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5 reasons you need to see 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' this weekend

By John Clyde | Posted - Nov. 22, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.



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DISTRICT 12 — The book series The Hunger Games took the world by storm, and now the second movie in the series is finally in theaters and fans have been champing at the bit to see Katniss and her beau.

I’m here to tell you, it was worth the wait.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is actually one of the better movies of 2013, and here are five reasons you need to see it this weekend.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

#poll

Pace

The first movie, titled "The Hunger Games," was a nice departure from other tween novel adaptations. It was intriguing, and it didn’t feel like a young adult movie but rather an entertaining film.

The first movie lacked in some of the pacing issues and dragged at times before the games actually got underway. The second film noticed those issues and cleaned them up.

The pacing in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” clips along and keeps you glued to the screen for all 2½ hours. Yes, the film is 146 minutes, but it doesn’t feel that long, thanks to the pacing.

Emotion

Jennifer Lawrence and Lenny Kravitz in "The Hunger Games: Catching 
Fire"
Jennifer Lawrence and Lenny Kravitz in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"

Those who have read the book know that The Hunger Games series packs an emotional punch. For those who haven’t read it, it’s not hard to realize considering it’s a story about an oppressed society that is forced to send children into an arena to fight to the death.

“Catching Fire” manages to capture this emotion in a way that will get your heart pumping and your eyes watering at times.

By the time the film ends, it has taken an emotional toll and you can feel it.

Action

The first film obviously had some white-knuckle action, but the sequel ups the ante.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

“Catching Fire” will knock the wind out of you at times, and you’ll find yourself at the edge of your seat waiting for the tension to break and let you catch your breath.

The film makes sure to not take the violence lightly, but rather makes sure you feel how heavy and real the violence and death is in the film. You’ll be left with your mouth open wide at times and shaking your head as you say, “Did that just happen?”

Story

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in "The Hunger Games: 
Catching Fire"
Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"

Suzanne Collins gave director Francis Lawrence a fantastic story to work with, but Lawrence and screenwriters Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt managed to bring the intensity and depth of the story to the screen.

Many times, book adaptations fall short on giving the story justice, but at times “Catching Fire” almost outdoes its source material.

I’ve read the books and I still found myself intrigued and waiting with bated breath to know what would happen next on the screen.

Jennifer Lawrence

Fans across the globe could not wait to find out who their Katniss Everdeen would be. We now know its Jennifer Lawrence, and there could not have been a better choice.

Last year, Lawrence dazzled all of us by playing the emotionally unstable widow in her mid- to late-20s in “Silver Linings Playbook” — a role she won an Academy Award for. Now a year later she’s back as the tough and troubled teenager Katniss Everdeen trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.

Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Game: Catching Fire"
Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Game: Catching Fire"

Whether she’s learning dance moves or shooting arrows, her performance is stunning.

The secondary players in the film are solid. Josh Hutcherson as the wounded Peeta Melark seems to fit so well it's as if Collins had him in mind as she wrote the character. Liam Hemsworth is believable as Gale and Stanley Tucci and Woody Harrelson are just a joy to watch. However, Lawrence is clearly the star of “Catching Fire.”

She commands your attention on the screen and she is on it for nearly the entire film.

Lawrence has just turned in one more performance to show she is a superstar that will continue to rise.

Have you seen the film? What were your thoughts? If you haven’t seen it, when do you plan on going? Vote in the poll and let us know on Facebook, the comment boards, send me an email or hit us up on Twitter.

Also make sure to listen to this week’s episode of the Flicks Junkies Podcast where we chat about “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and also give you heads up about what’s worth your time on Redbox, Netflix and Amazon Prime.

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John Clyde

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