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Stephen Whitty’s Review of “Catching Fire” Neglects the Middle Child

In response to Stephen Whitty’s 850‑word review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Newark Star-Ledger 

http://www.nj.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2013/11/the_hunger_games_catching_fire_review_a_blazing_katniss_returns.html

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Stephen Whitty’s “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review: A Blazing Katniss Returns” treats the movie like the inchoate, half-formed thing that he argues many trilogies’ middle movies are. Whether Whitty’s conclusions are true or not, readers will click away from his review unsatisfied.

Whitty’s analysis is scant, which is unfortunate because his thesis about the stature of “the middle movie” is interesting, and he writes with a refreshing kind of crotchetiness missing in much of today’s movie criticism. He seems to have shot all the arrows in his quiver while reviewing the first “Hunger Games” movie.

Readers might wonder if that’s why his logic doesn’t hang together in perhaps the pivotal moment in his review. He criticizes the movie for “drawing us in and then leaving us dangling, still hungry and only thinking about the next installment.” Many would argue that that’s pretty much exactly what a middle movie should do.

Fortunately, overlooking Whitty’s hurried prose is a statuesque Jennifer Lawrence in goddess gray robes with her bland, boy-toy co-star. Whitty continues the Jennifer Lawrence love fest, an actress whose ubiquity may start to grate on some readers. Is there a magazine cover she hasn’t been on at least three times already? But that along with a thoughtful, unhurried analysis is beyond the purview of Whitty’s review.    

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