Catching Fire Review


Emily Kasarda, Staff Reporter

November 21st marked the day when super fans gathered at movie theaters everywhere for the premiere of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” the sequel to the well-known film “The Hunger Games” which debuted in March of last year. “Catching Fire” has exceeded expectations of fans who have read the series. With its captivating costumes, mesmerizing special effects, and gripping action, the audience is kept on the edge of their seats during the entire movie.

The first film was directed by Gary Ross and was a large hit with teens and young adults, but many moviegoers claim that the sequel has outshined the first.

“I liked ‘Catching Fire’ better because it had more on the rebellion and it was very similar to how I pictured it when I read the book,” sophomore Amanda Andreucci said.

“The Hunger Games” brought in $218 million globally in its opening weekend, while “Catching Fire” racked up an impressive total of $307 million worldwide. In the United States alone, it made a total of $161 million in one weekend.

What made “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” more attractive than the first film? For starters, the new director, Francis Lawrence, added a whole new feeling to the movie through viewpoints and lighting.

Lawrence avoided shaky camera movement and got closer to the action instead. With extreme close-ups, he was able to vividly capture every aspect of the actors’ expressions and create a more emotional image for the audience. With the novel being written in Katniss’s point of view, this allowed for the film to have a personal feel.

There are very few scenes that do not include direct quotes from the novel itself. In fact, there are many parts where the dialogue in the movie is exactly as it was written in the book. As for the events of the movie, hardly anything was changed from the novel. There are a few things taken out, but that is inevitable when trying to fit everything into a doable movie length.

As for casting, the choices could not have been more perfect. Each cast member portrays the looks and personality of his or her character just as imagined in the novel. In addition to the talented returning cast, multiple talents are introduced to portray the new characters introduced in the second installment.

Jena Malone leaves an impression on the audience through her portrayal of Johanna Mason, a spunky victor with an outspoken and aggressive personality. Her co-star Sam Claflin, an English actor that takes up an American accent for the film, also puts on a memorable performance by bringing the needed charisma for the intriguing part of Finnick Odair.

As she did in the first film, Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen) is able to manipulate the audience’s emotions with her talent. Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark) and Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne) both prove they are gifted actors by becoming the characters from the novel. Woody Harrelson again tackles his character of mentor Haymitch Abernathy with great skill, as does Elizabeth Banks as the dazzling and extravagant Effie Trinket.

“I thought is was phenomenal and it exceeded my expectations,” senior Bridgette Serrecchia said on the night of the premiere.

Despite its two hour and 26 minute run time, the film seems to end in a matter of minutes. Captivating the audience throughout the entire two and a half hours, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” ends with the audience still wanting more.

Viewers will be thankful they only have to wait a year until “Mockingjay,” the third film in the series, will be released to theaters.