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November 20, 2013


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Kevin A

This is just a bad boring movie. With awkward lines and some bad acting.

Character and plot development are almost non-existent. The scene when they are crawling through the water to get the sores off their skin (from the fog). Horrible and cringe worth acting.

The argument that we should have all read the book, is irrelevant. A well made film should be able to successfully transfer the text to screen. Not merely be visual eye candy for those who have read the novel. If there is good character development in the novel (as everyone claims) then it should also be done in the film. period.

was bored and tired in the movie.


good movie.


I felt genuinely put-off by this review: not due to your clear contempt for a story clearly inclined for understanding by teens, or his methodical use of advanced vocabulary and seemingly advanced meticulous sentence structuring to bolster his image and appear too pop-culture-savvy to appreciate (apparently cliché and overused) steadfast, sacrosanct values such as bravery and selflessness, but instead for its lack of relevance to the movie's production quality and rather towards plot issues (?) such as Katniss's compassion in saving Peeta followed by a roundabout feinging of love in an attempt to sway the districts and capitol (comedy gold). Why mock something written in the book and blame it on the movie? Review is in poor taste. Hectoring a movie that was intended for the audience that read the book for it's lack in complexity in dialogue, which you described as hilarible and unspeakable, is dithering about an aspect that wouldn't make the movie worse, and would place blame on the book's dialogue that was scripted into the movie. Especially since "hilarible and unspeakable" seems to me as complete hyperbole for the kind of dialogue I heard when watching the movie, but possibly not for you seeing your extensive vocabulary base or bravado sentence length. Much of the communication in this movie is facially and emotionally expressed at great length (done very well due to the all star cast we can actually give the movie praise for), not to mention there is an overlying dystopian nature to the movie, but it seems all you got out of that was the crying? She was seventeen and was pitted to kill her way out of a death sentence. The acting was great. Katniss's hurt is clearly visible to the audience, and it stands as a monument to her struggle. Use your intelligence to read the book before undermining the movie for crafting a story it never crafted.

But besides all of that, I still don't comprehend how in a predominance of the comment section, well-spokenness justifies a stigmitization of CF. "If you *really* wanted to be like Katniss, to believe in the heroism she potentially represents, wouldn't it be your duty to reject these movies both financially and philosophically?" This isn't even relevant to the movie. Enjoy it for what it is: a dramatic uprising through a girl's intensity - her willingness to survive and perpetuate the values that we respect as a people. No need to question the viewer's moral fiber and incriminate yourself with the "non-intellectual". I swear, some commenters' antithetical attempts to seperate themselves from the mainstream are so obvious I can smell the rancor through my computer. The book is sanctimonius, so I suppose the cynicism towards the movie must be the route to bash any issues with the story itself and not the movie. Man. This looks like a YouTube comment section, not one for a *purely unbiased* movie review. Standing by a quote from Jonah Hill in 'Get Him to the Greek': "Nothing you say makes any sense. I understand that now, you're smart so you make your insanity sound good, but it's bullshit." Watch other comments bubble up to bash this one.

Nathan Campbell

If you are not a teenager, or a parent living vicariously through a might not want to bother. To be fair, I haven't seen "Catching Fire." However, I remember my 16 year old niece going on and on about how great the "Hunger Games" was. So I gave it a chance. Despite all the hype, it was a average movie at best. Its all about elaborate makeup, and lavish costumes. The actual "games" themselves were a joke.
Example? The "Hunger Games" is a supposedly a fight to the death, winner take all event. Yet, everyone teams up and sleeps together under a tree, just to get a chance to kill Katniss. I don't know about you, but the concept of "last man standing" certainly don't mean having a group sleepover. This lapse in logic might not be noticed by teenagers, but it may insult your intelligence if you are over 16.


Haven't read the books, but am completely sympathetic to the social commentary the story is attempting. I have to agree with Walter on this one though. The film is a crashing bore. It may very well be that the 'point' of the film is that the protagonist is a pawn being fought over by competing factions, but unless the protagonist is aware of that and/or struggling against it somehow, you simply have a passive protagonist.

You can see the problem immediately when Malone comes on screen. Her character has passions, opinions, an agenda and voices them. Is thus immediately more interesting to watch. The story told from her characters point of view would have been much more compelling.

Add to this the 'unspeakable dialogue' as Walter notes. (You could actually see Hoffman cringing inside) Absurd character responses, why was it shocking to anyone that Kravitz was summarily executed for inciting rebellion? Flat antagonists and non-functioning social commentary and you get a pretty forgettable 2 hours at the movies.

