I went and saw Catching Fire on Thursday night like the true obsessed Hunger Games fan that I am. I will admit I was very excited to see the movie; I had been looking forward to it since last year. It was amazing I really enjoyed it. I have no problem going to see it again. Since I am a true obsessed fan, I naturally read the books. I am going to compare the book and the movie, while the movie was amazing there were some things missing from the book.
I will admit this has gone through a few different versions because well I talk a lot so I have so much to say. On the topic, I know not everyone is going to want to read a super long blog.
SPOILER ALERT (Do not read part here unless you want to know what happens)
Gale & Katniss Kiss
Since I am Team Peeta I naturally think, Gale came to the game too late and really did not bring anything of note. With that being said, the location of the kiss was different. It was done in town instead of the woods; Gale did not profess anything to her. He just said that he had to do that just once after it was done and walked off. It really was uneventful.
Presidents Snow Visit
Now this scene makes your skin crawl no matter what. I will admit that the nice thing about the movie is that we are spared Katniss’s descriptions about what she smells. This scene is very true to the book and is brilliantly delivered by both Donald Sutherland and Jennifer Lawrence. I did find interesting though, since the kiss and President Snow’s visit happen in the same day how he got that footage so quickly. They had to have kissed only 20 minutes before hand.
The Victory Tour
This one is long so I decided to bullet point it.
The tour starts the same – Peeta and Katniss kissing outside their homes. I am a bit sad that she did not run into his arms, but Peeta still fell down (something I was worried about since he never lost a leg in the last movie) that helped. I have to give it up to Jennifer and Josh; they did a great job with the whole Peeta & Katniss tension. You should just feel the awkwardness.
- District 11 – that was a hard scene to watch as it should have been.
- Thrash and Rue’s families just standing there under the pictures of their children for all to see and crying was just heart wrenching.
- Peeta and Katniss’s speeches were perfect, I felt everything I had felt when I read the book.
- It is because of those feelings and their ability to absorb you in I still felt the shock of the peacekeepers killing the old man even though I knew that was coming.
- I really enjoyed the commentary from Haymitch and Effie as they watched Peeta and Katniss deliver their speeches.
- I have to say I am a bit disappointed the victory tour only showed them giving their speeches at various districts. They did have some fun during the tour; I wish that had been shown. I would have loved to see them running around in the water in District 4.
- I am disappointed that we saw the proposal via video commentary from Ceasar. I would have liked to see them actually perform it.
- I did like how they made sure to have Katniss have her nightmares and ask Peeta to say with her. From that moment on, you would see them sharing a bed, which is such a great aspect of their relationship.
Gale being whipped was horrible to see. Reading that part sucked, but seeing it was something else Katniss jumping in to save him, followed by Haymitch and Peeta was great. Then seeing Katniss’s mom and Prim work together to help him was great. Of course, they added in some extra kissing between Katniss and Gale. Since I am Team Peeta, I just felt that was completely unneeded.
The Announcement and Reaping
The reactions from Katniss, Haymitch, and Peeta were so perfect.
Katniss running off into the woods and then coming back to beg for Peeta’s life, perfect. I appreciate the emotions they had Effie show during this scene. It would make sense for this to be hard for her since she would have gained an attachment to Peeta and Katniss. Everyone knew that Katniss was going back into the arena, there is no other District 12 female winner. Effie looked like she was about to cry reading Katniss’s name, she almost made me cry.
- At first I was a bit upset they only showed the first 5 districts and explained about those victors. I got over it once I officially saw Joanna; I will get to that later. (Side note I am happy they cast someone else as Annie for the next movies I did not like the girl they used for the reaping scene).
- Now the movie did not include Peeta and Katniss training in district 12 before hand. It also did not show they viewing the videos of the past Hunger Games. I am surprisingly alright with that I don’t feel like anything was lost.
- Finnick with coming up to Katniss with the sugar cube, I though that moment was just as good as the book.
- When Katniss pushed, the button for their costumes to flame up was perfect. She really looked like she was going screw you President Snow.
- Joanna, yes she got naked in the elevator. Since that was the first time they decided to show her and have everyone meet her, it was perfect. The faces of Haymitch, Peeta, and Katniss during this scene were priceless. Peeta being just a 17 year old boy about unzipping Joanna’s dress – the death glare Katniss gave him for it. Joanna standing there naked talking to them – Haymitch was the perfect dirty old man, Katniss was so annoyed, Peeta tried to be respectful but he looked.
- Training was interesting; you got to see the viciousness of some of the victors. Katniss spending her time with Beetee, Wiress and Mags, was perfect. They went off the fact that the people watching knew whom Katniss wanted so they only showed her interact with them.
- The scene where Haymitch asks her who she would pick was great because Peeta looked like “Really, my Sugar Cookie.” (Yes, in my world Peeta has baking nicknames for Katniss).
- The wait for the skills test was good because you see the bond between many of the district victors.
- Instead of finding out what Peeta did from Peeta afterwards they had Katniss walk into the room and find his drawing on the floor. The movie makes it look like that might have been part of her motivation. This is different from the book since she did not find out about it until afterwards.
