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Pathos-filled 'Catching Fire'

  • Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, from foreground to background, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark and Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy in a scene from "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (AP Photo/Lionsgate, Murray Close)

It begins with a 90-minute fashion show masquerading as a sci-fi epic, and ends abruptly.

Because “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is the most female-friendly / runway ready sci-fi franchise ever, and the latest film in the four-film trilogy is meant to be a cliffhanger, after all.

But once things get going, FINALLY get underway, this humorless chatterbox of intrigues, rebellion and a love triangle that seems “Twilighty” in its lovelessness packs in some real pathos. And while it may leave fans begging for more, and right away, the rest of the universe can be excused for rolling its collective eyes and snapping, “Oh, for Peeta's sake, get ON with it.”

'Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

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The victors in the 74th Hunger Games are touring the land, sharing their “love story for the ages” at the behest of the Capital, and the president, played by Donald Sutherland.

President Snow knows all, including the fact that Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) don't click as a couple.

Movie review

Katniss also knows too much and senses the unrest in the land, which worries the daylights out of Snow. Perhaps she'll use her manufactured celebrity to inspire a revolt.

And they cannot leave her and Peeta to their dull District 12 mining lives, where Katniss can share her REAL feelings with hunky miner Gale (Liam Hemsworth).

So the “next” Hunger Games, the 75th, the “Quarter Quell” event, will round up lots of recent winners / survivors of the Games to go at it, to the death, to get these symbolic young lovers / would-be revolutionaries out of the way. Aiding President Snow's designs are Plutarch, the game builder (Philip Seymour Hoffman). He envisions turning the public against Katniss.

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