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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, is arguably the best of the three books, as it stands as “The Empire Strikes Back” of the trilogy. Does the film meet the expectations the book set?

After winning the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss becomes a symbol of hope, sparking an uprising across the Districts of Panem. Thus she becomes a target for the Capitol, and she is compelled to quell the uprising along with her co-victor, Peeta. When that fails, Katniss and Peeta, along with the other victors from previous Hunger Games, are forced back into the arena for the 75th Hunger Games. Let the flames begin.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss continues to amaze me, as she really captures the stress and conflict that Katniss experiences. She is pulled in many directions as the symbol of rebellion, a distraction for the Capitol, and part of a love triangle between Peeta and Gale. But despite all that, Katniss never stops trying to protect those closest to her, as well as fighting for what she believes in. This makes her one of the best role models in film history. Lawrence's acting ability continues to grow as she shows us why she is irreplaceable and irresistible as Katniss.

The relationship between Katniss and Peeta is more believable in this installment. The first movie didn't capture the feelings between them. Josh Hutcherson does a better job here portraying Peeta's feelings for Katniss.

The returning characters all undergo major improvements in acting and character development, especially Donald Sutherland as the sinister President Snow. But it is the new cast members who add life to the sequel. Sam Claflin as Finnick was the only one I had doubts about, since Finnick was one of my favorite characters. But Claflin completely blew my expectation away; he captured everything that made Finnick a memorable character. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman also gave an excellent performance as Plutarch, the best of the newcomers in this film.

The greatest strength of “Catching Fire” is how it tackles the political and social commentary through the Capitol. It perfectly captures the evil and corrupt government and gives us a sense of the totalitarian system that controls the Districts. We care about the uprising and understand why the Districts want to rebel. This is something the first film wasn't able to convey.

This Hunger Games is more exciting, more intense, more brutal, and even better than in the first film. It features previous victors, all who are experienced killers and winners, which means that the stakes are higher. Director Francis Lawrence was able to deliver more coherent action scenes. The best part: No more unnecessary shaky cams.

The final reason that this sequel is much better than its predecessor is that it is truer to the book. It captures the dark themes and elements, making it even darker than the first. It is one of the greatest book adaptions I have seen.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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JesusandHisLawyersThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 9:56 pm:
If somebody asked me to describe "Catching Fire" in one word, I know exactly which word I'd use. Cheap. It's a cheap gimicky desperate attempt to milk more money out of a book that should never have been published in the first place. Character development and world building is so incredibly lazy that it's impossible to care about what's going on, since the author obviously didn't care enough about what was going on to put any measure of thought into it. "Catchi... (more »)
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