“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” Blazes Through Theaters

Timmy Jones and Zion Douglass

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire pleased audiences all over the globe and quickly soared past its predecessor, The Hunger Games. Penned by Slumdog Millionaire writer Simon Beaufoy, Catching Fire provides an effective and compelling movie adaptation. The movie, directed by Francis Lawrence, cinematically provides a more electric experience that leaves audience members breath-taken by the end.

The second novel in The Hunger Games trilogy,Catching Fire fared well in reviews when it was originally released. Some called it the best novel in the series, while others called it an awkward sequel that fell short of the standard set in the first Hunger Games novel.

Regardless of the quality of the source material, Catching Fire is a strikingly accurate resemblance to the original story. Quotes from the novel are spoken verbatim in the movie, and many scenes have been pulled directly out of the novel. Although some parts of the book were left out, the content they contained were added back into the story in a different way, something expected from any good book-to-movie adaptation. Think about it, the entire Hunger Games trilogy is told from Katniss’ point of view only, something that can’t be transferred to screen. Of course, there were a few scenes cut out, most notably Haymitch’s performance in the 2nd Quarter Quell.

Catching Fire had more action than its predecessor, and you begin to see a more complex and intricate plot unfold. For example, when Katniss sits on top of a tall tree and looks out to the Cornucopia, the beautiful scenery takes over the IMAX screen, and you see how the arena forms into the shape of a clock with different dramatic events happening every hour. The first events the contestants face, including blood rain, poison fog, and deadly monkeys, add another layer of tension to the story when depicted in film.

The movies special effects were limited, but when used, they gave the film a depth that lacked in the first movie. For instance, in The Hunger Games, main characters Katniss and Peeta are on fire during the tribute parade. The special effects of this scene were non-realistic and far from pleasing. The fire was lacking in color and looked more like the image of fire layered on top of their costumes. In Catching Fire, however, when a similar scene occurs, the costumes of Katniss and Peeta are again on fire, and the flames seem to truly be a part of their clothing. This is of no great surprise, since the budget for this sequel was larger than that of the original film.

And, in this adventure film, we can’t forget the acting. Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence pours her heart out into this installment. Catching Fire allowed main characters Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson to show their characters in a vulnerable, post-traumatic state. Newcomers to this installment are high-regarded actors who deliver spot-on performances. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin, and Jena Malone all provide strong roles that carry on in Mockingjay (Parts 1 and 2).

Knocking The Twilight Saga: New Moon out of place, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is now the highest-grossing movie ever for November, making $161.1 million in its opening weekend, millions from pre-sale purchases alone.