I am happy to tell you that Catching Fire was amazing. It was a major improvement over The Hunger Games film, due, in part to a larger budget, but also to a new director. I love the story of THG enough that I was able to forgive the film its flaws, but there were some things about that movie, of course. The shaky cam, of course. But a much bigger problem was the lack of horror. There are kids being forced to kill each other! Why did it seem more like it was just a bunch of bullies out on a camping trip?
Catching Fire corrects all of those errors. (SPOILERS AHEAD, IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK.) It kicks off with Katniss and Peeta preparing to embark on their victory tour, and word of sporadic rebellions in the districts has begun to leak out. Katniss feels pressure on one end to be the face of the revolution, but when President Snow threatens the lives of her loved ones, she must decide if it’s worth it to join the rebellion. The 75th anniversary is called the Quarter Quell, and to “celebrate,” Snow decides that this year’s Games would be made up of prior victorious Tributes. Sorry, Katniss – as the sole female winner from District 12, it looks like you’re up.
Jennifer Lawrence is phenomenal. She seems to get better with each film that she does. She’s equally adept at portraying vulnerability, terror, compassion, and ferocity. Josh Hutcherson is very good, and it’s nice that his character got a bit of a “butching up” this time. As for Liam Hemsworth… I know he’s nice to look at, but can we agree that he has zero charisma as an actor?
The bigger budget helped greatly with the special effects; there are no laughable mutts here. The monkeys with their enormous fangs look terrifyingly real, and he poisonous fog was every bit as scary as the career Tributes.
The final shot of the scene, a close-up of Katniss’s face, was probably the best of the film. In about ten seconds, we see a huge range of emotions on her face, and as it settles into something resembling an almost happy, icy determination, I got chills. Of course, this is where the Catching Fire story needed to end, but it’s going to feel like an eternity as I wait for Mockingjay.
Let’s chat about Catching Fire! Have you seen it yet, or are you planning to? Are there any changes you’re looking forward to from THG?
Also, don’t forget to enter to win my giveaway of The Hunger Games trilogy!