The odds are never in their favor.
Most importantly, how about that Dragon*con hotel cameo? The Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Georgia was used in the elevator scenes. I’ve always thought it was a beautiful venue. It was also used in the Denzel Washington movie Flight.
Anyway. This is a movie review.
The second installment of the Hunger Games was Catching Fire and this movie was blazing. This was certainly one of the best adaptions that I have ever seen which edged out Deathly Hallows and is right on the heels of 2009’s Watchmen adaption. A good adaption needs a few things to make it worth while: staying faithful to the book while all the additions/changes enhance the experience. Catching Fire did that absolutely perfect.
Jennifer Lawrence is becoming everyone’s queen and after this movie…I am a believer. Not only is she stunning, but she is a great actress. Her portrayal of Katniss has cemented Katniss as one of my favorite book heroines. Emotions came across naturally and effortless. During the very first scene of the movie, the audience gets treated to a taste of the post traumatic stress that Katniss is experiencing now that she is out of the games. Not exactly described too well in the books (in my opinion), Lawrence’s heart wrenching screams on-screen were enough to make me uncomfortable in my seat and feel for the girl on fire.
She was not the only one with a great performance, however. The acting was superb in this film. Very few adaptions do I find myself 100% ok with the casting choices. With The Hunger Games, how could it be any other way? Woody Harrelson is Haymitch. Josh Hutcherson is Petta. Liam Hemsworth is Gale. Their portrayal of these characters seems so invested.
With adaptions there are always additions that are necessary to fill in the story, especially when the original story is told from a first person perspective. Catching Fire enhanced the book ten fold. My favorite in the series, I still felt the book could have added things and edited others out just to make certain solutions simpler. The movie is what the book would have been in the third person. For example, Katniss kisses her best friend, Gale, only once in the book. She kisses him more in the movie. While this has been called out by several Young Adult fans, I think it enhances the emotions and also gives a bit more depth to Gale (who I think is quite faceless in the first two books). Maybe I’m just Team Gale because I loved seeing more of him in this film 🙂
The tone of the movie was spot on. This is more than about the Hunger Games now. This is about revolution – crippling an empire that has imposed their vicious rules of the Districts for 74-75 years. The title means so much more. Everything is catching fire, literally and figuratively. The Districts are burning. A spark has ignited in the people of the Districts to fight back. A fire has been lit in them and they are ready to rebel. Katniss’ beautiful wedding dress catches on fire to reveal a Mockingjay, a visual representation of burning the Capitol’s power and the Districts rising from the ashes.
Of course, nothing is perfect. The same qualms I have with the actual book. There never seems to be any weight to the deaths in the games. Certain characters die and there’s no emotion – not even relief. More often in this film I felt Katniss was going to die which brings me yo the implausible ending. The book tried to explain their plan more than the movie, but both times I was still unconvinced that I plan like this could have even worked. I do give the movie it’s props for handling the surprise at the end better than the book, however.
Much like I predicted (and wrote about), the costumes and makeup were impeccable. I was impressed by seeing everything on the big screen. The makeup was a nice surprise as it was so good. Even the deadly boils ln their skin from the acid fog was so realistic and gross that I felt squeamish. That means they did a very good job.
Mockingjay is going to be split into two movies.
This new trend of splitting final adaptions into two is really annoying. Mockingjay (the book) is not that long of book. Unlike Deathly Hallows, there does not seem to be much going on that will make two movies necessary. On my reread of the book I will try to predict where they will split the next movies.