“Hunger Games: Catching Fire” REVIEW

CATCHING FIRE

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I’m sure quite a few of you have already seen the next film in the “Hunger Games” series and therefore I also know that you want to go see it again!  If you are now one of the three people who have not seen the film, just take a long lunch today and catch a matinee at the very least RIGHT NOW!

            Only four hours before seeing the film, I had finished rereading the novel.  Reading the last page and remembering what is to come in “Mockingjay” (parts 1 & 2 for the film versions) got me really excited.  Though, I also felt underwhelmed by what I had just read.  Did I remember it incorrectly?  Had I personally really changed all that much since the first time I read it?   Nervously I waited for the film to start (after the barrage of commercials and then previews).  I took a deep breath as the lights dimmed. hunger-games-catching-fire-wide

            The first few minutes of “Catching Fire” were the only weakness in the film.  It felt a little cheesy, no doubt attempt to link to the first film, for “continuity”.  Nearly as soon as I began to fear the worst (another disappointing adaptation) the feel changed almost instantaneously.  This film is so different from the first one in such great ways!  There is clear direction and forward momentum not only with characters but story.  The first film did not do justice to all the nuances within character story arcs (mainly the struggle within Katniss about her feelings for Peeta-unbelievable in “Hunger Games”). url

As I am usually a purist when it comes to source material, even additions like (SPOILERS), Snow having a granddaughter made sense, was believable and gave the story more depth.  Omitting the watch scene with Katniss and Plutarch (which makes Katniss seem irrevocably naïve) but still giving them a meeting at the victor’s ball allows for the important interaction without calling into question our heroine’s intelligence.  For the-hunger-games-catching-fire-international-trailer-headerthose of you who have not read the books, you will still find that this film was far superior to the first film.

Outstanding performances by all!  Most noticeably improved was Elizabeth Bank’s Effie. She was solid mahogany.  Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman is just infectious (in only the good way).  Jena Malone as Johanna Mason was a riot.  Her fire and hatred toward the Capitol and apathy for pretty much everything else were perfect counters to each other.  Scenes with exchanges between she and Katniss are some of the films best moments. Jennifer Lawrence.  Jennifer Lawrence.  Did I mention Jennifer Lawrence? She brought so much subtlety to Katniss in this film.  You can see what she is thinking and feeling.  The end scene alone is a testament to the brilliance that is Jennifer Lawrence.Catching-Fire-catching-fire-movie-33836550-1280-673

Josh Hutcherson was not my first choice for Peeta Mellark.  I’m not saying he isn’t handsome or talented, he was just not what I had envisioned Peeta, Gale’s rival to be.  “Catching Fire” has me changing my mind about Peeta as well.  Direction!  Thank you Francis Lawrence for renewing my faith in this franchise!  Now here’s hoping the odds will be in our favor and that Mr. Lawrence will continue this trend through “Mockingjay” (parts 1 and 2)!

Agree? Disagree? Let the World Know!