The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Rated 3.0

As a bridge, Catching Fire is in itself entertaining, but suffers in that it gets us only to the midway point of a story that ends in 2015. We rejoin Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) as they spend some quality time hunting in the woods while the narrative arc kicks in. It seems that President Snow (Donald Sutherland) isn’t too happy with Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) escaping his deadly machinations and sowing the seeds of revolution, so he brings in the ultimate game-designer (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to whip up something to clear the slate of all the past winners of the Hunger Games. So it’s back into the arena, and this time the emphasis is more on the game versus the competitors, than the competitors going after each other. We are never given anything but a rudimentary introduction to most of them, so as the casualties pile up, any connection with the characters existing as anything other than clay pigeons rings hollow. However, the film does move along cracklingly enough for a 2 1/2-hour entertainment. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated PG-13 C.B.