Watson’s Review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Director: Francis Lawrence Writers: Simon Beaufoy, Michael deBruyn Studios: Lionsgate, Color Force Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland Release Date (UK): 21 November 2013 Certificate: 12A Runtime: 146 min

Like “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” before it, the first adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ dystopian “Hunger Games” book series had a heavy burden on its shoulders: the burden of having to set up its fantasy world and lay out its many rules. There was the wealthy and sickeningly opulent city of The Capitol, the twelve impoverished Districts whose citizens live in squalor down below, and the barbaric, Battle Royale-esque Hunger Games the Capitol uses to entertain itself and keep the dozen Districts in their place. Thankfully, also like “A New Hope,” Gary Ross’ YA sci-fi thriller managed to be a very good and very engaging movie as it carefully assembled its universe, flaunting exhilarating thrills, a gripping adventure and a courageous teen warrior in Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen.

But now that all that pesky brick-laying is out of the way, and now we know where we are in the future world of Panem, it’s time to delve deeper into the characters’ journey, introduce some twists and turns and really tell a full-blooded story free from the necessary world-building. As such, you can consider follow-up “Catching Fire” the “Empire Strikes Back” (or “The Capitol Strikes Back”) of the “Hunger Games” saga: a superior, more confident sequel to an already terrific movie which cranks up the emotional stakes and journeys further into the dark side. (CONTINUE READING)

HotDog99 outta 10

For more from Stephen Watson, check out his NEW website: ADVENTURES IN MOVIE BLOGGING!

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