Movie Review – Catching Fire

Dec 1, 2013 by     Comments Off on Movie Review – Catching Fire    Posted under: Screenplay

Catching Fire is now in theaters, what do you think?

It’s been a week since the sequel to The Hunger Games trilogy Catching Fire has been in theaters.

Now it’s finally time to talk about it with fellow fans!

609 days, that’s how long we’ve waited for this book-to-movie adaptation. Was it worth the wait? The answer is a big yes.

The story follows our Girl On Fire Katniss Everdeen as she embarks on the Victory Tour where she notices signs of a rebellion slowing taking shape. After President Show requests she help calm the Districts down, our hero learns that she and Peeta Mellark will be heading back into the Games for the Quarter Quell where they’ll face off against other “all-experienced killers.”

Now if you ask the readers what their favorite book in The Hunger Games trilogy was the majority I have talked to would say the second one Catching Fire was their favorite, the first The Hunger Games was their second favorite and the third and final one Mockingjay was their third and least favorite so I think fans will be pleased to see that director Francis Lawrence has done a great job with the making of Catching Fire.

The cast is perfect. The characters are exactly what there’re like in the books: Donald Sutherland’s President Snow is cool and calculating as he mercilessly winds down the Districts and gets into Katniss’ head. New roles have equally excellent actors. Sam Claflin’s Finnick surprised us with his charm and smooth attitude. Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Plutarch Heavensbee matches his character in the books as he uses his intelligence to fool President Snow. Jena Malone’s Johanna Mason is exactly as she is in the books.

And of course the roles of Katniss, Peeta, and Gale have been brought to a new level thanks to the darker story and a second opportunity for stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth to portray their characters. Lawrence in particular has become completely engulfed in Katniss and belts out raw emotion during several scenes like the attack by the Peacekeepers on Cinna.

One of the best aspects of the movie for me and im sure for several fans was the fact that we got to hear some of our favorite dialogues from the book.

Examples of Suzanne Collins’ words being brought to the screenplay:
– Haymitch to Katniss about Peeta: “You can live a hundred lifetimes and not deserve him, you know.”
– Katniss to Finnick: “I don’t like jewels and I have more money than I need,” and Finnick’s “I haven’t dealt in anything as common as money for years.”
– Cinna: “I just want you to look straight ahead, as if the entire audience is beneath your notice,” and Katniss’ “Finally something I’ll be good at.”
– Johanna: “Make him pay for it” to Katniss when she says Snow made her wear her wedding dress on stage.
– Cinna to Katniss: “Remember Girl on Fire, I’m still betting on you.”

The good things about the movie are that it has a fast paced storytelling, humor , better visuals thanks to technology and better special effects , dialogues that fans will eat up , scenes that will make you laugh as well cry.

The bad thing about this movie is that there are a couple of unnecessary romantic moments that don’t even happen in the book.

But what makes Catching Fire a complete hit is the fact that as far as book-to-movie adaptations go it was one of the best. As you know when you watch an adaption with a non-reader, you get bombarded with questions about the characters or the plot. The problem is that many adaptations struggle to walk the line between keeping avid fans happy while explaining the story to newcomers, kind of makes you sympathetic towards non-readers. This is why I think that Catching Fire is the best adaptation of Young Adult novels because it did just that. That’s the best thing about this movie: that it captures those who have read the books but also those non readers We need movies that are strong adaptations of their respective books because unfortunately the Young Adult genre is mostly put down and degraded for its unnecessary love triangles etc but thanks to J.K.Rowling’s phenomenal Harry Potter series and Suzanne Collin’s equally popular Hunger Games Trilogy that concept is forever changed.

So all in all it’s not easy for a film franchise to keep the momentum going from one film to the next. We can say with confidence that Francis Lawrence has pulled off an amazingly worthy follow-up to The Hunger Games. The 20-month wait between the two films is made worth it thanks to the speed, action, dialogue, and acting you’ll encounter while diving deeper into a rebellion with Katniss. All we can do now is be happy that we only have a 12-month wait between the remaining two films.

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