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.