Movie Review: Catching Fire

President Snow: “You fought very hard in the Games, Miss Everdeen. But they were games. Would you like to be in a real war? Imagine thousands of your people, dead. Your loved ones, gone.”

Katniss Everdeen: “What do I need to do?”

 

hgmcfFirst of all, don’t worry, I won’t put any spoilers on here!

You might remember me reviewing the Hunger Games movie with a somewhat critical eye. I said how I thought the first film was nicely done, but just didn’t feel as exciting or cool as the book. For anyone who shared that concern—or any concern at all, really—fear not. The second Hunger Games movie sweeps in and blasts away any flaws in its predecessor.

Show of hands: who read the Harry Potter books, loved them, then saw the movies and loved them just as much? If you’re like me, you followed that pattern, and you noticed something: what makes the HP movies so great is that they don’t just adapt their source material line for line. They include most of it, but then give it a new feel, sort of.

For example, the sixth Harry Potter, my favorite one. In the book chapter one, we have a meeting between the ministers talking about the growing threat of Voldemort. In the movie, we have an awesome action sequence of a bridge being destroyed as Death Eaters sweep through London.

If you loved touches like that, buckle up. Catching Fire achieves the near-impossible goal of turning the source material into its own thing, while at the same time being a faithful adaption. Oh, if you see this movie and have any problems with how it was adapted, please blast me in the comments. Please. Even my most critical friends couldn’t find anything wrong with how this book was translated into a movie. Was a scene from the book cut here and there? Absolutely. Were new scenes added? Sure. But the feel is identical. No, it’s even better, because the movie is so energetic and fast-paced that you’re going at light speed for the whole ride.

You know how when you watch a really good scene in a movie and you’re just sitting there gripping the armrests, holding your breath to see what will happen? This whole movie is like that. It doesn’t let up.

What I’m trying to say is that this movie found what the first one was looking for. I personally was quite bored the first fifteen or so minutes of The Hunger Games. And even the rest was sorta…eh. Good adaption, but in the end, it felt too familiar. We’d seen it all before.

Forget that here. Oh, forget that here. I won’t spoil anything, but for anyone who knows the story: do you know how President Snow makes a big announcement about halfway through the book? Like, really big?

You’d think that would just show Katniss crying afterwards or something. But no, this movie goes all-out. We see Peeta falling to the floor, Haymitch throwing something at his TV, and Katniss breaking down her own door to run out into the woods and sob. All while an epic score plays and it shows a montage of Panem.

Think I spoiled it? That was just a taste, my friends; a single example of the tone this movie takes on. Every scene is better done than in the book. There’s quite a bit more humor, too (I laughed out loud at Johanna’s interview).

And of course, Jennifer Lawrence. She really is at the top of her game in this movie. Don’t get me wrong, she was great in the first one. But now she seems older, more mature, more like a hardened adult warrior who’s still vulnerable. They couldn’t have picked a better actress for the role.

I could spend pages breaking down all the awesome scenes and touches in the film, but I think I’m better off just telling you to go see it.

So, go see it. Now!

In Conclusion: This movie is spectacularly done and takes on its own tone while still being faithful to the book. If you loved the first movie or even if you didn’t, see this one now. It’s a whole new experience.

Rate: 9.5 out of 10.

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