Movie Review: Catching Fire

Published on November 25, 2013

For me, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the most anticipated movie of 2013. I know you would hate me with this, but Despicable Me 2 and Iron Man 3 only come in second and third place respectively. I could still remember how excited I was when the first trailer of Catching Fire came out. I felt more agitated as they release new pictures and teasers. I was literally trying to make November come faster.

When news came out that the movie adaptation of Mockingjay will be shown in two parts, I was more convinced that Catching Fire should be the one that needs to be split into two. A lot of things happened in the second installment so I was thinking that it would be hard to compress everything in a movie. Catching Fire is my favorite among the book series. Was the movie version able to deliver? Yes! Has it surpassed my very high expectations? Yes! Did I like it better that the first movie? Yes!

Catching-Fire_posterImage taken from here

I know that one should not compare the book and the movie. But that is inevitable. In this case, the movie did justice to such an overwhelming book. I like that it didn't deviate from the book. Although there are some trivial things that were not shown (i.e. how Haymitch won the Hunger Games and how Plutarch sort of gave Katniss a clue about the Quarter Quell on their first meeting), these did not affect the outcome of the story. Those who have not read the book wouldn't be lost in putting the pieces together.

Catching Fire is a very dark book. And I was just amazed that Francis Lawrence was able to capture that darkness. Aside from that, the movie version was able to affect me the same way the book did. I cried (Oh yes, I did! :p) on the same parts of the book that made me cry even if I already knew what was going to happen - when Katniss delivered the speech in District 11, the last time Katniss saw Cinna before the Quarter Quell, and what Mags did to save Katniss, Peeta and Finnick.

I love Jennifer Lawrence. Her acting is way better in Catching Fire than in Hunger Games. I loved how she managed to convince the audience of her confusion and vulnerability. She was able to effortlessly show her raging fierceness and her gentle side. I just can’t think of any Hollywood actress who can portray Katniss Everdeen. JLaw is officially my newest girl crush! Hihi! Shet naman kasi! Kahit hysterical na siya ang ganda pa rin! :p

I was not impressed with Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) on the first film. But he dramatically improved in Catching Fire! He was so good in showing his supposed weaknesses and her fervent desire to protect Katniss. He has become more adorable and more knight-in-shining-armor-ish in this film. Apologies to Liam Hemsworth fans, pero kinain ng buong buo ni Peeta si Gale.

The entire supporting cast also did an amazing job. Lenny Kravitz as Cinna broke my heart. Lynn Cohen who plays Mags made me choke as I was fighting my tears when she decided to face the fog. Even the alcoholic Haymitch and the annoying Effie did great. I love Jena Malone (Johanna) who I first saw in the movie Step Mom alongside Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon! She was very convincing in portraying a bitchy yet scarred victor. But my favorite is Finnick Odair! Finnick is my favorite character in Catching Fire. So when the first poster of Finnick was released earlier this year, I doubted if he could deliver. First, I thought he wasn’t hot enough. But I was wrong! I am taking my words back!!! Hahaha! Playing the role of the most attractive victor is simply hard. He had to live up to how the readers see him in their imagination. Sam Claflin did so well in playing the arrogant yet charming Finnick Odair. I am pretty sure that he’ll break my heart once again the same way he did in Mockingjay when the last installment comes out. =(

Catching Fire is engaging. Pacing was also good. Even if I have already read the book, I was still on the edge of my seat all throughout the film. Suffice to say, this is more detailed than the first film.

P.S. To those who are complaining that the film is bitin, yes, the cliffhanger is supposed to be that way!

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