Whether this is a book problem or a film problem is irrelevant. If the filmmakers have translated the book's narrative weaknesses to film, then they've simply made a bad film.


Is she really "earnestly dreadful"? Say that to her OSCAR!

Sloppy D

Punchbowl; turd. Turd; punchbowl.

This reads like it was written by a pubescent Armond White. Consider this a compliment or not. All I know is that from now on, if I ever wonder if I've gotten too cynical in my early middle age, all I have to do is think back to this review and the answer will be "Well, at least I'm not Walter Chaw."

When evaluating a movie, I nearly always fall back on the axiom "was this movie a well-made example of what it was trying to be?" Walt seems to be taking shots at "Catching Fire" for some undefined thing that he wanted it to be, but it was never concerned with being. The source material is a pop novel (unread by me) for teens/young adults for Christ's sake. It was alway going to be a big, kinda dumb spectacle with all possible edges dulled and padded. So, for a big dumb spectacle was it at least well-made and entertaining? I thought it was. At 2 1/2 hours, it didn't seem long to me, which is always a positive sign.

Heaven help me if I ever become so "mature" or "film literate" (read: jaded) that I lose the ability to take in a loud, lumbering tentpole with many other humans and not come out as the contrarian a-hole that Walt accurately fears he has become. At this point, I still allow myself the possibility that I might actually enjoy myself at one of these "event" pictures.


One thing is abundantly clear: This reviewer is an idiot who has no idea what makes a good movie. From now on, I shall find out what this person DOESN'T like... and then go watch it. Not only does Walter Chaw not understand good cinema, but he's a pretty poor writer, to boot. This article would never have gotten past my editor without being heavily rewritten. It's sad that such mediocre writing is allowed to pass when it comes to reviews these days. Where's the professionalism?


I've seen Twilight, and I loathed it. I laughed at it. I haven't read The Hunger Games, and I don't intend to. That being said, I really enjoyed Catching Fire. It seems to me after reading this review and all of the comments, that there are numbers of people who seem to hate this movie for all the wrong reasons, and people who would defend it by insulting everyone who just didn't like it. I'm going to try to be neither. I won't insult anybody's intelligence, spelling, sentence structure, or insinuate that my taste in film is simply better. I will say this: Shakespeare managed to write plays that were commissioned by the ruling class, and used them to indirectly spit in said rulers faces, inspire hope in everyone else, and still be well respected by all. BEFORE YOU GO CRAZY, I am not comparing The Hunger Games to Hamlet in any other way than the Trojan Horse aspect. It may never have been LionsGate's intention to do anything other than cash in on the tween fanbase, but I can tell you that i'd much rather children see a message like this rather than the vapidity of all the other tween movies out there regardless of where it came from. Does a good message really lose weight because of the mouth it came from? Can the message of love, revolution, unity, and sacrifice really be discounted because of execution or origin of funding?

Mats Veivang Sypriansen

Beware any person who comes into the comment section of a review claiming to know what a review should or shouldn't be. Chances are they're part of a "fandom".


Such pretention, such arrogance, such vanity I have found here, both with the person who calls himself a reviewer and the commentators here! First and foremost, any review of film or book where the comments are so irretrievably unbalanced to either the negative or the positive should be ignored as it cannot possibly be a fair review. And beware of a ‘reviewer’ who uses a lot of interestingly phrased language, but really does not say anything explicit or precise about exactly what elements contribute to the success/failure of the film. Second, if a reviewer can utterly misunderstand a major theme so violently, as the role of pawn that Katniss plays in this story (obvious both in the books and the films), then his understanding of the film as a whole must be severely undermined. A truthful review should, if not citing a totally balanced approach, ALWAYS have SOME degree of negative AND positive aspects.

In terms of this particular film, I did not find the themes quite as carefully presented as they were in the original Hunger Games (it’s a pity it suffered a less capable director), and I found the film rather over-edited. The 114 minutes, although utilised as well as editing allowed, was not sufficient to portray the full potential of the film and its themes. Characterisation also suffered as a result. The final scenes in particular left out some important information vital to the story, leaving the scene and Katniss’ actions not fully explained. I also found Katniss’ face change in the final seconds from grief to anger totally unconvincing, first because the final scene really didn’t lend itself to her anger appropriately, second because the actual acting was not at all believable, and third because in my opinion the idea simply did not work.

