Last week I finally took the time to go and see the second movie instalment of The Hunger Games series, Catching Fire. Having heard how good it is all over the internet in blogs and reviews, You Tube, newspapers, TV shows, etc., I was swayed to go check it out. I’m usually put off by books and movies that are overhyped but this time my curiosity got the best of me. I felt the first film of The Hunger Games was all wrong and was sure that Catching Fire would be a disappointment too.
Happily, I was wrong. They really seemed to put in a real effort to capture the spirit and meaning of the book, which wasn’t so much the case with The Hunger Games. As a matter of fact, Catching Fire the novel ,as I think back wasn’t really that captivating until the last quarter of the story. That’s the part when they go back into the arena. The rest of the book was just a lot of teenage angst and going backward and forward between the love triangle Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. Don’t ask me because I’m team nobody.
I still believe that the majority of trilogies and series at the moment don’t always meet the criteria to be one. The stories often feel stretched beyond belief and grow stale way before the end. The Hunger Games trilogy was a valid trilogy, in essence, but it just seemed to be not as well executed as the story continued. The Hunger Games was really good although the writing at times was not as exact as it could have been.
So, Catching Fire was all everybody raved about – excellent scenery, beautifully creative costumes and make-up, and filled with suspense, brutality, intrigue, and emotion. It seemed to follow the story line of the book closely enough. The first hour of the movie didn’t feel at all as if it was dragging as I remembered when reading the book. The scenes in the dome and the new characters seemed to fit, except for Sam Claflin who played the role of Finnick. He just didn’t cut it for me physically. I’d imagined a different guy. Not to mention, the dubbed voices were terrible, especially Joanna’s. Her voice was squeaky and high-pitched. Strange! I couldn’t find a cinema near me that was showing it in English, so I had to watch it dubbed in French. Jennifer Lawrence’s acting was well-rounded and believable. The scene I preferred the most was the last-minute of the movie with the tight image of Katniss’s face and the change of expressions from fear to sadness and then to rage – excellent way to end part 2. Now what I’m not so keen on is that they are making 2 movies for Mockingjay. Why? What’s this some kind of formula for adapting YA novels to cinema? The last novel always has to be made into two films. That is definitely not a good idea. I feel a dud coming on…