Second parts of movie trilogies are always a tough sell. They’re usually stuck in the middle, neither fresh nor conclusive, and must rely on “pulling gear” acting and razzle-dazzle to justify themselves in advance of the “main event” finale, waiting in the wings. Such is the case with this installment of the ordeals of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) – muscular-shouldered virgin huntress deity and cream of the downtrodden working classes – as she and her comrade Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are forced once more into the battle arena by President Snow (Donald Sutherland), chief oligarch of Panem. What does it all mean? Everything, to fans of social-revolutionary fantasy; or nothing much, to effects enthusiasts who have gaped at all too many similar sci-fi spectacles. More of a place-holder than a stand-alone cinematic event. Redeeming facets include character acting (Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer, and Sam Claflin) and the general thrust of the story, directed by rock-vid guy Francis Lawrence, adapted by writers Simon Beaufoy and Michael deBruyn from the novel by Suzanne Collins (146 min.).
Director: Francis Lawrence
Producer: Nina Jacobson, Jon Kilik, Suzanne Collins, Louise Rosner-Meyer, Joe Drake and Allison Shearmur
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Philip Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Amanda Plummer, Jena Malone, Lynn Cohen, Meta Golding and Bruno Gunn
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire