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on June 6, 2014
The first half of the movie was more interesting to me, because it delved much deeper into the politics of the dystopian kingdom of Panem, where a totalitarian central government lords it over the capitol and 12 districts...the mysterious 13th District having been reportedly destroyed. We learn from President Snow (a menacing Donald Sutherland) that there may be a ground swell of rebellion in some of the districts..and that Katniss Everdeen is a source and inspiration for rebellion. So Katniss has to walk on thin ice, so to speak, while carrying on her bogus relationship with Peeta Mallark, and hiding her true feelings for Gale Hawthorne. Yet it appears that no matter how careful she is, her life and those who are nearest to her are still in jeopardy. This is an exceptionally well made follow-up to "The Hunger Games", and is adapted from the second book in the trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Jennifer Lawrence reprises her Katniss Everdeen characterization; and as with all her performances I've seen, she totally immerses herself in the character. Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth also reprise their characters of Peeta and Gale and do well. Woody Harrelson is back again, perfectly cast as Haymitch; as is Elizabeth Banks as the silly but loyal Effie Trinket. As for new characters, look for Phillip Seymour Hoffman, in a superb performance as the Master of the Games, Plutarch Heavensbee; and Jena Malone as the cunning, Johanna Mason, one of the tributes allied with Katniss and Peeta during the Quarter Quell games, which pits former Hunger Games victors against each other. The movie ends rather abruptly and you'll be left hungering for more...never fear, two more films are planned to portray the events in the third book, "Mockingjay"
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on May 30, 2015
Let's get right to it. I really enjoyed the entire Hunger Games trilogy of books, and I was definitely disappointed with the first Hunger Games movie. There were 2 big reasons I disliked it. First it felt like they spent a lot of time on insignificant details and, as a result, lost a lot of the emotional depth the film needed. Secondly, the shaky handheld camera was distracting and downright nauseating. Thankfully, a new writing team and new director means that Catching Fire had none of these problems. In fact it was a great sequel that actually improved on the predecessor and has me excited about what will come next.

They finally allow Jennifer Lawrence to experience more real emotion in this film. She genuinely made me tear up a couple times because she wears her emotions on her sleeve this time around. Josh Hutcherson is very likeable as Peeta, and you can see why Katniss actually starts falling for him a little in this film. Liam Hemsworth as Gale, however is superfluous. I know in a post-Twilight world it makes sense for the studio to play up the 2 suitors vying for the female protagonist, but nearly every scene with Gale could be easily cut without losing the story. I think I'd call the forced love triangle my only big thumbs-down in this film. The cast of other victors are really good. I particularly enjoyed Sam Claflin who gave a very passionate performance. Philip Seymour Hoffman was also a good casting choice and he does a good job with Donald Sutherland of showing just how vicious the Capitol government can be.

By and large it was what this film did not do that impressed me more than what it did. They were willing to cut unimportant moments from the book. An entire scene was summed up in just a few looks. We didn't need to meet every single victor, just the ones Katniss would actually interact with. It kept the film interesting and engaging without slowing things down unecessarily. There were a number of nods to things in the book, little things in the background which were kind of cool, almost like hidden Easter eggs. I think the only thing I missed seeing was Haymitch's back-story getting fleshed out a bit more. However that's a minor complaint in what I thought was a majorly good film. Catching Fire seriously gets the franchise back on track and should satisfy anyone who enjoyed the books or the first film. It is one of those rare cases where the sequel actual outshines the original, and I loved it.
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on November 26, 2015
I purchased the first "Hunger Games" in the store, so this is my first review & covers the 3 I have seen. I have a strange "Future Sports" collection starting with the original "Death Race 2000" & includes "Rollerball", "Running man", & "The Blood of Heroes". Now I 've added "The Hunger Games" & I have noticed that in all of the original versions of these future sports with the exception of "The Blood of Heroes" they all have a common theme, the victors all strive to tear down the controlling government that propagates these brutal sports! None of them do it on the grand scale of the hunger games & for good reason none of the other games really push the separation of social class & cruel reaping of the game players from what is considered the "Serfs" of the new world order. This 2cnd installment is action packed & sets up the finally in grand fashion. This story was originally a trilogy of books but the movie franchise is going to be four movies long not for greed but for pacing. Out of all the killer future sports movies this one stands at the top of the heap in scope, scale & endearing character development.
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on June 15, 2015
I like the relationship between Pita and Katniss. I also liked the relationship between Gale and Katniss. But it was pretty confusing how she seemed to be in love with both of them. So in my dating life before I was married when I had two or more guys that I was getting intimate with, I couldn't stand it. I could never feel at peace if I was kissing more than one at a time. Kissing for me indicated a deeper commitment to the guy. I couldn't commit to two like that. I felt the importance of choosing between them.

