Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Sequel to The Hunger Games
Released: 11-21-2013 by Lionsgate
Get the book: Amazon
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz
Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.
Poster Design – Ignition Creative Rating – 2/5
The official poster is kinda lame. Sure it has what people want – Jennifer Lawrence’s face, fire, and that bow and arrow, but it’s not exciting. The IMAX poster is a work of art though – a 6/5. No one seems to know who actually designed it though, which is a shame.
I loved the 1st Hunger Games movie and I loved this one too. There’s a long time before Katniss and Peeta head back to the arena in this movie, and some people are criticizing that as a slow start, but I liked it. This is a pivotal shift in the series – away from the Hunger Games and toward a revolution that takes place in an area with no boundaries and no rules.
- tributes coming together – The other victors who are forced to go back into an arena are a group full of firecracker personalities. Johanna (Jena Malone) and Finnick (Sam Claflin) in particular are interesting characters. Both of them come off at 1st as manipulative and excited by violence, but bit by bit they are revealed to be more human than Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) could ever imagine them to be. Catching Fire highlights the fact that the tributes, in contrast to the way we saw them in The Hunger Games, are just like Katniss – they are young people who are trying to survive in a society that sets them up to fail. Even the Careers – those who train to kill and volunteer as tributes – spend their lives doing those things in order to provide for their families, to keep the ones they love alive when the entire system is working against them. The tributes are previous victors – they have killed and betrayed in order to secure a future where the Capitol supplies them with money, food, and safety. President Snow’s (Donald Sutherland) reaping from the pool of victors in an effort to kill Katniss is seen by the tributes as the ultimate betrayal, and they band together to do everything they can to keep the Games from happening. They turn the stories that their Capitol image teams have manufactured against them, playing off the Capitol citizens’ emotions in a bid to stir up enough sympathy to stop the Games. When the tributes all join hands in solidarity in front of the Capitol and all of Panem following their interviews, it was a moment that symbolized the idea of the movie. Remember who the real enemy is. The tributes have been killing each other for years for the sick entertainment of the Capitol, but this time they’re entering the arena united. The fight is against President Snow, not each other.
- Effie – When me met Effie (Elizabeth Banks), she was just the embodiment of Capitol excess and lack of concern for the districts. Effie’s only concern in life was that she had enough zany outfits to wear for each event she guided Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) to, and she didn’t much care that the reality was teens killing each other as long as they put on a good show doing it. In Catching Fire, we see Effie realize the cruelty of the whole situation. We see the more human side of Effie emerge as she looks at the Capitol through the eyes of Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and kind of decides maybe the revolution is a good idea.
- Peeta – Haymitch tells Katniss that she will never deserve a guy like Peeta and she readily agrees. When it’s announced that the tributes will be former victors, Katniss tells Haymitch that she wants to do everything they can to keep Peeta alive. But Peeta, much more than Katniss, sees the bigger picture. Peeta recognizes that Katniss has become a symbol of hope for the people in the districts, and that the revolution needs her to be that symbol. He goes to Haymitch before Katniss even thinks to do that for Peeta, he convinces Katniss that she’s important, that people need her more than she thinks they do. While Gale (Liam Hemsworth) actively despises Katniss’ relationship with Peeta – even though it has saved her life, Peeta respects Katniss’ friendship with Gale and he never pushes her for more than she’s willing to give him.
- PTSD – So much of this movie takes place outside the arena and focuses on the aftermath of the 1st trip to the arena (for Katniss and Peeta). While the film opens with a bang that is all about Katniss and the effect the arena experience had on her, that gets largely abandoned later on – thought nightmares are mentioned. I wish Peeta and Katniss actually had a conversation about their Games-related nightmares, rather than just saying “it was just a nightmare” and “oh right I have them too.” I don’t remember when exactly in the books we find out details of other victors’ backstories, but I think it would’ve been nice to get more about Johanna, Finnick, and Haymitch. What’s made Johanna so venomous? How did Finnick meet Annie? How long had Haymitch been tutoring District 12 tributes just to watch them die horrific deaths?
- Cinna – Lenny Kravitz does not act well at all. Cinna is one of the only people in the Capitol that Katniss actually forms a genuine connection with, and he becomes important to her. But Cinna in the movie has no emotion in his face or voice. I’m just no buying that I should care about this character who is saying all these heartfelt things to Katniss in the most wooden way imaginable. In a movie where everyone else is acting their butts off, it really sticks out.
- District 13 – In the book, Katniss learns that District 13 was not annihilated by the Capitol – that there are people living there – pretty early on. In the movie, Katniss doesn’t learn about District 13 until the very end when she’s already been to the arena. The characters that told Katniss about District 13 in the book are completely absent.
- Avoxes – The most glaringly absent thing from the movie series is the Avoxes. They are seen but ignored – they aren’t mentioned or explained, and for all we know they’re just regular servants. In the books the Avoxes are yet another example of Capitol cruelty, a lifelong punishment for rebellion. There are certain Avoxes who are specifically sent to serve Katniss in the books as another sort of intimidation tactic – a look what we did to these people who helped you.
- Johanna stripping off every inch of her clothing in a tiny elevator while casually chatting with Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch is a memorable moment for sure. Johanna is a loose cannon with a vendetta. She wants Capitol blood spilled and her every move is calculated. This scene is Johanna showing just how wild and unpredictable she can be while remaining perfectly calm. The reactions are priceless, particularly Katniss’ facial expressions. This scene just screams Johanna to me.
- Katniss realizing that Finnick is an ally in the arena is excellent. There is so much being communicated without words, so much that Katniss is realizing she isn’t aware of. It gives us a peek at just how important Haymitch really is to Katniss, Peeta, the other tributes, and the entire revolution – even though he is playing his part from outside the arena.
Acquired: bought tickets