Hollywood does not seem to be slowing down when it comes to adapting Young Adult books to film. The Hunger Games movies are based off of a Young Adult series of books about a strong willed girl who saves ‘the guy’, who is in the definition of distress for most of the last book (split into two movies). Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen brought the entire family to the theatre last year after she won an academy award, for Silver Linings Playbook, she is back for the second of the 4 movie/ 3 book franchise. This year Catching Fire got the biggest November opening and biggest female opening in Hollywood history. Who says movies based on strong female characters can’t bring men to the theatre? She wasn’t in a bikini or short shorts either!
Catching Fire was a testament to the first Hunger Games film, as much as it could be ‘to the book’ it was. The first movie removed some minor characters that had their stories concluded, violently, in the second book. Since the first movie did not introduce those characters the second movie could not finish their stories. However putting that aside the introduction of over 12 new characters 6 of which we should care about more then others, was well done. The newest favorites would have to be Finnick played by Sam Clafin and Johanna played by Jena Malone. The original cast has come back and will be back for the rest of the films, except for those who were tragically killed in the film/book. I still believe the most surprising acting was from Lenny Kravitz who played Cinna, I loved the character in the book and he did him justice in the movies.
Catching Fire was directed by a different director and like the Harry Potter series it is obvious but not detrimental to the story flow or plot. Gary Ross filmed Hunger Games with a lot of hand motion capture, which made you feel like you were in Katniss’s head. Francis Lawrence for Catching Fire decided to not use that method and you feel more disconnected from Katniss however you also realize that her world and her views are broadening as well, so it works for what the character is going through.
I recommend this film for kids from 1 to 99. My father started reading the books after he saw this film, mostly because I couldn’t stop talking about them, but he is enjoying the books a lot. Thankfully the directors and producers did not get into the hype of 3D, though IMAX is nice it is not required. Bathroom breaks would be best during training exercises and the birds event.