Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The anticipated second installment in the ever popular Hunger Games trilogy is HERE. And it’s better than ever.

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The movie picks up right where the last left off; Katniss feeling out of sorts with Peeta and Gale and life outside the Hunger Games. She thinks now that she’s done her part, won, and back home things will get back to normal. But nothing is normal in this world. Nothing. And after the spectacle she made with Peeta, President Snow wants to exact some punishment on a girl the districts see as image of a revolution.

I am continuously impressed with how the creators of this movie took Suzanne Collins much loved trilogy and turned it into a believable, albeit horribly depressing, world. District 12 is bleak and exactly how I pictured it. Same with the remaining districts and the capitol. The costume and makeup design is superb.

But what I loved the most was the character development. There were a lot of naysayers when Jennifer Lawrence was picked as Katniss. If she didn’t win you over in the first movie, she will in Catching Fire. Listen, her character is supposed to be in turns likable and not. Katniss has this hardened, standoffish aura about her. And being back from the Hunger Games has only served to confuse her more. Her and Peeta publicly announced their love. And if she thought that being back home meant forgetting all that, she was wrong. So not only does she have to deal with Peeta, but Gale as well…and President Snow himself.

Effie was a standout, again, with her overwhelming everything. But it wasn’t just that. More importantly than the random mahogany comment (that only I seemed to find funny, whatever) in this movie, you see a shift in Effie’s attitude towards her victors and the Hunger Games themselves. Always coming across as vapid and self indulgent, Effie broke my heart on more than one occasion.

I was always a Peeta girl, ever since the books. The movie does a good job of showing his genuine love for Katniss and endearing him to the audience with his selfless desire to keep her alive. There’s a beach scene which is very touching (and a bit romantic) which had me sniffling.

In fact, most of this movie had me blinking rapidly to keep from crying. Within the first fifteen minutes or so I started crying. I even leaned over to my husband to whisper I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE CRYING THIS SOON IN A MOVIE (unless it’s STXI and then of course I am.).

Even the secondary characters were fabulous. I fell in love with them all. I wish there had been more time to get to know them, but movies allow for only so much time. And I thought that their story lines were handled well.

One of my favorite parts was how the Resistance was shown bit by bit, snippets of an uprising that, while small, were no less powerful for the attention given. Even if you haven’t read the books, this movie pushes along the story in a way that’s easy to follow.

From laughter to tears, romance to jumping out of your seat moments, Catching Fire has it all. It made me want to go back and immediately read the series again, just so I can keep reliving the moments that initially had me staying up until all hours of the night just to find out what happens next.

If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend going to see it. And then come back here and tell me all your favorite parts!

-Stephanie

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