However the film, and the characterisation that was given time, was highly faithful to the book. The opening image of Katniss hunting was an excellent opening to the film, and the discussion she shares with President Snow was well crafted. The costumes, as per the original Hunger Games film, depicted the capital population’s removal from reality admirably. Had the editing been just a little more lenient, the film would have benefited greatly. Although Catching Fire was less successful for me than The Hunger Games it was not unsuccessful as a film. But it could have been better.


"Put another way, if you extend the satire of "Hunger Games" to our present situation, who is reaping the benefits of our patronage? The starving country-folk? Or the Sadean power-mongers with weird hairdos? Doesn't the inherent reality of that exchange value utterly devastate the 'point' of these movies?"

No, of course it doesn't. Fuck's sake. Unless you mean to take down Star Wars, Wall-E, and a billion other anti-corporation-rich-people-bad-guy-whoever movies made by billion-dollar corporations. Criminy, you freaking people. "Movies like this feel evil to me." Christ. Might wanna take a re-read of that sentence too, guy.

Chris Coleman

Wow, I've never been involved in one of these comment-section brouhahas before! Fun stuff.

What stands out to me, though, is the person who reached out across the Internet simply to call Walter Chaw a "little twerp." There's a scene in "Doctor Who" in which an abusive veteran is screaming at his own kid, accusing him of being spoiled, opinionated and disobedient. He eventually snarls, "you're just a little twerp!" Finally the kid yells back, "you went off to the war and fought the fascists just so I could *be* a little twerp! Just so I could *have* opinions, and *be* different!" Right on, kid.

Movies like this feel evil to me. That's all. I feel 'lesser' upon having experienced them. I'm disturbed when they start affecting a subversive facade, the way "Hunger Games" becomes a Mobius-strip metaphor for itself, or the way "Oblivion" playacts at being concerned with base-superstructure theory. To me, they come off as "subversive sci-fi product units" as manufactured by conglomerations that are very much part of the superstructure they claim to be attacking. Genre should be ruthlessly honest, negativistic, passionate, and separate from the machinery of power. And of course entertaining, accessible, funny, humanistic and enlivening as well. But, dear friends, when I go into a movie like "Hunger Games" (and yes, I've seen both of them), I feel like I'm stepping *into* the machinery of power, and I feel so much smaller coming out than I did going in.

That said, I do apologize for this stupid line: "you glance around and discover that everyone else in the theater is in rapt attention. Then you die a bit inside and start prepping for the wilderness." I reread it realized it just stinks of pretentiousness, but I really didn't intend it as a slight against the audience. I don't regard any audience as 'bad' and I grew out of forming opinions on others' opinions. I just meant that sometimes I experience a kind of ontological horror when watching these movies, and then I see that no one else feels the same way, and that I'd render myself an outcast were I even to mention anything. It's isolating, is all.

And sure, I understand that some people use these words and concepts as a cudgel with which to insist upon their superiority. Really, I get it --- I went to college with those folk, and they're as awful and authoritarian as they come. But some of us feel a real terror towards the world as it is and where it seems to be going, and we do find recourse in theory, if only as explanation for the source of this free-floating terror. It has nothing to do with self-satisfaction or satisfaction of any kind; it's just a personal balm to soothe the mounting realization that, to quote Leonard Cohen, "the good guys already lost" and we're living in a William Gibson dystopia. 'Already' being the operative word --- not "in the near future," but now-right-now.

Put another way, if you extend the satire of "Hunger Games" to our present situation, who is reaping the benefits of our patronage? The starving country-folk? Or the Sadean power-mongers with weird hairdos? Doesn't the inherent reality of that exchange value utterly devastate the 'point' of these movies? If you *really* wanted to be like Katniss, to believe in the heroism she potentially represents, wouldn't it be your duty to reject these movies both financially and philosophically?

Take pause to consider that Lions Gate (still curiously designated an "independent film studio") was initially funded by an investment bank that specialized in gold and silver mining operations. It's currently financed by a network of European broadcasting corporations. It's primary business model has been simply to buy-out smaller studios that were actually producing independent content. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of this, but it is problematic to believe that an authentic voice of resistance and subversion could possibly be issued out of this billion-dollar conglomeration. And being that "Hunger Games" is expressly about resistance to a falsified media-culture, then aren't we dealing with a false satire of a false media-culture as produced in a false media-culture? Isn't all this really just obviating any possibility of actual resistance and subversion? One's head begins to spin.

