The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Leaves Viewers Full

By SAM NEWMAN

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Lionsgate Entertainment

Special Note: Please imagine this review to be typed in upper-case letters, as the pure joy and excitement that results from viewing this film requires the constant use of THIS CASE.

This is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

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Jericho students are among the excited audience awaiting the start of the film.

For some, waiting an hour for a film to begin is supremely annoying. However, for the average “Hunger Games” fan, waiting 3 to 5 hours is what it takes to be deemed devoted, or in this case a “tribute.”  Millions of fans across the globe arrived hours early on November 21 to be the among the first to view the new film. As moviegoers grabbed their seats, excited discussions about their their favorite parts of the book or whether or not newbie Sam Claflin will be “hot enough” to play Finnick echoed throughout the theater.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” continues only months after Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark return home to District 12 in the fictional dystopian society of Panem since winning the 74th annual Hunger Games. These games are an annual event in which two young tributes are randomly selected from each district to fight to the death in a man-made arena where the last person alive is crowned victor.

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Lionsgate Entertainment

Katniss and Peeta were both crowned victors by threatening to commit suicide and by pretending to be in love, therefore defying the all-powerful and oppressive Capitol. President Snow, the ruthless leader of this futuristic nation, now feels threatened by the pair’s shocking move. He forces Katniss and Peeta to maintain their star-crossed lover charade and thereby suppress the uprisings in various districts on their annual Victory Tour.

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As a last attempt to regain control of his country, President Snow decides that, for this year’s Hunger Games, “the tributes shall be chosen from the pool of existing victors.” With the help of new game-maker Plutarch Heavensbee, he fashions these 75th Hunger Games (the Quarter Quell) to re-instill a paralyzing sense of fear in all of Panem’s citizens.

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Lionsgate Entertainment

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether or not you fully understand my ramblings, I’m forcing myself to stop here with my plot summary, for any more information would be considered a spoiler.

Academy Award-winning Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role as the “girl on fire” and is perhaps even more captivating than she was in the first movie.

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Lionsgate Entertainment

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” also features “Bridge to Terabithea” star Josh Hutcherson as the loyal and kind Peeta Mellark,  Liam Hemsworth as Gale, and all-around star Elizabeth Banks as the whimsical Effie Trinket.  Some new faces also grace the screen: Sam Claflin and Jena Mahone play victors Finnick Odair and Johanna Mason, respectively.  Academy Award- winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman is new game maker Plutarch Heavensbee and Donald Sutherland returns as the evil President Snow.

Gary Ross, director of the first “Hunger Games,” was fired after his film was met with negative reviews and complains of nausea, confusion, and dreadful special effects. Francis Lawrence, director of “I am Legend” and “Water for Elephants,” stepped up to film its sequel. He is known for his incredible talent in working with special effects, and I think this power transition paid off amazingly.  Francis Lawrence took advantage of IMAX Cameras to film the thrilling arena scenes. Lawrence was hired to direct the final two films in this series (The final book, “Mockingjay,” has been split into two separate productions.) Parts One and Two of “Mockingjay” are set to premiere November 21, 2014 and November 20, 2015 respectively.

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Lionsgate Entertainment

The film garnered $25 million dollars on its opening night, due in part to the many Jericho students and teachers who attended its Thursday midnight premiere and stumbled exhausted into class Friday morning.

“Excellent combination of humor, action, and emotion,” JHS history teacher Megan Rigo said of the movie. Ms. Rigo attended the midnight premiere and was first on line for the 8p.m. IMAX showing. Junior Rebecca Simon also attended the premiere and saw the double feature. “So much better than the first, and a must see!” she said.

“THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE” IS A MUST-SEE! I GIVE IT 5 OUT OF 5 STARS! (Sorry! I couldn’t resist; just imagine double upper case here…)

I’ll see you at the movies.

Here is the trailer to “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”:

Movie stills obtained from Lionsgate.

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