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Catching fire: a victory for the franchise


Katniss and Peta return for the thrilling second installment of the Hunger Games trilogy.
Katniss and Peeta return for the thrilling second installment of the Hunger Games trilogy.

“We have never seen anything like this, and we will never see anything like this again.” Those were the words of fictional TV show host Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) about the upcoming Hunger Games as he flashed a blindingly white smile at his Capitol audience.
Those were the words echoing through my head as I left the theaters in awe. We have never seen anything like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire— and we will never see anything like it again.
To the fictional citizens of the rich Capitol, the Hunger Games are an annual reality show, where tributes from 12 poor Districts fight for survival in an arena. To us—well, I guess you could call it a “movie franchise”.
The film follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) immediately after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Having sparked hope for rebellion among the citizens of Panem, a dystopian North America, she and fellow victor Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) must face certain consequences.
The first half of the movie features the two on the Victory Tour across Panem and Katniss’s short-lived time back home in District 12. While receiving friendly threats from the ruthless dictator President Snow (Donald Sutherland), Katniss gets caught up in a love triangle with her broody hunting partner Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta.
The second half brutally throws Katniss and Peeta back into the arena. An interesting new cast of characters emerge—most notably, District 4’s promiscuous Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) and 7’s charismatic Johanna Mason (Jena Malone).
As an appreciative reader of the trilogy, I stepped into the cinema with certain fan-girly expectations, and Catching Fire delivered. Even my visual hopes were met head-on from the fiery dresses to the poison-fogged skin.
Jennifer Lawrence is at the top of her form. Every time her voice so much as cracked in an outburst, I wanted to burst into tears myself. Catching Fire was praised by critics for its greater emotional depth, and this achievement is almost solely Lawrence’s.
Overall, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a thriller for both the readers and the newcomers. With a few amusing moments packed between action and thought-provoking drama, it presents a wide visual and emotional spectrum for its audience. When the credits began to roll, I only wished for the two films based on the last book, Mockingjay, to be released tomorrow.
If you’re a fan of the series, you won’t be disappointed—under skilled director Francis Lawrence, the odds will always be in your favor.

-Emily Y.

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