Jennifer Lawrence is Katniss Everdeen is The Hunger Games: Period! Hello again moviegoers, today it is the highly anticipated return of Jennifer Lawrence in her famed roll as Katniss Everdeen the bow and arrow toting heroine in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” Lawrence’s portrayal of Katniss is that of a head-strong, self-reliant survivor who is sympathetic to the plight of the people of Panem and is haunted by the reality her own nightmarish situation.
‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ (2 ½ sweet potatoes out of four) stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman; Director: Francis Lawrence; Genre: Action, Fantasy; Rated PG-13; runtime: 146 minutes; opens nationwide Friday, November 22nd.
The story picks a year later with the hint of a revolution in the air as Katniss and Peeta Mellark (played by Josh Hutcherson) make their victory tour to the other districts. Inspired by the triumph of the young couple, the citizens of Panem who have toiled in poverty and hideous oppression see Katniss and Peeta as a ‘beacon of hope’ as the tyrant President Snow, whose roll is reprised by Donald Sutherland, sees it.
President Snow leans on his new Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee (who’s played in a calculating manner by Philip Seymour Hoffman) to quash this uprising before it takes hold. Heavensbee does this by intensifying the brutality of the citizens and increasing the public displays of torture in an attempt to turn the people against Katniss and Peeta.
When this fails Snow reaches in to his bag of tricks, and for these games – the 75th Hunger Games – the rules of the ‘Quarter Quell’ will be in place. The ‘Quarter Quell’ occurs once every twenty-five years and selects the tributes for that year’s games from the pool of previous winners. This must be the living definition of hell if you’re a surviving tribute, but for Snow it’s a convenient way to crush any real threat of an uprising.
This time the game action unfolds in a subtropical setting which is more than reminiscent of some seasons of the reality show ‘Survivor’ with the exception of some game elements like agitated baboons, and angry birds.
In ‘Catching Fire’ like the first ‘Hunger Games’, there is plenty of color and pageantry and the eye-catching transformation of Katniss’ gown which are in stark contrast to the otherwise gloomy, dilapidated districts of Panem where most of the citizens dwell.
But “Catching Fire” also advances the plot in discernable ways. Here the story builds towards the inevitability of revolution where the first film was primarily about surviving the games. “Catching Fire” also brings into greater focus Katniss’ personal situation. You see Katniss is desirable and here she is desired by two – Peeta, and Gale Hawthorne (played by Liam Hemsworth).
She has a natural chemistry with Gale whom she has known for some time. But it is different with Katniss and Peeta. The uniqueness of their situation, not to mention Peeta’s charm and his devotion to Katniss’ wellbeing and the greater good is undeniable.
However, make no mistake; Lawrence’s ability to capture Katniss is the life force that drives “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and the franchise as a whole. I give this installment 2 ½ sweet potatoes out of four. This has been your resident moviegoer and I will see you after the movies at moviegoersview.com.