Mel B

I didn't see the first of the trilogy. First mistake. Having said that, I did not enjoy the first two hours because it was odd, strange, and really didn't make a whole lot of sense. Don't watch it unless you have seen the first. Which I won't be doing.

Timothy Guy

You have got to be kidding me. The movie was awesome. "inhuman cinema products". Cris coleman there is no way you even saw the movie.

give me a break.. tent pole movie..

Its like most of you never even watched the movie.. yeah nothing heroic at all.. like the speech she gave in the beginning, or getting in front of the guy giving a beating, or shooting the arrow at the dome. or about 10 other moments in the movie where she does do heroic things.

This was a great movie, it was better than I expected. it was over before I even knew it that's how good it was.

Its like most of you never even watched the movie.. yeah nothing heroic at all.. like the speech she gave in the beginning, or getting in front of the guy giving a beating, or shooting the arrow at the dome. or about 10 other moments in the movie where she does do heroic things.

I get so tired of reading idiotic smug reviews and comments here simply because people apparently cant pay attention at all. No instead we who can pay attention have to put up with total ass-hat comments like..

"""And the worst part, oh the absolute worst of it, is when you're sinking into your seat in abject horror at one of these inhuman cinema-products, and then you glance around and discover that everyone else in the theater is in rapt attention"""

Well... *genius* if you actually did PAY ATTENTION to the movie, maybe you would actually understand what is so great about it.

What a concept..


The review concentrates on so many flaws with the story, but they come directly from the book. Should the film have been so different? Amanda Plummer was not wasted, her character unfortunately is short-lived.


Bleh. The reviewer totally misses the point, dismissing the film before the opening credits. If your looking for a tween twilight movie, I guess thats what your going to get. Self fulfilling prophecy, anyone? Just because it wasn't laced with gore doesn't make it a tween movie, it makes it tastefully done. I don't think this is a matter of film quality, I think it's a matter of personal taste and opinion. As far as book to movie goes, this is probably the best I've ever seen. Coming to the film without reading the books? Still a fantastic film.

James Bouquard

You're quite the bitter little twerp. Tearing down every other building in town does not, in fact, make your building any taller.


You liked the CARRIE remake but hated this? You have exceptionally atrocious taste in movies.


It's quite hilarious how these comments seem to focus on whats good and bad about the movie but i find it insane that people would actually think that Lawrence at least wasn't 'holding a lasting impression' in this movie. Also, she was very good in Silver Linings Playbook and that's coming from someone who really isn't into the whole romantic movie scene. Her facial expressions and totality of how she conveys real expression in general is better then any younger actresses I have seen in a while. Two spots for instance in the movie.

1) Her expression at the end of the movie when she quickly moves from the tears of realization to the serious face who's ready to kick some ass. Also she simply just commands attention on a screen which is something people have or they don't, and she most certainly does.

2) Her look in the elevator when Jenna Malone gets naked is so perfect...This look or horror and embarassment and confusion as she stares as far a way as possible..haha.Some people might think well why didn't she yell at her or act nuts when that happened because of the rage she shows at other times, but in true to character as Katness she is still a small town girl who is somewhat shy in meeting others, yet so powerful in true emotion when she is pushed. It's also why when she goes in to meet others to form allies in both movies, despite her edge of personality- the only way she seems to be able to open up is through her bow and teaching the two "techies" to start the fire. She has the perfect mix of showing fierceness, anger, sarcasm, mixed with feeling shy, alone and confused in spots....Also with showing compassion despite her rage--in my opinion is done to perfection. These days for characters in a movie to have be so many different traits is rare at best.
2) Her expression at the end of the movie when she quickly moves from the tears of realization to the serious face who's ready to kick some ass. Also she simply just commands attention on a screen which is something people have or they don't, and she most certainly does.

Also I could care less if I have some spelling errors or dictation problems....Why is it that you guys all make such a big deal of this--As if that's the only way to know someones intelligence, especially when it comes to movie criticism??

