The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Catching Fire Movie PosterReleased 2013

From imdb.com: Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

The Review:

I was really looking forward to this second installment of the Hunger Games, because I loved the first one! Going into this one, the main comment I kept hearing from people who had not read the books was, “but isn’t this just the same story?” Well, yes and no. While Katniss and Peeta once again get reaped for the Games, there are so many things different about these games than the previous, so I was looking forward to seeing how the movie really emphasized these elements.

When it comes to the books, I have to admit I haven’t read them in over a year. I don’t remember all of the details, but I didn’t want to read them again right before seeing the movie. However, from what I remember, the movie seemed to follow the book pretty closely. As different things were happening on screen, I kind of felt myself nodding and going yep, this was how it happened. I really appreciate these movies for how they do follow the books and try to bring to life what was happening on the page. What’s different though of course are events happening outside of Katniss’ viewpoint, because these don’t appear in the book – mainly the scenes between President Snow and the games master Plutarch. I loved these scenes. I think they  do an excellent job of emphasizing how manipulative the Capital can be and how much danger Katniss is really in. The movie seemed to be giving the audience a lot more information in the second movie – a more rounded story, rather than assuming the audience knows everything, which was my main criticism of the first movie.

Jena Malone as JohannaI also love the actors in these movies. I’m a huge Jennifer Lawrence fan because of the Hunger Games. It makes me laugh to think that when she was first announced to play Katniss, I doubted her and couldn’t picture it. Now, I don’t think Katniss could be played by anyone else. Lawrence has simply wowed me. In this second installment we also see Jena Malone as Johanna Mason. I’ve really liked Malone ever since Pride and Prejudice, and honestly I think she kicked ass as Johanna. Every time she was on screen she made me smile, and I am so happy that she was cast in that role.

My only problem with this installment is – well, it’s something I can’t quite put my finger on. There was just something missing about this movie and I don’t even know what it is. Something was slightly unsatisfactory for me. Here’s what I came up with:

1) In the first movie, I had tears in my eyes multiple times, but especially when Prim is reaped and Katniss volunteers, and definitely when Rue dies. Although there are sad moments in the second one, and obviously people die, I never got that emotional over it.

2) There is this awful moment in the first movie where Cato snaps the neck of another tribute. That is such a vivid moment in that movie and I remember jumping (and seeing everyone else jump or gasp) because it is so unexpected and violent. To me it is such a stand out moment in the first movie. In this installment, I just felt there wasn’t any moment to make you gasp, to make you really feel the violence and the danger of what is happening to Katniss.

So. While I’m not quite sure what it is, I think this installment is missing some sort of traumatic emotion, whether sadness or shock, or something else, I simply was not as emotionally engaged or shocked by this movie. That being said, it was still a really good movie, and in the series it will make a pretty awesome second installment. I am very very much looking forward to the next one!

Rating: 4 / 5

Catching Fire Poster 2

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