The second installment in the Hunger Games series is an at times exciting, harrowing, adventure that makes it a suitable sequel to its predecessor. Director Francis Lawrence employs smart and slick camera work and we see less of the shakey-cam style frequently used by his predecessor Gary Ross in the first installment. Action scenes are more comprehensible and more exciting. Without a doubt Jennifer Lawrence, commanding a very strong performance, is the heart and soul the film. The supporting cast does a fine job for the most part, with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, and Jena Malone being the standouts.
I felt the first third of the film before the start of the hunger games was generally slow and boring. It left me eagerly waiting for the hunger games to begin. The film does a poor job on getting us to care about the other participants of the games. We don’t know much about them and it feels like they are there to move the plot along. As a result, I did not care as much when other participants perished. In addition, I didn’t buy the romance between Katniss and Peeta. The chemistry isn’t there and it just feels forced. The film ends with a great cliffhanger ending similar to Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. All in all, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a serviceable, adequate sequel with a bigger budget, more exciting action sequences, and a superior supporting cast.
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