The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is one of the rare sequels that surpasses the original movie. All of the problems with the first movie were eliminated in Catching Fire. There was not one shaky cam shot, characters were fleshed out (some even more so than the book), and the political turmoil throughout Panem was brought to the center of the movie; effectively making it a bigger and better story.
One of the surprisingly good additions to the movie that was not a part of the book was the fleshing out of one of the most caricature like characters. In the book, Effie Trinket’s sympathies are never truly known. She remains a cipher of all that is wrong with the Capital. The movie makes her more sympathetic in that you can clearly see her crying at more than one point. When it comes time for her to leave Katniss and Peeta she tells them, “You deserve better than this,” a line which was added to the movie that was never in the book. Most times when movies add things that are not in the book they fall flat, but his didn’t. This small yet bold remark made Effie a real person that can be further developed in the next movie.
There are several points in the film that show the Capitol as glittery and bright on the surface, but underneath it is just as broken and damaged as the districts. The first point where you can really see this is the party held for Katniss and Peeta when they reach the Capital at the end of the Victory Tour. It is pure excess. It’s a small scene from the book but played to remarkable effect. Peeta says that he can’t eat anymore so one of the party goers offers him a pink drink so he can vomit the food he has eaten and be able to taste everything at the banquet. It’s Katniss who points out the true awfulness of this as they walk away after refusing the drink. People are starving in the districts as citizens of the Capital are gorging to the point of wastefulness.
The games themselves don’t start until fairly late in the movie, which runs for over two hours but never feels dragged out. It’s hard to find a part of this movie to that makes it bad. Yes, the story could have been very cheesy, but it doesn’t come off that way thanks in large part to Jennifer Lawrence. She is what makes this movie far above average. She owns each and every scene she is in, which is just about all of them. In anyone else’s hands, some of the stuff she made us believe would never have worked, namely the love triangle. She made Katniss’s indecision between Gale and Peeta actually watchable and sympathetic; something not many actors out there today could do. Simply put, if you are not a Jennifer Lawrence fan then this is not the movie for you.Catching Fire does something not many movies out there today do, especially YA (young adult) movies. It sticks with you after you watch it. It also does what any good dystopian movie does, it points to the flaws in our own society and it makes you think. Definitely a movie worth watching at least once.
Author: Grace G
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