Review: ‘Catching Fire’ is bigger, bolder and better than its predecessor

2013-11-29-The-Hunger-Games-Catching-Fire-movie-posterBy MARK VIOLA

Last spring we received “The Hunger Games” and now we have the sequel, “Catching Fire. Just as the second book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy was a deeper and more powerful work, so too is its adaptation.

The first film, directed by Gary Ross, introduced us to Katniss, Peeta and the rest those living, or simply surviving, in the dystopian future of Panem. While “The Hunger Games” centered on Katniss’ struggle to survive and the brutal nature in which the Capitol imposes its will over the 12 outlying districts through the horrifying spectacle of the games, “Catching Fire,” directed by Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend,” “Water for Elephants”), builds on the themes developed there to give us an expanded view of the world of Panem and the struggles of its people.

One of the first film’s greatest strengths was its cast, and those whose characters are still alive return and prove they are perfect for their roles. Perhaps it is the fact that we don’t need to worry about introductions or just the larger scope of the story, but “Catching Fire” overall feels grander and a more polished film. Fans of the first movie, and even those who may have felt something lacking, should find plenty to enjoy in this one.

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