The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
With the Holidays just around the corner, the Holiday movie season have begun. One of the most anticipated movies of the Holidays and of the year was released this past weekend and it has delivered 10-fold. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is based on the second book of the Hunger Games book series written by Suzanne Collins and is the sequel to the successful first installment, The Hunger Games. This PG-13 flick brought in a whopping $158 million opening weekend making it the most successful November movie release ever and fourth largest opening of all time. As a fan of the books and of the first movie, I was one of the many excited people for the release of Catching Fire. After viewing it with a couple of friends, it’s safe to say that it was a smash. The layout of the movie and the accuracy that it had in comparison to the book was far superior to the first installment in the series. One of the many things it improved on was the cat Buttercup. With fans in uproars after the release of the first Hunger Games movie because the cat was black and white instead of the “muddy yellow” that Collins described the feline in the books. With Collins leading the way and calling for a recasting of the cat, director Francis Lawrence made sure to cast the correct color cat in the second installment. With all this fuss about the color of the cat, Buttercup still only managed about five seconds of screen time. Another thing that was greatly improved on was the disappearance of the jerky, all over the place, action scenes from the first movie. It was difficult to watch and hard for the eyes to adjust to the sudden changes in camera angles, but thankfully Lawrence was able to eliminate these issues with a better flow in the fast paced action scenes.
Oscar Award winning actress, Jennifer Lawrence returned in her role as Katniss and once again was in full stride along with her co-star Josh Hutcherson who returned as Peeta in the movie. They seemed to have built a lot of chemistry together since the first installment of The Hunger Games. This is partly due to the direction of the movie with them being together in more scenes, but mainly they seemed more comfortable around each other and were able to execute their scenes flawlessly. But the biggest surprise of the sequel had to be the acting of Jena Malone, who brought the character Johanna Mason to life. From the way she looked, talked, and acted was almost identical to what I had envisioned from the book. Malone is able to bring the fiery anger and passion to the character, all while remaining sincere when need be. The casting of Malone was a crucial addition to continue the list of A-list actors that the Hunger Games has created in its two movies, with two more movies yet to go.
The movie Catching Fire is about the 75th annual Hunger Games and the 3rd Quarter Quell. To punish the 12th districts for uprising against the Capital, they use an arena style fight to the death, which is aired live to the public, to the delight of the Capital and to the pain of the districts. In this Quarter Quell, past victors of the games are thrown back into the arena to fight against each other. Katniss and Peeta are both tributes for district 12 after Peeta volunteered to take Haymitch’s (Woody Harrelson) place to help protect his love Katniss. They once again must fight against the other tributes, but this time things are a little different. There is mutual hatred toward the Capitol among the tributes as they join hands during their interviews with Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) to demonstrate their protest of the Capitol and the Games. Katniss and Peeta then have allies forced upon them by Haymitch after they agreed to do it alone. The last thing that Haymitch says to Katniss before entering the arena is “Remember who the real enemy is”. This quote sums up the movie well and you will need to watch The Hunger Games: Catching Fire to truly understand its meaning.