Catching Fire: The film smoulders, but never burns

Warning: This post contains spoilers. The book’s been out since 2009, it’s past the spoiler expiration and if you really don’t want to know, stop reading. Go get a coffee and come back when you’ve seen the movie. I’d love to hear what you think.

 

Panem. A dystopian vision of America’s future, where the rich get richer and poor are on the edge of revolution, ready to reclaim Catching-Fire-catching-fire-movie-33836550-1280-673their freedom from the oppressive Capitol. In the sequel to 2012’s “The Hunger Games”, director Francis Lawrence attempts to take us on a journey through the beginnings of Panem’s revolution. Unfortunately, if feels as if the nuance and tension of the book were left on the cutting room floor.

The movie seems to be on constant fast forward, rushing us through the first half in order to get to the arena. Much of the action in District 12 is left out, including a pivotal scene where Katniss meets two escapees from District 8, on their way to the (supposedly) destroyed District 13 for refuge. What I love about Collin’s original story is that it isn’t afraid to tackle tough psychological issues- the movie feels as if it was dumbed down for the audience, glossing over much of the political drama in favor of the action sequences.

I understand that somethings have to be glossed over for time-management purposes, but I have never been a fan of the way the movies have left out important side characters- Madge, Mayor Undersee, Katniss’s Re-Make team, the red headed Avox, Darius and Cray, and now the girls from 8. While these characters may be expendable from the main storyline, they inject an important humanity in to the story. Losing these characters means losing the varied dimensions of humanity that Collins expertly crafts in the trilogy.

However, the acting is superb and the visuals are gorgeous. (Definitely worht the IMAX price if you’re in to that.) I’m also a fan of showing background action that Katniss imagines is going on in the books (the Gamemakers’ control room, Snow discussing her fate throughout the film, and showing Snow’s relationship with his granddaughter, setting us up for the finale.) Catching Fire is a entertaining ride, if not as deep as it should have been. I give it a solid B.

Sidenote: The marketing strategy for this movie was genius. The irony of it all makes me a happy geek. Check it out here.

 

Photo Credit: ScienceFiction.com

One Response to “Catching Fire: The film smoulders, but never burns”
  1. Ebs says:

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