

Grade: A

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