The Hunger Games: Catching Fire review

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The Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), portrayed on one of Catching Fire‘s countless advertisements on a New York City bus stop. Izzy Sio ’16

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was one of the most anticipated movies of 2013 and has certainly lived up to its expectations, combining new direction with returning talent. 

The Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), portrayed on one of Catching Fire's countless advertisements on a New York City bus stop. Izzy Sio '16
The Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), portrayed on one of Catching Fire‘s countless advertisements, prepares to confront her enemies with a fiery glance. 
Izzy Sio ’16

Catching Fire takes place immediately after The Hunger Games, with Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark featured as celebrities for their victory in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.  The two soon embark on a victory tour, visiting the 12 districts of their dystopian nation, Panem, a fictional outcome of a destroyed North America.
Unknowingly, Katniss and Peeta hstarted a rebellion within the districts which the Capitol, the ruling government in Panem, wants to eradicate. Signs of the rebellion are revealed through various scenes placed together in quick succession, gradually building up tension among  Katniss and Peeta, the people, and the Capitol until the 75th Annual Hunger Games are announced, also known as the Quarter Quell.
Every 25 years marks a Quarter Quell in the Hunger Games, featuring a twist.  This time, previous victors from each district are selected as tributes, forcing Katniss and Peeta to return to the arena and brave the competition once again.
Originating as a book series by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games has acquired a huge fan base.  Compared to the production of the first film, new director Francis Lawrence stayed truer to the original text, pleasing many viewers.
“Everything was to the book, and they didn’t leave anything out,” exchange student and Mount Anville Secondary School sophomore Caiomhe Williams said.
Francis Lawrence, who previously directed Water for Elephants and I Am Legend, brings a more vibrant and calculated approach to Catching Fire, compared to the shaky vision of The Hunger Games director Gary Ross.
“I really enjoyed it,” Convent of the Sacred Heart senior Jacqueline Thomas said.  “It was more action-packed.  The effects improved, it was more thrilling, and it was different than the last.”
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire features returning actors such as Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, and Donald Sutherland.  The talents of these five experienced actors harmoniously combine to bring out the emotions intended for every scene, whether it be fear, rage, sadness, or love.  The movie’s new faces, which include Phillip Seymour-Hoffman, Sam Claflin, and Jena Malone, add their own charisma to each scene, meshing well with returning characters from The Hunger Games.
“The casting is intelligent, the director made wiser choices and had a steady hand – both literally and figuratively.  The narrative was well-paced, and it was overall a stronger film,” Sacred Heart graduate and current University of Pennsylvania freshman Nora Henrie said.
Garnering record-breaking results for a November opening, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire surpasses its predecessor in both the box office and in the eyes of fans. With its constantly building suspense and action mixed with the general likability of the characters, the movie feels timeless throughout the two and a half hours spent in the theater.
“It was perfect.  Everything was the way I wanted. It’s like they read my mind,” Caoimhe said.
– Izzy Sio, Staff Writer