But I really liked how the author depicted the kind of things that deepen love between two people and sustain attraction. Time, unselfish sacrifice, enduring conflicts together. I love how both Katness and Pita were willing to sacrifice their own life so that the other would live. Most of us aren't faced with physical Hunger Game-like trials in our relationships. But I believe we are faced with spiritual and mental Hunger-Game-like trials. Sometimes we turn to what makes us feel good in the moment when life gets hard like alcohol, drugs, food, porn, or another man/woman. But the cost of doing that is sacrificing the relationship with our Pita or our Katniss. What makes us feel good in the moment is like our life. When we take it, we sacrifice the life of the one we love. We sacrifice building a relationship of Sustainable Attraction with him/her. Yet sometimes we do need a third-person to assist us when our relationship is becoming more like a black hole. I think it's so cool that there are counselors for that and God. #ReasonToBelieve
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on January 23, 2016
This is an excellent depiction of an excellent book. As a teacher, I see and hear of children much too young viewing these films as well as attempting to read and comprehend the novels. While a very talented 10-12 year old will be able to grasp the themes of the texts, the intensity, and very realistic violence of the visual experience will overwhelm younger children. The age recommendation of +14 is very accurate. This series delves into very dark themes including a government that reinforces a society of haves and have nots through keeping the majority of the population in despairing poverty. The callous amusement of the wealthy while young people must kill one another is terribly disturbing and should evoke that emotion from the viewer. This concept will be lost on young tweens.
This series joins the classic science fiction films and novels that are and should be required of the high school student such as "Lord of the Flies", "1984". "Dune", "Planet of the Apes" and others. A very thought provoking series.
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on May 16, 2014
If you read the books, and/or loved the first movie, you are in luck, as this is the first movie all over again. The whole first half of the film is a convoluted plot to get them back in the "games" again, from there on out, it's about the same as the first one.
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on March 16, 2014
First and foremost, good storyline taking off from the first. I love the core theme of this particular movie how the many districts saw KATNISS. A ray of hope for them even amongst the competitive themselves. But mostly love the ending as it leads, but also left you wondering and hanging really awaiting for the ultimate climax to the whole story as you can see it buildings but really don't know what it maybe, but you know its coming.
The next sequel have to be even more challenging and the storyline have to be solid in its setting the stage form the characters to bring it to life and believable within the story context I can't wait!
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Five COMPELLING Stars! This is a great "Hunger Games" sequel bringing back many of the original cast members and adding in many new ones. President Snow of the aristocracy of Panem reveals to Katniss Everdeen that he was unhappy about her survival with Peeta during the 49th Hunger Games competition. He initiates a more dangerous competition based on the 25 year loophole that requires all previous victors to compete in battle. And by sending in brutal Head Peacekeeper, Commander Thread he comes down hard on 12th District, Katniss' home district. This competition is depends greatly on allegiances to aid in strategy and in person-to-person battles. This is a great action-packed sequel starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Liam Hemsworth as Gale, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Woody Harrelson (who steals every scene he's in) as Haymitch, Elizabeth Banks as the audacious Effie, Donald Sutherland as the evil President Snow, the efferverscent Caesar Flickerman is again by Stanely Tucci, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, in one of his last films, as Plutarch. The new cast members are: Patrick St. Esprit as Commander Thread, Sam Clafin as Finnick, Jenna Malone as Johanna, Jeffrey Wright as Beetee, Amanda Plummer as Wiress, Stephanie Leigh Schlund as Cashmere, and Alan Ritchson as Gloss. This is a marvelous sequel to "Hunger Games" and a great prequel setting the stage for the upcoming "Mockingjay" editions to the Hunger Games movie series. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Five CAPTIVATING Stars (Directed by Francis Lawrence. PG-13. Time-1:46 minutes. Amazon Instant Video.)
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on July 24, 2014
I don't know why I like this trilogy...usually a female protagonist is pretty lame on the screen. But somehow, this is pulled off quite admirably. I find myself rooting for her above all the other contestants...every time. I actually like this one better than the first one-more intense and a darker plot going on in the background you weren't really privileged to in the first movie. With Hoffman dead in real life, they have the arduous task of replacing him. I've gotta believe the third movie will be at least the equal of the first two, or the whole trilogy is trashed.
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on January 3, 2017
I got this primarily to look at some 4K video on my new TV. Its stunning for that. Now a couple months later there's tons of 4K video out there. This is still a good movie with great cinematography.
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