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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - 5 Reasons It's Better Than The First One

Katniss Catching Fire When Gary Ross' film adaptation of Suzanne Collins dystopic novel The Hunger Games was released in spring of 2012, most fans could concede that the odds were mostly in their favor. In an era when most young adult novels hit the screen with a big wet flop or meet vapid, starved cheers, The Hunger Games was largely faithful to the novel, cared about all the same big ideas its author cared about, and gave us a pitch-perfect take on its central heroine, Katniss Everdeen. Sure, there were things that didn't work, or could have worked better. Ross isn't an action director, and the helter-skelter camera movement€”designed to pull a PG-13 out of a really gruesome scenario€”harmed the momentum and emotion in the action sequences. Everything felt rushed, and the thematic heft that came from seeing this world through Katniss' eyes was traded up for a theme-park tour ride; the Tributes zooming train became the distorted alter-ego of Disney's Small World attraction, zipping us through a totalitarian dictatorship with a stunning variety of oppression. At the end of the day though, The Hunger Games was a solid endeavor and a fine entertainment that respected and honored its source material, and more importantly, made a bonafide star of the much deserving Ms. Lawrence. Ross delivered two things the franchise dearly needed to begin well; structural integrity and exactly the right cast. It was a good beginning, but the nature of Collins series suggested that the next go-round wouldn't be nearly as easy. Now that Catching Fire is here, all can breathe a big sigh of relief. Francis Lawrence, a competent director that never dared to be great until now, grabs the reigns of the saga and instead of simply maintaining Ross' straight-forward trajectory, pushes it towards a bolder, bigger destination. This isn't just one of the best action/adventure films of the year, it's a substantial and heartfelt improvement over the picture that came before it. Instead of belaboring or rehashing the general plot-points€”you've either read the books or deserve to go in to this and experience it yourself€”we will take a look at the ways in which Catching Fire has gathered a sturdy start and turned it into genuine triumph. Note: I've done by best to mitigate any spoilers or major plot info regarding Catching Fire, but there will be some discussion about the events of the original Hunger Games. So, without further prep, let's dive right into the wilderness of Panem...
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Contributor

Nathan Bartlebaugh hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.