22/12/13 - Film review: Catching Fire

This is probably a welcome break from the overload of Christmas posts I've been inundating you with recently!  Festive programming will resume soon.

For a little while, I didn't think I'd actually get to see the second Hunger Games film in the cinema.  Most of the people I would normally see it with have been otherwise occupied with being in different parts of the country (or world) or general busy-ness, and it's been in the cinemas for a while so I thought I was running out of chances.  So when my lovely friend Luke suggested going when he returned home for Christmas, I jumped at the chance!

In the few days before seeing Catching Fire, I decided to give the book a speedy reread.  As the last time I read it was when it first came out, it turned out I'd forgotten the majority of the major plot points.  So when I settled down in the cinema on Friday night with a hundred pages left unread, I at least had a few ideas of what to expect.  Luke, however, didn't...but we both agreed that the film was brilliant no matter which perspective you watched it from.  I'm going to try and keep this review fairly spoiler-free, but it'll be tough!  All I really want to do is go through the film in minute detail and analysis every aspect, but I doubt anyone would be interested in that.

While The Hunger Games was the closest book-to-film adaptation I have ever seen, Catching Fire had definitely been tweaked a bit more for the big screen but that didn't detract at all from my overall experience.  The first two thirds of the novel are much more about the political situation in Panem following Katniss and Peeta's remarkable performance in the seventy fourth Hunger Games, whereas this element of the story was slightly reduced in order to give more screen-time to the action of the arena.  We also see much more of President Snow and Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee than in the book, as the film isn't bound to Katniss's perspective in the same way.  Visually, the film is incredible; from the breath-taking costumes and impressive special effects, it's a real treat for the senses.

While obviously JLaw was incredible as she always is and Josh Hutcherson did himself very proud (and made me question whether my blanket statement of 'I don't fancy blondes' could maybe have an exception), there were a few absolute stand-out performances within the supporting cast.  Elizabeth Banks gave a stunning portrayal of a conflicted Effie Trinket, giving the character much more depth than the previous film and possibly even the book.  She also managed to look fabulous in the ridiculous Capitol outfits, which I'm debating replicating for my next fancy dress costume!  Jena Malone - who I recognised and had to Google when I got home, does anyone remember the film 'Saved!' starring Mandy Moore? - gave an incredible performance as District 7's female tribute Johanna Mason.  Although she wasn't exactly a central character, she really made an impression...I won't say any more, but keep an eye out for her.  Stanley Tucci was brilliant as ever, and I really enjoyed Sam Claflin who plays Finnick and is English incidentally (oh Wikipedia, what would we do without you?).

I could ramble for hours, discussing the finer points of the plot and the moral issues this series presents, but I won't because no one wants that.  Suffice to say, any film which leads me to debate, as a vegetarian, whether I'd find it easier to eat meat or kill another human being should the situation arise is a good'un in my eyes.  It sort of made me wish I'd written my third year dissertation on dystopian YA literature, as there's just so much to say about why The Hunger Games series has made such an impact.  Rereading the book in particular made me come over all geeky in my need to endlessly dissect each aspect.

I was really impressed by basically every element of it; it'll make you laugh, get a bit teary-eyed (more than once, in my case) and clutch desperately at the arm of the person sat next to you with your heart in your mouth.  I can't wait for the next installment and to add this to my DVD collection.  

Have you seen Catching Fire?  How did you think it compared to the book?  Let me know in the comments!


  1. I loved the movie! Out of the three books it was my favourite so I had high hopes, and it didn't disappoint! Effie and Johanna were absolutely wonderful, as you said. I also thought Mags should get a special mention, because she was fantastic, even though she didn't say a single word.

    1. Catching Fire was my favourite book as well, and I was so happy with the film! Mags was such a brilliant character and so short-lived, her relationship with Finnick was one of my favourite aspects of the story :) xx