Even before The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was shown in various theaters around the globe, the movie had been predicted to do very well in the box office. The predictions came true – the movie is now considered the number 1 movie in the world. There’s only one good reason why Catching Fire bombarded the box office better than its predecessor – a lot of people love it! Whether you are a fan of the book or was just invited by your friends to watch the movie, it’s undeniable that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is one of this year’s most successful movie!
As a fan of the book and the overall franchise, here’s my review. Since this is an adaptation and part of a franchise, it is just right to give comparisons from the original medium and to its predecessor.
Peeta – Katniss – Gale Relationship
|Katniss and Gale|
|Peeta and Katniss|
There has been a huge improvement with the portrayal of the three main leads of the trilogy, particularly with Katniss. Jennifer Lawrence handled Katniss’ complexity very well. She was pretty smooth with the action scenes too. She’s unstoppable. Peeta became more manly in Catching Fire as compared to The Hunger Games. I love how they transformed Peeta physically in the second movie. Josh also grew up with Peeta in the movie. Gale has become more rebellious and Liam nailed it.
In Catching Fire, you can feel the tense between Katniss’ feelings towards Peeta and Gale. One thing I didn’t like is they weren’t able to include the rooftop scene before the Third Quarter Quell. In the movie, you could really see that Katniss is more genuinely interested with Gale and only goes for Peeta if the cameras are rolling. At first, there are some sort of things like that but that’s not the case in the book entirely. If you read it, you can really tell that Katniss is still torn between these two guys – even if there’s a camera or not. The rooftop scene is a place in the tribute apartment that doesn’t have a camera, meaning the conversations and feelings shared between Katniss and Peeta in that particular area are genuine. The idea of how Katniss relates to Peeta with the bread (who gave her hope) was totally disregarded.
Well, you can still see how Katniss cares for Peeta. However, most of the people who weren’t able to read the books, guess that Katniss loves Gale more than Peeta.
President Snow and Plutarch/President Snow and His Granddaughter
|President Snow and Plutarch|
The clips between President Snow and Plutarch and President Snow and his granddaughter were not from the book. I admire how they added these scenes to be able to see the antagonists’ points of view. The addition of Snow’s granddaughter was brilliant since it is one of the evidences of how Katniss influences the lives of the people in the Capitol, not just in the districts. Plutarch’s character was very complicated to portray but with award-winning veteran actor Philip Seymour Hoffman to bring the head gamemaker to life was a brilliant idea.
Arena/Training Center Scenes and the Tributes
|Peeta and Katniss – training center|
|Mags and Finnick|
The scenes in the arena and the training center are more intense and improved. I actually liked the holographs in the simulation rooms as compared to the dummies in the first movie. The older tributes like Mags and Wiress were being well played by the right actresses. Though I was a bit disappointed because Mags didn’t say anything but Lynn Cohen was good enough to bring the character to life.
The reaping with the other victors was done pretty fast as well as in introducing them. Haymitch’s experiences during the Second Quarter, where he became the victor, wasn’t shown in the movie. Apart from it, Bonnie and Twill didn’t make it into the cut too. The exemption of these two scenes didn’t affect the totality of the whole book-to-movie adaptation thing since they are not mainly the focus. If Lionsgate will create a short film about the second QQ as a featurette in the DVD/Blu-ray version of CF would be a great idea.
Johanna’s elevator scene was so amazingly done! Jena Malone is Johanna Mason! I love how she handled Johanna’s rebellious side as well as in portraying her character’s fragile heart, which was shown in the arena following the jabberjay attack. You really have to see Katniss’ reaction when Johanna ripped off her tribute parade attire!
At first, I wasn’t really convinced of Sam Claflin playing Finnick Odair. We all have our own Finnick Odair in mind but I am not one of those who are totally against him for the character. I just thought that there has to be a reason why this Brit actor was the one who was chosen to play Finnick, beating out those equally good looking and talented actor as he is. Then came the poisonous fog scene – boom! Sam is totally Finnick!
As a summary:
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was a faithful adaptation of the book with additional touches that brought more of the what should people know about the story. The overall intensity and complexity of the movie were handled very well by the actors and actresses. The costume and special effects were visually compelling – these two factors complimented the way the story should be told. The tagline “remember who the real enemy is” was so perfect for Catching Fire. Who do you think who the real enemy is? Watch the movie now and find out why!