- They do not show the scores this time, I guess they decided that those were not important to the story.
That was done great, Cashmere crying in order to gain sympathy. Finnick’s part to Annie, I will admit I did not believe. Joanna, that was great, she just seemed so over it. Her being so mad about Katniss’s wedding dress was perfect. The wedding dress and the spin into the mockingjay dress was great. If you read the book, you had an idea in your head and it did not disappoint. Peeta’s announcement about the baby, Josh Hutchinson did a great job. His smirk after the announcement was perfect. All the victors holding hands at the end showing a united front was perfect.
This was honestly the best part of the movie – done so perfectly.
- Lets start from the beginning, Cinna getting Katniss ready to go into the arena. I knew what was going to happen, but to see Katniss screaming and banging on the tube while they beat Cinna. I was crying; Cinna was one of my favorite characters. I had held out that he lived until they confirmed his death in the 3rd book.
- I was definitely right there with Katniss as she was freaking out as she headed into the arena.
- The cornucopia – great.
- Peeta and the force field, great emotions from Jennifer Lawrence, if you get a chance see the cast interviews about this scene.
- I really enjoyed the extra scene added in of President Snow’s granddaughter saying how she wants love like Peeta and Katniss.
- The acid fog – the movie did a great job of bringing that to life. The burns were horrible to see.
- The monkeys – they were creepy, creepier then I imagined.
- The jabberjay scene was really emotional – Finnick was believable in his love for Annie here. Watching Katniss scream and having Peeta pressed on the other side of the glass unable to get to her was heart wrenching.
- The attack from Gloss and Cashmere was intense – Wireless death was out of nowhere (I knew it was coming). The spinning conucopia was crazy, everyone doing their best to hold on for dear life. It was even more obvious everyone needs to protect Peeta and Katniss in the movie.
- The final plan – that was amazing, Enobia and Brutus’s attack on the group and Joanna cutting out the tracker out of Katniss’s arm. It was so obvious that Joanna and Finnick were trying to protect Katniss and Peeta. At least it was to me, I think that is because the movie is from the 3rd person point of view instead of just Katniss’s point of view.
- Of course Katniss shooting the force field and it blowing her backwards – wow.
- I enjoyed the part where Katniss is asserting her dominance to Finnick while taking out the machete that she hands to Peeta who takes it while still staring down Finnick.
- There was not bread and cookies sent down to them – letting them know about when they were going to be saved from the arena. Honestly, since Katniss did not understand the meaning of any of that in the book it kinda was not missed in the movie.
- Also no scene with Finnick saving Peeta because he cannot swim, Peeta did not look as useless in the water as he is suppose to be.
Katniss being brought up in the hovercraft was well done. This part is interesting because you see all these horrible ideas that Plutarch had come up with when it came to Katniss and the arena, that you naturally think he is on President Snow’s side. There he is in the hovercraft talking about the rebellion. I think the movie did a great job of throwing the audience off with that. Katniss attacking Haymitch after finding out about Peeta was great, Jennifer Lawrence and Woody Harrison are great together this part made me excited for Mockingjay (those who have read the books will understand). There is a lot of speculation about what Katniss says as she is being drugged – I would to hear what others thought they heard. Katniss waking up and Gale telling her that District 12 was destroyed was amazing. The hurt and rage on Katniss’s face – I have to give it up to Jennifer Lawrence again on great facial expression.
Missing from the movie was the one with the 2 people running away toward District 13. Without that interaction, there was no need to Katniss to check the tapes and notice how they do play the same footage about District 13 every time. I think this will shock the movie audience to know that District 13 exists and to find out about it, since it is never mentioned in the movies. I will admit I did not miss this part at all.
I would have loved to have seen the footage from some of the past Hunger Games and that moment between Peeta and Katniss. There was no cute moment between Peeta and Katniss on the roof of the hotel; I really did like that moment in the book so I was a bit sad to not see it.
Extra scenes; most of them I liked, the ones with President Snow and his granddaughter were great. She helped show how much of an affect Katniss was really having. The scenes with Plutarch and President Snow, I loved – it really helped to emphasis how much Snow hates Katniss. I could have done without all the extra kissing scenes between Gale and Katniss – I am Team Peeta.
Overall, I really liked the movie and to me this was a better adaptation the first one. I think they hit all the key points and things that were left out really did not take away from the story. This time I felt, while they did anticipate that most of the audience read the books this time, instead of leaving things out. This time I felt that they tried to make the audience feel what they felt when they were reading the books. I had read the books and the movie still did a great job of shocking me, it drew me in and made me forget about some of what was about to happen I really enjoyed this movie a great deal more then the first one. I am really happy that Francis Lawrence will be directing the next 2 movies.
I am a film person, as in I have a Master’s Degree in it. I understand adapting a book to script can be hard. Not everything is going to make it in. What makes a great adaptation is that all the important things are put in to the book fans are not left wanting more.
I hope you all enjoyed my review of Catching Fire, please check back for the second part when I compare the differences between the characters in the book and movie.
Until part 2, may the odds ever be in your favor.
Here is a mini treat: Joanna stripping down in the elevator