Screen Gems Movie Reviews
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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire November 22, 2013
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Studio: Lionsgate
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) returns in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

Fresh off of her victory in the 74th annual "kill or be killed" competition, she and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are safe back at home in coal-rich District 12.

But, they can't stay home for long. A Victory Tour must be taken, with an ominous threat from President Snow (Donald Sutherland) hanging over the proceedings.

Katniss knows the president means business. She just wants to run away and escape with her true love Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth). But he's not interested in running. Gale wants to stay and fight to make a difference.

Katness and Peeta soon embark on their tour of Panem's districts. However, things go horribly wrong when the people who were inspired by their story start rebelling against the government.

Because of a growing threat of rebellion, Katniss has become a problem that must be eliminated. So, the President invokes the "Quarter Quell." On the 75th Anniversary of the Hunger Games, 24 former champions from past events are pitted against each other. Katniss and Peeta's survival depends on making an alliance with some of the deadly strangers.

Meanwhile, the new Game Master (Philip Seymour Hoffman) has more deadly traps and evil plans ready to unleash on all of the contestants, with the goal to destroy Katniss once and for all.

I enjoyed the sequel better than the original. Although there are moments when the story stalls, for the most part it is propelled forward by a very good performance from Lawrence. This time around, Katniss is more demonstrative and emotional and it serves the story well.

In fact, most of the performances are better. Hutcherson seems more confident, Hemsworth is given more to do, and so are Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and Effie (Elizabeth Banks). With deadly perils and elevated action against more dangerous foes, "Catching Fire" is very entertaining.

It does have the disadvantage of being a middle chapter, and the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger but none of that takes away from a solid, exciting story.

On my rating scale, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" earns a HOME RUN.

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