Press-Republican

Out & About

November 28, 2013

"Catching Fire" improves on "Hunger Games"

The “Hunger Games” is back, and it’s even better than before.

“Catching Fire,” the second film in the series based on Suzanne Collins’s best-selling novels, picks up where the first left off and expands on the characters and the themes.

Heroic teen Katniss Everdeen and lovestruck Peeta Mellark have returned to downtrodden District 12, champions of the barbaric Hunger Games, the government-sponsored death match between two dozen randomly chosen young people.

All is not well, however. The people of the district are living in poverty, and the scheming president (Donald Sutherland) isn’t pleased with the way that Katniss beat the system in the first film and became a national symbol of rebellion.

Peeta and Katniss are sent on a victory tour of dystopian Panem’s 12 districts, in hopes of soothing the masses. Instead, they get the people more riled up than ever, and the president figures out a way to throw the duo back into the arena.

Philip Seymour Hoffman proves to be a nice addition to the series as the devious new gamemaker, Plutarch, who stages an all-star version of the Hunger Games, like a very special season of “Survivor,” with every contestant a former winner.

“Catching Fire,” though, has a little more social conscience and less of an emphasis on the actual battle in the arena. Not that the gladiatorial game itself isn’t well done; it is, and it is integral to the story.

The relationships, though, are stronger. Jennifer Lawrence is a powerful presence as Katniss, and Josh Hutcherson is stronger and more self-assured this time around as Peeta.

The triangle of Katniss, Peeta and hunky coal miner Gale (Liam Hemsworth) is intriguing, and there are good interactions with hard-drinking mentor Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and even with bizarre escort Effie (Elizabeth Banks), who gets to show some humanity behind her garish makeup.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Steve Ouellette's Movie Reviews
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Entertainment Videos
Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables ShowBiz Minute: Ray J, Nicole, Dinklage Rita Ora Talks Album; Walks at Calvin Harris Ali Larter Returns to TV in TNT's 'Legends' The Rock Joins DC Comics Film Smokey and a Few Good Friends Robinson, Still Writing, Duets With Friends Nashville Embraces Motley Crue Uzo Aduba's Big Emmy Win New 'Doctor Who' Gets a New York Welcome Kenny Rogers Reminisces About Museum Exhibit Star Power at Charity Banquet ShowBiz Minute: Williams, Emmys, Doctor Who Paparazzi Helps Kardashians to Keep in Touch Ronald D. Moore Shares His 'Outlander' Strategy Brosnan's Heartfelt Message to Robin Williams ShowBiz Minute: Williams, Dion, Brown Brosnan Back in the Game Raw: Broadway Dims Lights for Robin Williams Broadway's 'Aladdin' Honors Robin Williams
CVPH Job Opportunities