Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Catching Fire.

Note: This post contains spoilers for the first two Hunger Games books/films.

Last Tuesday, my parents and I went to the movie theater to see Catching Fire. I wish I had written this post as soon as I got home, or at least jotted down some notes, but I didn't. So things will be a bit more vague than I'd like, but here's the gist of what I thought:

Catching Fire was amazing. :)

Seriously, so far the Hunger Games films are the best book-to-film adaptations I have ever seen. They make other adaptations look almost ridiculous. Hollywood: take note. You can make an incredible film that is almost identical to the book it was based on (and hello? Tons of people will go see it and you will make lots of money, if that's what you're worried about). I hope the accuracy of these films will set a new standard for future book-to-film adaptations!

{By the way, you can see my review for the first film here.}

I had just reread the book a week or two before we saw the film, so it was pretty fresh in my memory. I couldn't believe how much of the dialogue was word for word from the book. And not only that, but it also captured the intensity of the book. The HG series is so fast paced, and nearly every chapter ends with some sort of cliffhanger, so it's nearly impossible to put them down. With the film, those two and a half hours flew by! My parents, who also really liked the first one, were so impressed. My mom actually said she loved this one (and wants to read Mockingjay because I won't give her any info about what happens next. Spoilers!) and my dad said he wasn't expecting it to end where it did...he was ready for another hour or so of film. :)

The cast is perfect: both returning characters and new ones. Prim had grown so much since the first film! Finnick was great...he isn't exactly one of my favorite characters ever (though I did like him better in the last book), but they cast him well. Plutarch Heavensbee was slightly creepy but incredibly believable. I had just reread the book and knew exactly what was going to happen, but they almost had me believing he was a bad guy right from the start! But the actress who played Effie seemed a bit off this time. It was almost like she couldn't get her voice the same as she did in the previous film. It was distracting, because I almost thought it was a different actress at first.

President Snow's granddaughter was a nice touch. It was a good way of showing just how much the people in the Capitol love their victors and how the extent of the rebellion's influence might have been even more than Snow realized.

And I like Peeta more and more. Here's the thing: before I ever read the series, I kept hearing about the love triangle...lots of things like, do you prefer Gale or Peeta? But when I was reading the books, I didn't really like either one of them. Not at first, anyway. I didn't dislike them, but nothing stood out about either of them. By the end of the second book and into the third book, though, I decided that I much preferred Peeta. I didn't love him in the first film (at the beginning I was worried they were making him too goofy and empty-headed), but by the end of Catching Fire I was finding him more and more endearing. :) He's so kind and selfless and just good. By the way, what was with all of the Gale and Katniss kissing?? I know it was technically only one more kiss than in the book, but it felt like they overdid it somehow.

I loved how the other victors were portrayed and how the arena looked. The whole time/clock concept of the arena and all of the dangers were really well done. And I'm going backwards now, but the victory tour was so chilling, and the visit to Thresh and Rue's district was heartbreaking!

Besides the arena, the other settings were perfect, too: the victor's village, President Snow's mansion, etc.

I'm trying to think of anything that I didn't like about the movie, but I'm having a hard time. The only thing I can think of is really silly: I thought that the water shouldn't have instantly healed the blisters that came from the fog in the arena. It should have helped, just like salt water would help any wound, but it seemed to fix them a little too quickly. Also, I wish that they had left in the scenes where Katniss meets the runaways in the woods and learns the rumors of District 13, and when she gets stuck on the wrong side of the electric fence.

Also, Catching Fire seemed a bit edgier than the first film. It seemed like the violence was the slightest bit more graphic...there seemed to be more seen onscreen and fewer quick, angled camera cuts like before. And Joanna was a bit more crude than seemed necessary (her bleeped profanity, for example). I wonder if this had anything to do with the director change. The director was different, right?

As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed Catching Fire. It was intense and heartbreaking and exciting and over too quickly. Now I actually want to reread Mockingjay soon (and it was my least favorite of the trilogy). And I can't wait for the next film...but why are they breaking it into two?

Have you seen Catching Fire? What did you think?


  1. I loved the movie. Honestly, I didn't like the first one and only saw this for friends/with friends. It was so so so so much better and less childish and more real. I LOVED IT. But I am SO UPSET that they decided to break the last film into TWO. I refuse to watch either one until I can watch both together to avoid heartbreak.

  2. I loved this movie too! So, so good. I actually saw it twice over Thanksgiving week (once with a few siblings and cousins, and the second time with another cousin who arrived later... I was more than happy to accompany her to the theatre). :D

    The Hunger Games was so very well done, and going into this movie I was afraid that Catching Fire might not be able to hit the same level perfection and faithfulness to the book. Having a new director was particularly worrisome, but I think that Francis Lawrence did a fantastic job. I actually liked this movie better than the first!

    Basically the only thing that I would change in these movies is Josh Hutcherson's height. Completely superficial and silly (and impossible to fix anyway), I know. But if he just had a few more inches... just enough to make him taller than Katniss, I would be extremely happy. Otherwise though, he makes a great Peeta. Self-sacrificing and sweet and exactly the person that Katniss needed to end up with. When reading the books for the first time though, I was definitely more torn about Gale. He and Katniss grew up together and were best friends! I couldn't help feeling bad for him.

    I completely agree with you about Plutarch! I KNEW who he really was, yet I went ahead and sub-consciously placed him in the “bad guy” category during most of the film.

    I guess I could go on echoing you, but I'll stop. :D

  3. Just seeing you claim "Catching Fire" was amazing is enough. Cannot wait to watch the DVD. :)


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