Review: “Catching Fire” a Slow Burner

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I wanted to say that if you haven’t seen The Hunger Games you don’t have to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Especially given that the plot of this sequel is almost exactly the same as the first. Jennifer Lawrence loves some guy but has to pretend to love some other guy because President Snow (Donald Sutherland) wants her to. She’s called back to the capital to do a tour of the other districts as a victor and give her condolences to the families of the other sacrifices from the first film. After saying what she thinks to the family of Rue, she accidentally sparks a riot and sees police action taken against citizens. Because she’s causing trouble the President brings in Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to break her. He says they should just do another arena thing cause god knows after an hour of weird, forced, relationship drama the audience could use some death and destruction.

Jennifer Lawrence gives an okay performance, she’s believable as an unbelievable character. Maybe in the books you got some insight into the action of Katniss but on the big screen you just stare at her blank face as she refuses Pita’s advances. Jena Malone steals the show as Johanna Mason with decent acting and a degree of emotion and attitude that the rest of the movie entirely lacks.

The plot points are few and far between. Dead spaces are filled with nonsensical romantic tomfoolery and action scenes are relentlessly packed into the last forty minutes of the film. It was exciting once the movie started, it just took a while since I had to sit through an overly long drama that had half hearted attempts at social commentary.

For an action, popcorn movie it was decent, even though it pretends to be much more. I wasn’t bored, and I felt it was easier to get into than the first. I’ll watch the third one when it’s out but I sincerely hope that the action begins sooner in the film.