REVIEW: ‘Catching Fire’ improves on first film

CatchingFire_cvrby Brenna Redmond

Katniss Everdeen inspired audiences everywhere when she held the nightlock to her lips alongside Peeta in The Hunger Games.  Her act of defiance against the Capitol shook all 12 districts to the core as well as left watchers and readers alike trembling in anticipation for what would happen next.  The hearts of every hopeless romantic broke when Peeta discovered Katniss’s unattached feelings, and just about everyone wanted to shake him screaming, “She does love you, dummy!  Fight for her!”  But despite the Capitolist people’s beliefs that the Hunger Games trilogy revolves around whether Katniss is Team Peeta or Team Gale, a revolution is forming and Katniss is in the eye of the storm.

Catching Fire starts where The Hunger Games left off—at the beginning of the Victory Tour.  Katniss and Peeta have just survived the bloody arena and are at the mercy of President Snow, whose threats are below the belt.  Katniss is pressured from all sides about who holds her heart, Peeta or Gale, while the districts are revolting against the Capitol.  Not to mention the upcoming Quarter Quell, where victors from past games are going to have to compete.  Katniss is an automatic contestant since she is the only female victor from District 12, so the question is:  Will Haymitch or Peeta have to fight her to the death?

Many fans of The Hunger Games, myself included, felt that Catching Fire was a better movie in comparison to the first, if only because the movie industry kept mostly to the plot from the novel rather than twisting the story around like so many booklovers hate to see happen.  The cinematography and special effects in the movie were amazing and made me feel as if I were in the arena with them.  And though the running time was only 146 minutes, we wished the movie never ended!  How dare they end it on such a cliffhanger!

Jennifer Lawrence plays the exact opposite of herself in these movies, and pulls it off phenomenally.  Her boisterous and down-to-earth personality is hidden behind the stony façade that is Katniss Everdeen.  She and Josh Hutcherson have a natural chemistry on screen that left me in tears during multiple scenes in the movie.  Hutcherson was the perfect actor to play Peeta; his charming demeanor and obvious compassion and thoughtfulness makes it seem as if he does not even have to act while in character.  And who could forget Woody Harrelson?  Haymitch Abernathy’s drunken persona is exemplified and made the character to keep an eye on through Harrelson’s brilliant acting.

Now, I know that all you Hunger Games fans were waiting endlessly for Finnick Odair.  The sex symbol of Panem, the sarcastic hunk, the ally of everyone’s dreams, Mr. Perfect!  The actor who played Finnick was Sam Claflin, and I think that he was definitely the right choice.  Claflin not only had the pretty face, but he also had the personality that made all the girls melt in their theater seats.

Catching Fire earned over $158 million from the opening weekend alone.  It is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, language, and a suggestive situation that was absolutely hysterical!

The Mockingjay novel has been split into two movies, with Part 1 to be released next year and Part 2 the year after that.  So the next big question on every Suzanne Collins fan’s mind is:  Where are they going to split the novel?!

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