The Hunger Games is a good enough movie. The world building in early portion is well done and engaging, but by the time get to the actual games of the title, things fall apart. At that point you have a lone girl running around the woods, trying not to die, not talking to anyone, that’s only so interesting. Suzanne Collins’ novel gets away with this, the first-person point-of-view makes you privy to the innermost thoughts of heroine Katniss Everdeen, portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence. In the film she spends a fair amount of time gazing into the distance. If you’ve read the book, you know she’s thinking about Gale (Liam Hemsworth) or Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) or her sister Prim (Willow Shields), but if not, you have no idea.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, based on the second book in Collin’ trilogy, follows the same pattern, but digs much deeper, and the result is a much stronger movie. You pick up the story in the aftermath of the first film. Something eerily akin to PTSD has set in, and Katniss is jumpy, haunted by nightmares, and distant from everyone she cares about, especially Peeta, who she can barely look at. Their Victory Tour of the twelve districts of the dystopian nation of Panem reveals the embers of rebellion, which are being dealt with violently by the Capital forces of President Snow (Donald Sutherland).