The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

  First Hit:  Longer than it needed to be and despite some good acting it certainly didn’t catch fire.

I enjoyed the first of film of this series and was hoping that this middle film in the series would hold up.

Unfortunately it didn’t mostly because Francis Lawrence didn’t keep the film crisp, moving along, and with a clear end in sight. From an acting point of view Jennifer Lawrence was strong as Katniss Everdeen and it was obvious that she was hampered by the script.

The basic story is that Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), winners of the 74th Hunger Games, are moving public opinion against the government. Therefore President Snow (Donald Sutherland) wants these two to go on tour to each of the districts and soothe the citizens. However, it doesn’t happen and the government, under the guidance of Plutarch Heavensbee (William Seymour Hoffman) – chief game engineer, decides to pit a selection of the surviving Hunger Games winners against each other. By doing this Katniss will probably die and hope could be extinguished.

Many of the faces in the previous film are part of this film like Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) who is Katniss’ dress designer, Cesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) as MC of the Hunger Games television program, Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) as stager of Katniss and Peeta, and Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) as a Hunger Games winner and coach.

Jennifer Lawrence was very good as Katniss although, she seemed to be constrained by the script. Hutcherson was strong as the guy who loves Katniss but she doesn't return it. Sutherland seemed totally un-leader like and un-presidential in his role. I don’t think it was his fault but the issue resides in a week script. Tucci does the most with his role and, as before, was outstanding. Kravitz role is minor, yet his makes his presence known. Banks was OK as the stager, and Harrelson was strong as the coach. Lastly, Hoffman was good, but the telegraphed way the script had him show that he was part of the resistance, was poor. Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt wrote a lazy, long and uninteresting script. Francis Lawrence had some nice staging but overall the week script kept this film long and not very interesting.

Overall:  A mediocre middle film in this series.