Wednesday 6 August 2014

Film Review - Catching Fire

Catching Fire
Director: Francis Lawrence
Genres: Science Fiction | Young Adult
Duration: 146 minutes
Release Date: 22nd November 2013
IMDB Rating: 
Butterfly Rating: 
Trailer: See Here
A year after winning the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and her partner, Peeta Mellark must go on what is known as the Victor's Tour wherein they visit all the districts. But before leaving, Katniss is visited by President Snow who fears that Katniss defied him a year ago during the games when she chose to die with Peeta. With both Katniss and Peeta declared the winners, it is fueling a possible uprising. He tells Katniss that while on tour she better try to make sure that she puts out the flames.. else everyone she cares about will be in danger.

Can Katniss prove her undying love for Peeta, or will she add more fuel to the fire?

This film is an adaptation of a novel.
Please bare in mind that during this review, there may be spoilers referring to scenes in the novel.

Much like when I read The Hunger Games, I had high expectations for it's sequel, Catching Fire and nothing was really different when I watched the film, other than the fact that I obviously expected bigger and better things from the new director of Catching Fire and bigger and better I got. Once again, the cinematography was absolutely beautiful, the actors and actresses were fantastic and on this occasion, the little details that featured in the book and the scenes that were taken away, all be a few mind, really failed to bother me this much with this installment. Watching Catching Fire gave me the perfect feeling I want when watching a film that's part of a series, it had left me eager, excited and impatient for the next.

One of the biggest appeals in this film in comparison to The Hunger Games was just how much more relatable and connected I felt to Katniss. Where I'd come to appreciate her lack of internal dialogue, her development and growth not only in herself, but how she spread that sense of development to those around her, portrayed and acted absolutely wonderfully by Lawrence, was fantastic. I think if anyone else were playing the part of Katniss, I would struggle to connect, but in some ways, I do find Lawrence to be the right person to play her; she is loyal to the character and expresses the smallest of emotions that Katniss has in the smallest, almost insignificant scenes, and it's beautiful to watch. I also appreciated just how much the effects of the The Hunger Games was shown and highlighted, how it affected Katniss' choices and decisions, and this is something I feel I can't remember happening much in the novel, so it was something I loved Francis Lawrence for doing. When it came to Katniss, both Lawrence's created a much more likable and much more relatable character, something I think Collins lacked in her novels.

Something I'm sure myself and fans alike appreciated was that there was an equal amount of time spend in the Capital, and in the new Games, something that was also lacking in the novel. Where-as the novel of Catching Fire spent a good amount of time in the Capital, doing almost much of nothing, the film was developed and use this time in the Capital to create a more realistic and more noticeable romance, which was something I felt was missing a little in the previous installment. I found myself very much varying between 'for gods sake Katniss, just pick a guy and let it be over' and 'pick Peeta, you better pick Peeta, not because I like him more, but because I want Gale to myself..' That fact that I was even on board with these romantic choices was something to be amazed about, never mind the fact that suddenly, I was attached to these characters, of course, with the help of Liam Hemsworth, who is god-like, and Josh Hutcherson, who is less god-like, personally. (Please fangirls, don't kill me, it's a preference, please..) If I were to be so blunt, I genuinely think both of these romantic choices could and would be better off without Katniss, but that's also, just a personal matter, and not really related to the film itself. When the film moved into the Games, I definitely felt that there was a much more darker, dangerous level of fear and death involved, the actual arena more deadly, more fearful and made of nightmares and I really do think the cinematography played a HUGE part in this novel. Without the special effects, without the talents of these computer whizzes behind the scenes, Catching Fire wouldn't have been as amazing visually as it was acted, so the special effects team deserve a stern well done.

The pace and plot of the film was kept extremely close to that of the book, from the scenes with Snow, who really lit up as a fantastic enemy in this installment; I do think Donald Sutherland is THE perfect choice for Snow, he has the right charisma to play a character with such depth, hatred and fury, to the delicate scenes between Katniss and Cinna or Haymitch, who is definitely my favourite character, Effie, Katniss and Peeta, with the goodbyes and the good-lucks. There was so much variety, so much feeling conveyed in these scenes and so much rage in those violent scenes. In fact, the range of emotions involved in this film and how they were conveyed were so strong, I felt that the connection to Katniss was stronger than ever; her goodbye scenes with Cinna had me genuinely crying, and I mean, tears down cheek, but, much like Katniss, it was done to throw me, to complete confuse me and distress me, and it was these feelings, this connection I had, that made the film both loyal to the novel, but absolutely amazing for those of use who prefer some things on the big screen.

It's known that I like to take notes when I plan on reviewing something, but with Catching Fire, my notes were much less developed and a lot more unclear, some of the most common and well used phrases or words in my notes for Catching Fire were: 'cinematography', 'yes yes yes', 'it's sooooooo good!' and unsurprisingly, the rating that I plan to give this film. If I were to pick out other spotlight words in the notes to describe some of the best parts of this film, they would be: 'angles', 'colours', 'effects', 'loyalty', 'hilarious', 'development' and 'emotion'. These are the things that stood out most to me, were underlined passionately, were written repetitively, and were predominantly some of the best features involved.

Catching Fire wasn't perfect. I cannot say why, I cannot pin point why, maybe it was that Katniss just wasn't as independent as I'd have liked her to be in this film, maybe it was that the romance was too much of the focus, maybe it was that I wasn't as connected as I feel I was, or maybe there's something wrong with me, but as perfect as this film be with something just niggling away at me, there was only ever one rating for this film. From 30 minutes in, I knew what I would be giving it, the extra characters that were featured and chosen to be used, the spectacular world that the directors of both these films helped create and use, and the amazing and wonderful characters that are brought to life, on the big screen, developed and executed amazingly, they all contributed to giving this a solid, no arguments rating. I will however, join the fandom in waiting impatiently for Mockingjay Part 1, especially since I now know how the series ends.


  1. YESSS I am so glad you loved this movie Amanda, especially after the slightly disappointing first movie for you! The characters are all fantastic and spot on. I liked how you said Gale is the clear winner here, I totally agree lol. I think it would have been better if they were just friends with Katniss, but then you can't have a YA without the romance :P Can't wait to watch the next movie, it's going to be awesome!

    1. The fandom is definitely split when it comes to Gale and Peeta, maybe I just have a soft spot for Liam..
      I'm pretty excited for Mockingjay Part 1 as well, although, what's with the part 1 exactly? One film would have done :)

  2. Oh, I liked this movie, as well! I think I even liked it better than the book (which is something I don't think had ever happened to me before). I definitely liked it a lot better than "Hunger Games", which I thought was just ok.

    1. I liked it much better than the novel too, there's something about seeing it come to life that works so well.
      It's definitely the best out the movies though, I'm glad I and you enjoyed it Sofia! :)

  3. Oh how I adored this move... ADORED IT! I thought it was such a brilliant adaptation of the book and such an amazing sequel. It definitely surpassed all my expectations and I was so pleased. I was left disappointed by the first film, but this one worked so well and I thought they made a near perfect adaptation and movie. I had no grumbles with it at all. I can't wait for Mockingjay Pt1, the midnight showing is going to be amazing!

    1. I feel exactly the same. I had my issues with The Hunger Games, but Catching Fire was so much better!


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