Catching Fire Movie Review

catching fire1You know I always preface the movie before I write about it. This time, I am letting you know it’s been a while since I read the book, which I did on purpose because I hate it when books and movies are so different they are unrecognizable. So if you were hoping for a cross-comparison, walk away. Seriously, stop reading and leave. This review is only about the movie.

I loved the movie. It was better than the first one, and that is saying something! The movie upped the stakes in all the right ways. Right off the bat, Katniss knows she is in danger with President Snow and is forced to be compliant to his wishes during her victory tour with Peeta. The movie shows how ready the people in the districts are to rebel and show her how much she has inspired them to tell the Capitol to fuck off. Katniss, worried for the ones she loves, just wants to get through the tour unscathed. Lawrence does a great job embodying Katniss and you, as the audience, are drawn into her fears. You want her family to be safe, but you also want the Capitol to be brought down. So when the announcement that the next Hunger Games will feature only previous victors, you know President Snow is using this as his way to eliminate his threat.

catching fire2This movie did a great job at building suspense and making the audience guess what was happening next. Who are Katniss’ real allies? Who can she trust in the games? Will she really survive a second time? Especially considering she is playing against seasoned killers? The movie does a great job showing the true strength of Haymitch–his ability to network with the previous victors and protect Katniss, even though she fights it.

Let’s get into the actors, because they make the movie what it is, story drives through them. Jennifer Lawrence. This woman is the shit. She dos such a good job portraying the confliction, the fear, the confusion, desperation and fighting spirit of Katniss. She makes me see myself in her. She eats up the screen and owns every moment in the film. Elizabeth Banks. She was excellent in this movie. She gives Effie a soul. Her costumes are still crazy and tacky, but when she has to read her district’s names for the Hunger Games, you can feel her wanting to cry. It’s so well done. You can see in her how what is happening is affecting those in the Capitol. It gives the audience hope that if there is a rebellion, there will be people in power to support it. Jena Malone. Some people know I hate Johanna Mason for reasons unrelated to the book. Malone does a spectacular job as Johanna. She embodies her fierceness, her devil-may-care attitude. The scene in the elevator was one of the best in the movie. I laughed so hard. It was wonderful to see that come to life. At that moment I cheered for Johanna Mason. Sure, as an audience member, you don’t really know if you can trust her, but you love her anyways. Woody Harrelson. He continues to be great as Haymitch. You get a much stronger idea as to how much power he has in the Capitol. He is able to socially navigate the waters to help Peeta and Katniss before they go back into the arena. You get the sense he is trusted and a true ally. Of course he is still funny in his interactions with Katniss, but you get the sense that there is a true bond between the two. Sam Claflin. His portrayal of Finnick was pretty good. I always saw him as more of a ladies man, but the movie chose to focus on him as more well-rounded, especially is love for Mags. I felt that gave the character more depth and you were pulling for him and hoped he was a true ally to Katniss. Josh Hutcherson. Peeta hasn’t really changed much from the first movie, so this portrayal is middle of the road for me. The story centers on Katniss and not really him, so when there are reactions to things, he is always the back-up. But I do love how he interacts within the love triangle. You get the sense that he really does love Katniss and wishes she wasn’t just acting in front of the camera’s. I like that he tries to break down her walls and catching fire3become true friends on their victory tour. It helps that they both have nightmares and can bond over that, sad as it is. Liam Hemsworth. Like Hutcherson, this role as Gale doesn’t give him much to work with. I did like that we got to see him more in the beginning of the film. He speaks for the district in a sense, wanting to fight the Capitol. His defiance and subsequent beating make him a sympathetic character and it makes the audience want to fuck up the Capitol even more. Donald Sutherland. He is perfect casting as President Snow. I find him to be scary and calculated. You can feel the intelligence emanating off of him. He wants to make the right move against Katniss, in a way that will keep him in power, uncontested. He portrays his strength through his eyes and you never want them to fall on you. Overall, the casting for this film was excellent.

This movie had a good balance of story and action. The story is well set up before the next Hunger Games even start. You see who has changed and grown since the last film in District 12. You meet all the contestants, and some of their quirks, before the games start and you go into it rooting for the underdogs. The action is not as intense as the first movie, and I think that’s partially because we don’t see young kids being killed mercilessly, but it works. The arena is still deadly, intricate and frightening, almost like another character in the movie.

Overall, I loved the movie! I want to see again, honestly. I am sure I missed things and the story-telling and characters made the movie what it is. It is better than the first one and a worthy adaptation to the book. I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it to get their ass to the theatre ASAP.

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~ by xine23 on November 24, 2013.

 
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