November 14, 2013
'Hunger Games: Catching Fire' Reviews: Jennifer Lawrence Is Great, The Plot Is Weak

In case you hadn't heard, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hits theaters across the nation on November 22. In fact, some analysts believe the movie will break box office records.

Although fans will no doubt line up to see the flick when it finally arrives on the big screen, that doesn't necessarily mean it's the greatest motion picture ever designed by mankind. Some of the early reviews for Catching Fire fire suggest that it's a little too similar to the first outing. However, everyone seems to love Jennifer Lawrence.

The Guardian critic Paul MacInnes recently gave The Hunger Games: Catching Fire three out of five stars. His write-up wasn't exactly scathing, but he clearly had issues with the flick's familiar story.

Machines explained:

"The reprise of the Games introduces new adversaries (and some allies) but has exactly the same dynamic as in the first movie; Katniss must keep both herself and the ever-so bumbling Peeta alive. It's all a bit familiar. There's also a figurative heartlessness about this passage, too. While a fair portion of the original was spent setting up the moral difficulties of competing in a winner-takes-all bloodbath, as the bodycount here grows, the minds of the participants are only on tactics."
Geoffrey MacNab over at the Independent also had a few issues with the plot of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Again, the review doesn't destroy the sequel brick-by-brick, but it's clear that the familiarity of the story is rubbing a few people the wrong way.

The critic explained:

"Strangely, when the long-awaited Hunger Games start, the film loses steam. There are still some tremendous special effects—toxic mist, mutant monkeys with a taste for flesh -- but the storytelling becomes muddled. Katniss remains at the heart of the action, using her bow and arrow to explosive effect, even as we struggle to work out who survived, who is dead, who is killing who, what is happening -- and why."
Despite the problems with the story itself, everyone seems to love Jennifer Lawrence. Since the beloved actress can simply do no wrong these days, her performance in Catching Fire serves as the film's centerpiece. In other words, go see the movie for Lawrence.

"In an industry with no shortage of star wattage, Jennifer Lawrence burns like the sun, and makes stardom look miraculously easy without ever hinting at the possibility she's coasting on charm," Indiewire writer Todd Gilchrist explained in his review of the sequel.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens in theaters across the US on November 22. Are you planning to catch the movie on opening weekend?

[Image via Summit Entertainment / Lionsgate]