For a movie with Catching Fire as its subtitle, the second filmed volume in Suzanne Collins' dystopian The Hunger Games series may leave audiences a bit cold, just as much as the first one did.
This certainly isn't Jennifer Lawrence's fault. The damn-near-untouchable Oscar-winning starlet returns as young heroine Katniss Everdeen, back in the savage spotlight after winning the barbaric, child-slaying Hunger Games with fellow victor Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). This time, it seems that the oppressive and ever-nefarious President Snow (Donald Sutherland) wants Katniss dead and/or destroyed now that she's a considered a beacon of hope for the downtrodden, and a figurehead for a possible rebellion. So, she's forced to compete in the next Hunger Games, where she has to take on previous winners. (Think of it like Survivor: All-Stars, but with actual killing.)
Director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) now takes over the reins Gary Ross handled—or mishandled—with the first one. Although Lawrence is stuck with picking up the original's murky, visual drabness (has there ever been a blockbuster franchise less appealing to the eye than this one?), he does throw in some skillfully done action sequences, which actually brings some excitement to the proceedings.
Considering that the final installment, Mockingjay, will be spliced into two parts, here's hoping both Lawrences (no relation) will breathe more life into this rather frigid franchise.
Official Site: www.thehungergamesexplorer.com/us
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Michael Arndt, Simon Beaufoy and Suzanne Collins
Producer: Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Lenny Kravitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jena Malone
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