Saturday, January 11, 2014

Movie Review #47: Catching Fire

As any reader of my blog could know, I’m incredibly fond of the Hunger Games series.  Having entered contests to try and get tickets to the red carpet for the first film (including but not limited to making my own Capitol costume), I was insanely excited for the release of Catching Fire.  While I didn’t go to any extremes like costume making for this film, I knew I would be waiting with bated breath until the release.

Of the three books, Catching Fire is undoubtedly my favorite.  I like the uptick in action from the first and the arena is amazing.  I tried to read the book before seeing the movie, but I was unable to get the book finished in time. I have since been able to finish, so here is my book and movie comparison!  Spoilers, btw.  You’ve been warned!

#47: Catching Fire

Katniss Everdeen is back, trying to compose herself from the damage inflicted by the games.  Quickly, President Snow is back on her, telling her that she needs to quell the insurrections or she could lose the lives of those she loves.  When her attempts fail, Katniss instead decides to go all out the other way and do what she can as an image for fighting against the Capitol.  Snow responds by sending her back into the arena.  This time, it’s a sectioned beach and jungle with the cornucopia in the middle surrounded by water and spokes of rock.  Lightning, blood raid, jabberjays, monkeys, killer fog, and a wave of water? Tick Tock goes the clock of horrors.  Fighting against other victors who are already friends and trying to survive, Katniss is constantly questioning who is friend and who is foe.  With no moments to spare, the rebellion kicks off and Katniss is rescued from the arena, only then to discover that her home was been obliterated.

So how did I feel about the film version?


I give the film a 9.5 out of 10.  I thought the cinematography was absolutely amazeballs, especially the arena (omg I love water). The changes that directors always make from adaptations are the catalyst for reader annoyance.  In this case, the changes made were minute or done in a way that included the vital information even if the scene wasn’t true to the cannon.  I wouldn’t have changed anything in particular.  There were only a few things I wish they could have added.

#1: Haymitch’s Backstory
Part of getting to know more about victors included reviewing film of past arenas.  Katniss and Peeta learn how Haymitch survived and it helps them understand him better.  Not as a drunk just hanging around, but as a guy who survived by clever ingenuity and drinks because he’s been through hell and seen countless kids die in the arena.  

#2: Training For The Arena
When the group learns that Katniss is inevitably going back in with either Haymitch or Peeta, all three decide to start acting like careers.  Because this arena is filled with experienced killers instead of newbies, the three tributes of District 12 train intensely for what is ahead.  Even Gale volunteers to help them prepare. I don’t think it would have been too much to do a training montage.

#3: Bonnie and Twill
This is where Katniss gets the idea that District 13 is actually still around from a deal with the Capitol to leave them be otherwise they’ll use nuclear weapons.  While I think it is pretty crappy that they ignore what is going on in other districts under the reign of Resident Douche Bag...I mean President Snow, I understand how they might not have been in a difficult position. But when Katniss comes across two women who escaped from a district in revolt, they tell her the recurring image of mockingjay bird.  I really liked this scene because it helped Katniss truly understand that other citizens want things to change.

Another thing that I absolutely love and have loved since the beginning is the casting.  I was hesitant about Lenny Kravitz but he was amazing as stylist Cinna.  I called Woody Harrelson’s casting and still think he is Haymitch.  But standout in this film is Elizabeth Banks as Effie.  We get to see the character transform from Capitol loving drone to someone who is watching her friends be sacrificed and she takes on a motherly affection for everyone, including Haymitch.  I’ll always remember the reaping scene and how well Banks portrayed Effie’s torment.  Absolutely amazing.

Overall, I not only like the story better but the film as well.  I was very impressed and can’t wait to see what they plan for Mockingjay. May the odds be ever in your favor!

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