November 23, 2013 · Print This Article

I knew my experience viewing THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE [2013] could not compare to the incredible one I had watching THE HUNGER GAMES [2012] where I decided to see the movie at the last minute, had only a vague idea of the storyline, had no idea it was a three book story, and no one was seated anyone near me.  It was my movie of the year for 2012 by far.  In contrast, for CATCHING FIRE I already knew the entire story having read all three books after seeing the first movie, and with the director change and hearing the production was rushed, I was just hoping to like CATCHING FIRE.  My expectations were exceeded by far.  Of course CATCHING FIRE did not have the impact the original did, but it was very exciting and well done and drew me again into the world of The Hunger Games.

I wonder for those who did not read the book and watched the movie over a year and a half ago how well they could follow everything as even though the movie was nearly 2.5 hours long, it was very fast paced.  Things start back in District 12 where all seems back to normal with Katniss and Gale out in the woods hunting.  However, Katniss and Peeta soon are to be back in the spotlight on their victory tour where Katniss in particular is warned not to stir up trouble, i.e. hope amongst the people of the other districts being oppressed by the Capitol.  Even though Katniss and Peeta try not too, they cannot help but stir things up.

I was disappointed that the marketing for the movie made no attempt to hide what was for me reading the book an unbelievable shock, there would be another Hunger Games, and the tributes would all be former victors, meaning Katniss and Peeta are right back in mortal danger.  Katniss loses people even before she steps back into the arena though.

The third Quarter Quell 75th Hunger Games begin and went by fast for me.  Here I think it was most apparent that new director Francis Lawrence was not as skilled at directing action as first movie director Gary Ross was.  Maybe it was also the case of having many more tributes, not having Katniss on her own most of the time and having a much more complex arena.  No doubt all the tributes being adults this time lessoned some of the shock too.

Despite CATCHING FIRE not being nearly the emotional experience THE HUNGER GAMES was for me (it never could be) I found it to still be a very successful movie sequel and I feel much better about the end to the movie trilogy, MOCKINGJAY (just checked and forgot they are making that into two movies!).

UPDATE —  November 14, 2014

I just rewatched CATCHING FIRE in preparation for the release of MOCKINGJAY next week.  Having also just reread my original review, I have nothing new to add as my feelings were the exact same watching it again regarding the movie going by fast and that the action was hard to follow in the arena.  Watching the movie again reminded me how much I like the character of Katniss.


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