A little over three years ago I met a girl at my community college, over the course of a year we became close friends, and I developed feelings for her, so much so that I read the Hunger Games Trilogy, just because she loved them so much. So there were many nights were I was up till 2AM to reading the books and texting her every time something crazy happened. When the movie came out we saw it together, and soon after we started dating. The series became a big part of our relationship, I called her sweetheart (which was a pet name one of the characters uses), our go-to music in the car was the “inspired by” album, and we even met in astronomy class so I made a joke about being “star crossed lovers” (which is a line in the first movie/book). Unfortunately, our relationship wouldn’t make it to the sequel, and we went our separate ways. Never the less, I saw the movie Thursday night so here’s the review.
In Catching Fire we join up with Katniss a little under a year after the events of the last Hunger Games. She is coping with life as a victor, living in luxury while the people in the village starve. All the while the government is trying to figure out how to get rid of her, since she subverted their authority in the last film. They decide they are going to kill her using the Hunger Games. Since this game will be the 75th game it is what is called a Quarter Quell, which comes with special rules. This time all the people going into the games will be past victors. Since Katniss is the only female victor from her district she knows she’s going back.
Now although I enjoyed the first film I was disappointed that it didn’t follow very closely with the books, but this time was very different. A new director brought a new style, and made sure that it stuck to the book. When I sat in my seat I had a mental checklist of scenes that had to happen and had to happen right. As the film rolled I checked off each moment in my head as done perfectly. Any fan of the book will love this one; it captured the emotion, the action, and the dialogue perfectly. I also think people who have not read the books will love it as well.
In the books the whole story is told from Katniss’ point of view. What she knows we know, and this is where all the exposition comes in. However, the last film didn’t convey that well, so unless you read the books you were a bit lost. In Catching Fire, they did a much better job of conveying her inner thoughts through subtle actions. So, as long as you have seen the first film you should be able to track perfectly fine, and enjoy the stellar performances. Speaking of which.
The acting in this film was significantly better than the first film. In the last movie, every character seemed overdone, and it just felt fake. But, this time around they toned down the outrageous characters and relied on nuance rather than blaring traits. This was seen most in the character Effie Trinket (played by Elizabeth Banks). Although, visually, she was still outrageous, this time around her performance was more down to earth. The same can be said of Haymitch (played by Woody Haralson). Although, the most stark change was in Jenifer Lawrence’s performance, as Katniss. Since the last film she has gotten a whole lot more experience and an Oscar under her belt, and it shows. She can now really convey the diverse spectrum of emotions necessary for this role. I look forward to seeing her in the next two movies.
In conclusion, this was a fantastic film, I suggest it with three thumbs up (don’t know where I got an extra thumb). It may not be an Oscar favorite, but it’s definitely one of mine. True to the book, exciting visual world, and fantastic performances make this a strong film and a great setup to the next two movies.