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Nancy Churnin’s Review of “Catching Fire” Leaves Readers Wanting No More

In response to Nancy Churnin’s 468‑word review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Dallas Morning News

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Nancy Churnin’s “‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Will Leave Fans Breathless and Wanting More” will leave readers breathless, perhaps, but certainly not wanting more.

Churnin races through her review as if she herself is being pursued by adolescent archers waiting to fill her with arrows. Indeed, she writes as if crouching for cover in the killing arena itself. While this does lend immediacy and a sense of urgency to her review, it does so at the expense of more in depth analysis and criticism—of which Churnin doesn’t seem capable of or interested in.

Weirdly, Churnin targets her review to people who haven’t seen the first movie as she advises those who haven’t the read the first book or movie not to “expect director Francis Lawrence to play catch-up.”

The majority of moviegoers in this day of On Demand, streaming movies, and the like don’t go to see the second part of a trilogy without having seen the first.

“Hunger Games” fans are the ones filling seats. The vanishingly few people who’d go to Catching Fire with no knowledge of the series are hardly deserving of their own review.

On a positive note, Churning avoids the Jennifer Lawrence love fever currently affecting other reviewers. She actually just notes the quality of her performance, the fact that she won an Oscar—and nothing else. Unfortunately, there’s a bit too much of “and nothing else” in Churnin’s review.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation