Catching Fire Review: From a fan of the books

Review of Catching Fire starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Sam Claflin, and Jena Malone.

Mackenzie Filkins, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Catching Fire premiered Nov. 22 and has had impressive ratings in the first three weeks. As a fan of the books, I personally do not think the movie could have been closer to perfection. There were minimal scenes I found unnecessary and I was fine with the extra scenes put in to give the audience a better understanding of what was happening.

Since the last Hunger Games, Katniss has had to face broken relationships and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). One of the opening scenes is of Katniss hunting a turkey with Gale but hallucinates hitting Marvel with an arrow, whom she killed in the last games. Both Katniss and Peeta must tour the districts as victors to express their gratitude towards the Capitol and the tributes who lost their lives in the games. Before leaving, Katniss is told by President Snow that she alone must end any possibility of a revolution in the districts on the tour, or else. Unfortunately Katniss is unsuccessful in her attempt to convince everyone.

Since I read the books before seeing the movie, I obviously have some minor complaints about the movie, considering Suzanne Collins did not direct the movie and I did not cast the characters. In the book, traitors of the Capitol have their tongues cut out and are forced to serve Capitol citizens. These people are called Avoxes.

In the  movie when Katniss and Peeta are discussing alliances in their Capitol penthouse, an Avox with a creepy cage around her head was standing in the background. I was happy at first since this was not in the first movie, but the Avox was not explained and people who had not read the book were probably extremely confused. In the end I found the Avox distracting, which took away from the scene.

Secondly, the water scene after the poisonous fog was uncomfortable. I am sure a scene with three people groaning in water could never turn out well, no matter who the actors are. Still, this scene was equivalent to rock face Peeta in The Hunger Games; the scene was necessary because it was in the book but the director went a little crazy with it.

Another similarity in these book-to-movie adaptations was the removal of Katniss spending the beginning of the games looking for water. Katniss could have taken two minutes to consider what the spile was instead of automatically saying, “I KNOW WHAT THIS IS!” In the book she follows a bunny for hours trying to find a water source.

These were minor compared to what I loved about the movie. The costumes, for one, were so much better than the first movie. The Capitol attire was still insane but less in-your-face ugly.  In The Hunger Games every scene seemed to have a gloomy color scheme, which after a while became a little annoying. In Catching Fire not just the costumes but the overall look was more appealing. The arena was also exactly how I imagined it, maybe even better. Lastly, Jena Malone as Johanna and Sam Claflin as Finnick could not have worked better for their roles.

Catching Fire is now in theaters with a total of two hours and twenty-six action-packed minutes that no one should miss out on.

Lions Gate