Having bought my ticket at the beginning of October, I was anxiously anticipating the release of Catching Fire until last Friday. A group of friends and I went to the local theater this year, instead of AMC - not only was it cheaper, but completely stress free (meaning no long lines, no sprinting to get good seats).
All members from the cast of The Hunger Games returned for Catching Fire, but some great additions were also made: Sam Claflin (as Finnick Odair), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (as Plutarch Heavensbee), Jena Malone (as Johanna Mason).
Francis Lawrence, the new director of the film, I felt did a great job in keeping things consistent with the first film. For example, the Capitol looks relatively the same as it did in The Hunger Games, along with the village and woods in District 12.
Note: at this point in the post, I would like to discuss some of the differences between the movie and the book, so please, stop reading now if you have not read Catching Fire. Spoiler alert. Thank you!
- Bonnie and Twill, the two District 8 refugees who are on their way to the elusive District 13, do not make and appearance in the movie. At first, I was unsure as to how Katniss would decide she would like to run away, but in the end this omission worked.
- During the Victory Tour as the President's mansion, Plutarch does not show Katniss his pocket watch. "But then how does she figure out the arena is layed out like clock?!" I found myself screaming mentally while watching. Instead, Katniss climbs a tree inside the arena, where she gets and aerial view of the Corucopia. This view allows for a ver powerful moment where the expansiveness and complexity of the arena is conveyed.
- President Snow is given a granddaughter in the movie, and she symbolizes how much of an influence Katniss has become. The granddaughter wears her hair in a braid, which she says is how all of the girls at school are wearing their hair.
- The scene that I missed the most from the book that did not appear in the movie was the scene in which Katniss and Peeta spend the day atop the Training Center roof. I felt that it was a key point in the development of their relationship that was overlooked in the movie.
- Effie Trinket becomes a more well-developed character in the movie when she shares an emotional goodbye with Katniss and Peeta before the beginning of the Quarter Quell. I loved this addition to the movie, and thought it was extremely effective.
In the end, I actually like Catching Fire better than I did The Hunger Games! (Let me fangirl for just a moment here) Finnick was even hotter than he was in the book, the elevator scene was even funnier, and the monkeys in the arena were even more frightening than I had imagined.
The movie ends very abruptly, but like the book, it is effective in creating the suspense needed for the third movie/novel. Mockingjay will be divided into two parts (like every other popular YA franchise it seems), with Part One expected for release on November 21st, 2014 and Part Two on November 20th, 2015.
It's that time of year again! The following sites from around the Web have already listed their Best Books of 2013. You can expect to find mine posted here on December 21st. (Until then, see my choices for 2011, 2012 )