I am not exactly a big fan of the “Hunger Games” franchise, but I can see why the kids go bonkers over this stuff ─ it has all the elements needed to fuel a teenage utopian rage party: Fashion, rebellion, video game-like violence and action sequences, celebrity status, and even a love story. Throw in a deadly mist, a blood bath, and some rabid baboons and you have “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”
After young warriors Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) bent the rulebook and both emerged as champions of the 74th games, they expected to live out the rest of their lives making speeches and playing the roles as celebrity victors; but President Snow (Donald Sutherland) has other ideas. Snow still feels that Katniss is a threat to his authority and also a potential leader of rebellion, so with the help of Chief Gamesmaker Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), they devise the 75th-annivesary Hunger Games Quarter Quell: A new game that will pit the victors of all the previous games against each other.
All the surviving victors are now rounded up from Panem’s 12 districts and put into training, but they are not happy. Not only must they physically prepare, they must also hop on the propaganda train by participating in interviews with the Hunger Games version of Regis Philbin, Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci). Katniss and Peeta are once again advised by former victor Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), and ushered around by the ubiquitous cheerleader Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), in an effort to promote the games.
A modified tropical jungle is set up and the contestants are let loose, but what if the Olympics were held and nobody wanted to play? Is it possible that the reluctant participants could engage in a coup, or will they just all kill each other until only one survives? We will see. I recommend the movie. (Rated PG-13; 146 mins.)
My Rating: 3 of 5 Hunger Horrors.