Having offended the despotic central government, future world everyteen Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is forced to reenter the title competition, in which strangers fight to the death on national TV. Like The Hunger Games (2012), this sequel is a triumph of production design: Philip Messina’s settings are so detailed that they convey how the movie’s dystopic U.S. functions beyond the story at hand, and Trish Summerville’s costume design shows a similar degree of invention. Director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) and cinematographer Jo Willems maintain the house style established in the first film, respectively, by Gary Ross and Tom Stern, frequently disrupting the effects-heavy sequences with handheld close-ups. It’s refreshing to see a Hollywood franchise so invested in creating a sense of intimacy, even if that intimacy feels hackneyed. With Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Banks, and Woody Harrelson.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
PG-13 • 2 hours 26 min • 2013