For those of you who don’t get the title reference, Dean and Chang are two characters on Community that often make puns involving their names. In one such pun, Dean held an elaborate competition called the Hunger Deans. Also, please watch Community. It’s one of the best shows on TV.

Now, let’s get to the review by talking about the first movie’s director, Gary Ross. Before Hunger Games, Ross had only directed two movies, Seabiscuit and Pleasantville. Now, both of those movies were pretty good, albeit forgettable, but neither of them was Ross’ most notable pre-Hunger Games achievement. You see, back in the 80s, ross was the writer and producer for a comedy classic that launched the career of one of the finest actors around. That movie: Big.

Now, was that enough of a reason for him to direct The Hunger Games? No, but what do I know? Maybe he sent in a short film that really wowed Suzanne Collins. Maybe he was actually the perfect choice to be director.

Oh wait, I saw the movie. And if I recall correctly, Ross wasn’t very good at his job. The acting was terrible, the camera was too shaky, it left out several important parts of the book, and it was hard to watch. I know that the movie was meant to be grim, like the book was, but there’s a difference between “grim” and “unwatchable.” Case in point, Catching Fire. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Collins must not have liked Ross either, because she fired him and replaced him with a new director: Francis Lawrence. Lawrence’s past experience was mostly comprised of music videos, for artists like OK Go and Green Day. In fact, he’s only really directed three movies in his career: I Am Legend, Constantine, and Water for Elephants. OK, those are pretty bad. But he did a good job with this one.

So, it looks like the time has come to discuss Catching Fire. Let’s go over what I like first. It’s very engaging. I kept my attention the whole time, which is a tough thing to do considering I was pretty tired at the time. The CG, acting, and directing were all much better than the first one. It followed the book very well. It made me laugh. It made me cry. In fact, I’ve cried at three movies: Toy Story 3, Catching Fire, and another that I don’t remember. However, the emotional scene in this movie was pretty much ruined when Jennifer Lawrence made an unintentional derp face after the doors closed. It’s the District 11 scene, in case you want to look for it yourself.

What didn’t I like about the movie? Not much, honestly. It was, like I said before, pretty grim, which I don’t usually like in a movie, but it pulled it off okay. While the CG and acting were better, the still weren’t great. They were OK. The cliffhanger was thought-provoking and true to the book, but I’d rather not read the third book and I want to know what happened to Lenny Kravitz. Oh well. There were a couple of other things that I didn’t like about the movie, but none that I can put my finger on right now.

So overall, I give this movie an A-. It surpasses Cloudy 2 as my fifth-favorite movie of the year, and I recommend you watch it whenever you can. I should have a Frozen review out next week, followed by Late Entries on Thor 2 and Delivery Man. Until then…

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