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Clint O’Connor’s “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”--a Rave of Lawrence-Ia

In response to Clint O'Connor’s 494‑word review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Cleveland Plain Dealer 

http://www.cleveland.com/moviebuff/index.ssf/2013/11/the_hunger_games_catching_fire.html#incart_river

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In this paean unto a growing legend-in-her own (short) time, it matters not to O’Connor if the director had been a somehow resurrected David Lean (‘Lawrence of Arabia’)---all hail Lawrence!

From the third polysyllabic word adjective, ‘dystopian’, he’s over the heads of the bedazzled tween/teen demographic the film’s helmers are aiming at, as he observes a largely missed target for their slings and arrows and those of their teen players in a melodramatic sequel to a series of comic book-like adventure tales which might have served in another era as B-quality serials to warm up the audience still exploring their greasy popcorn.

Enter Jennifer Lawrence who, in O’Connor’s Catching Fire overview, is the very feminine charismatic young clone of the late Peter O’Toole as Lawrence in an eerily similar wasteland of petty tribal internecine warfare in lieu of a possible oasis of civilization, realizable only via her wiles.

The rest of the cast is deftly relegated to so many one-dimensional foils, often given the back of O’Connor’s left hand with demeaning comparisons to TV ilk known as ‘reality’ role players in that usually sillier medium.

And it is in this realm, television—itself the very vehicle within a vehicle known as cinema—where O’Connor finds his critical footing in appraising the telling of a decimated post-something society where, somehow, televised avatars symbolize ‘US’.

O’Connor,  in feeling neither the need nor the inclination to call a spade just that, does his best upbraiding of this not-so funhouse mirroring of us when he gently reminds us that, at least here, film has become its lesser stepchild via the hapless sequel.    

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