Movie Review: Catching Fire

Source:  Movie Review: Catching Fire    Tag:  how does catching fire end
My Rating: 1 Star2 Star3 Star4 Star

I have been excitedly preparing for Catching Fire since the end credits of The Hunger Games. While my relationship with the books is rocky, the movie quickly became one of my favourites and one of the few movies I have watched regularly. The second novel is my least favourite, I felt that it took a long time to get to any kind of point and there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary narration from Katniss. The pace of the movie is much faster and the proportion of time devoted to the lead up to the Quarter Quell and the actual arena is much more fairly distributed.

 The atmosphere of Catching Fire is very different to The Hunger Games, most noticeably in the presence of a lot of humour in the sequel. While this humour certainly sets this movie apart from the first, it was disappointing that a lot of this humour was used to mock others. While the contrast between the Districts and the Capital is strongly represented through the outlandish outfits of the citizens, this time Effie and Caesar take the brunt of the attack. I felt it unfair to so completely single them out for ridicule when Effie is so genuinely devastated that Katniss and Peeta once again face almost certain death. Caesar Flickerman, host of the TV broadcasts, faces criticism for his outlandish appearance and apparent enthusiasm for the violence of the Games. While we know a lot less about Caesar than we do Effie, he is doing a job where a peaceful retirement is hard to come by, and the last game-maker was killed by the President. He is a man that would not have much choice and must be forced to represent Snow's version of Capital life. He's also someone who tries his very best to personalise each tribute and make them as likeable as possible in order to gain sponsorship.

 Lawrence once again does a great job of bringing Katniss to life and adding a great deal of emotion to each scene. The evolution of her relationship with Peeta felt much more believeable than in the novel, where I wasn't really sold until the end of the series that Katniss truly cared for him. Their scenes in the movie are much more credible, even though Katniss is clearly torn between Peeta and Gale in the beginning.

The one thing I did find very distracting was Katniss' make up, which seemed to be rather overdone. I liked that in the first movie, Katniss always looked like she was actually doing the activities filmed, she looked like she'd been hunting, she looked like she'd been stuck in a forest for a week with only a stream to wash herself in. In ,Catching Fire , Katniss had a lot of eye make up and bronzer on, even when she was hunting, and even after she'd been washing her face on the beach. The only other regular cast member that was more heavily made up was Effie, and on Katniss that just felt wrong. 

 The tributes were cast really well, especially Joanna, who provides a great deal of colour and humour to the arena and I really like that she has such a strong personality and a great deal of spunk. I also really liked the characterisation of Plutark, because if you hadn't read the book beforehand, you would have no idea of Plutark's real plans and I loved the ambiguity of that last line - “That's our girl” - that suggests he might not be as cruel as he seems.

 I really did enjoy the movie both times I saw it and was completely sucked in to the story. I enjoyed the script, I thought it took the best elements of the novel and brought them to life and I thought the pacing of the scenes was good. I'm a little concerned that they are adopting the “each movie must be bigger and better than the last” attitude, which I don't think is always necessary and was to the detriment of the Twilight movies. So for me, while it was definitely a great movie, I still prefer The Hunger Games.