Movie Review: Catching Fire

catching fireI break from my blogging hibernation in order to bring you the news:

Hunger Games fans, rejoice.

Where avid book fans might have seen the first movie as rather … different from the book, the newest movie installment, Catching Fire, sings true to the original heart of the series.

All of the witty banter, all the powerful statements and nearly all of the symbols that made these books more than just entertainment.

Jennifer Lawrence digs deep into what Katniss Everdeen has become after the 74th Hunger Games. We see the scars of war — on her mind, on the society, on the family. Lawrence also masters the awkwardness and distrust that seems inherant in Katniss.

As with the book, each character is so memorable, I argue with myself over who is my favorite. Effie, played by Elizabeth Banks, hit me the hardest with her conflicted role as escort to victors and later, tributes again. Gale, Liam Hemsworth, finally shows us more of the friend, confidant and protector he is. And Haymitch…. Well… I love Woody Harrelson no matter what.

Aside from a few tweaks, the movie sticks to the book, line for line. A few key details are left out, but not enough to feel voids like there were in the first movie. This felt more contained — it treated the audience more as if they weren’t all expected to read the books first.

That said…if your haven’t read the books… Go now. Seriously. Stop reading this…

I appreciated the style and ease at which the story was delivered compared to the first movie. I felt the over-use of the shaky cam and the flashbacks/playbacks that Gary Ross used in Hunger Games nearly overshadowed what is already a really compelling story. In Catching Fire, the new director, Francis Lawrence, lets the story and the riveting characters do the work. The filming doesn’t get in the way of Suzanne Collin’ story. Thank goodness.

I cannot wait to see what Francis Lawrence does with the Mockingjay movies — and how Katniss comes even more alive in Lawrence’s brilliant way.

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Community Champion at Buffer ~ writer ~ reader ~ urban homesteader ~ former rodeo queen ~ @nmillerbooks

  • Teresa Stubblefield-Skreen

    Reading it before seeing the movie doesn’t ruin anything and now I’m more excited than ever to see it 🙂

  • NicoleMillerbooks

    I had JUST finished re-reading the book, so everything was really fresh in my mind. I wasn’t disappointed. 😉

  • Linda McQuinn Carlblom

    Just saw it last night and LOVED it! I’m glad they gave Effie more emotions this time. All the characters seemed deeper but maybe that’s because we know them better and care more about them now. Whoever designed the costumes should win an Oscar. Fabulous! I didn’t like how the book ended and didn’t like it any better in the movie, but at least I was prepared for it. Can’t wait for Mockingjay!

  • NicoleMillerbooks

    Yes — the costumes were even more impressive without being tacky. Thank goodness we can read Mockingjay in between movie releases… 😉 Oh, cliff hangers…

  • Linda McQuinn Carlblom

    I’ve already read Mockingjay. It’s going to be epic!

  • Dawn Hill Shipman

    I don’t usually “do” violence and post-apocalyptic stuff but got talked into reading the books by a teen group I was leading at the public library. Then I was hooked! Incredible story-telling. Even so, I really hesitated about watching the first movie. What can I say? I get queasy…I did watch the Hunger Games movie, though, and it was good. Well done. Will I watch “Catching Fire”? I don’t know…I’m such a wimp. But thanks to the ‘thumbs ups’ here, I’ll probably find my way to the theater sometime soon!

  • NicoleMillerbooks

    The first movie was hard to watch for me, because it was kids against kids… At least in Catching Fire it isn’t a bunch of 12 year olds being slaughtered. But I do warn you, that book was pretty intense and the movie is equally intense. They did a good job not showing the gore and blood, but the action doesn’t really let up throughout the two and a half hours of movie… 😉

  • Sondra

    I am glad to hear that Catching Fire stays more true to the book. I was a bit disappointed to watch the first one and see what I felt were some important pieces missing. Now I think I can look forward to seeing it instead of thinking, “What’s going to be left out now?”