John S

There are a lot of movies out there that are eaten up by mass audiences that I personally think are lacking in depth, illogical, etc. (e.g., a few good men, 2001, a space odyssey, etc.). However, this does not necessarily make me smarter or have more depth than others (although I can go on at length that a few good men is laughable, stupid and awful for me). I find the comments of the reviewer as well as Chris, Drifter, and KD Jones, etc., to be the comments of people who desperately want others to know the depth of their character or intelligence, as opposed to everyone else. I love when people use words or phrases like "corporate" or "confused by the experience," or other cliche to prove to themselves they are so much higher than anyone else. If you don't like the movie, say the reasons for such, don't try to make me think you never got a date in high school and its time to pay back others in spades. Oh, and by the way, as others have noted, the reviewer did miss the point, she is only a pawn being used potentially by two forces, maybe both bad . . . ..

Brandon S.

This review is sadly accurate. The film is an extreme disappointment - all hype. It is meant for tweens, obviously, and Jennifer Lawrence hasn't really done a decent bit of actual acting since "Winter Bone" - she's a star presence, for sure, but basically she's continually hamming it, which seems to be what her fans lap up - so I guess that's what she'll keep providing, at least until her audience grows up. I'm so tired of all these franchise atrocities - basically it's corporate, disposable entertainment. Most critics don't want to alienate the crazy fans, so they get in line to applaud the empress with no clothes.

Bill C

@Al: No need to remain curious--here's what Walter thought of CASABLANCA -


Like an oracle from a Greek tragedy, Chris Coleman, the first commenter on this review, referred to the backlash toward dissenting opinions about a film as a reflex of an emergent fascism. Now, fanboys are gonna hate, but you all are just proving Coleman's point.

Al Sirkman

Your sentence structure is conversational, without adding warmth or clarity; your word choice verges on the pretentious but isn't impressive enough to manage; you come across as a joyless troll.

I imagine you'd review Casablanca and complain that a few hard to believe romance scenes got in the way of a war movie; or perhaps complain that Requiem for a Dream should have had a happier ending and not focused so much on drug use.

Pointless and aggressive as my comment is, you should honestly watch the movie again and review THAT, not whatever vision offended and caused you to shit on something that works to bring depth, social relevance, and thoughtfulness to a movie aimed at a teen demographic. Or maybe you'd just harp on the whipping post, or your difficulty in believing a teenaged girl threatened with death for herself and her loved ones has a hard time understanding her own PTSD-inflected emotions.

I will now strike the unkindest blow, and completely forget I bothered to comment on whatever site this is (I followed a link from Rotten Tomatoes, mea culpa). I only hope you learn to let yourself enjoy movies again, since you've apparently decided to review them professionally. Godspeed.


This review and its many echoing comments are absurd trash, in my opinion. You've clearly missed the point. Several of them actually.

Film does not have to be some dadaist work concocted by hipsters to have merit. You are not a special snowflake and this review did not prove you are smarter or more discerning than the internet.

If I had to describe the movie in one sentence it would be "Enjoyable, intense, a bit rushed." If I had a few more sentences I would say that its possible the movie's pathos relied a bit too much on the book. But it is impossible for me to objectively evaluate that potential weakness. As always, my advice is to read the books. If you have done that, the movies are both enjoyable and skippable.


What a bunch of pretentious comments here! "I enjoy quality, artful movies and can't stand when others enjoy mere entertainment"... Please get over yourself, whether you enjoy the film or not. Looking down on others doesn't do anyone any favors.


Thank you for using the word of the day "Garbage". If this movie is good, its only because its driven by its fan base. Spend your money on anything else.


If you're going to be a movie critic, then at least learn to spell, and properly structure a sentence.

Also, it would be wise to exclude the profanities next time-- if you expect people to take you seriously.

Movies are subjective, and a matter of opinion. Everyone will see them in a different way, depending on their perspective, and life experiences.

Katniss is a 17 year old girl suffering with post traumatic stress disorder. She's not meant to be some big action hero chick. She's a victim of an evil government and a corrupt system. Also, she saved her sister's life, as well as Peeta's. That's pretty heroic, if you ask me.

KD Jones

Um... oops. To be fair, I should add that some of the crowd scenes in the districts actually hurt a bit, and Lawence's reactions there felt real, and human.
- Problem is... the whipping scene took almost all the wind out of that particular sail. I honestly think there are some things that should NEVER be shown without at least some obvious attempt to leave their full horror intact. Because those same things there are are horrible in such a way that failing them, or at least not very seriously TRYING to put it out there, is a sign of a such a profound lack of sympathy and understanding that the perpetrator should be immediately disqualified as an interpreter of anything human.
- And even though the failure (as acted) may have rested largely with Helmsworth and whoever played the whipping stormtrooper, someone really should have noticed. Really.

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