The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) Review

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Directed by Francis Lawrence

Based on: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Jennifer Lawrence
Josh Hutcherson
Liam Hemsworth
Woody Harrelson
Elizabeth Banks
Lenny Kravitz
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Jeffrey Wright
Stanley Tucci
Donald Sutherland

Running time: 146 minutes

Plot synopsis:
After their victory in the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark have become symbols of hope to those in the Districts of Panem. President Snow will do whatever it takes to make sure that this hope doesn’t lead to a rebellion.

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My Opinion:

I read the Hunger Games books and loooooved them (Well, loved the first two at least…). So I was very excited to see the films. I thought the first one was a very good adaptation and feel the same way about Catching Fire. I know they can never put absolutely everything from a book in the movie as there’s just not enough time – As long as no major changes are made, I’m happy. It’s been a while since I’ve read these but, from what I remember, Catching Fire is extremely faithful to the book so that should keep the fans happy.

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I’d actually be more interested to know what people who haven’t read the books think of these films. I often try to read the book before the movie and all that but it does take a little fun out of the movie for me. I just like to be surprised & like not knowing what’s going to happen. I always enjoy seeing the movie bring a book “to life” but… I have no idea what point I’m trying to make here! Just that, you know – I knew what was going to happen every step of the way.

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However, both of these films have done a great job creating the overall look of this world and especially bringing these characters to the screen. I really can’t fault ANY of the casting. Jennifer Lawrence is absolutely perfect as Katniss Everdeen. She’s totally what I’d pictured while reading the books and she does an excellent job in these films (well, she IS an Oscar winner, you know). For a young adult series, it’s a very dark story and she does all the serious & emotional stuff brilliantly. I can’t really imagine anyone else in the role. And I think with these young adult adaptations, the actors don’t always take the material as seriously & it sometimes feels like the big name actors are only there for the paycheck & are giving a half-assed performance. I don’t feel this way with the Hunger Games films, though. Everyone seems to be giving their all.

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Woody Harrelson – Also perfect. He’s a great Haymitch and one of the biggest highlights of these films. I also love Lenny Kravitz as Cinna. Even though he’s not what I’d pictured from the books, he’s also one of the best characters in the films (for me). I also loved seeing Effie having a bit more depth in this one (and, again, I think Elizabeth Banks does this role very well).

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Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Amanda Plummer, Jena Malone – All good! Liam Hemsworth & Josh Hutcherson are both fine as Gale & Peeta but are the only ones that aren’t *quite* right for me (especially Hutcherson). However, both have grown on me & I fully see them as those characters now after this second film. I’d love to see Primrose get a lot more screen time – I feel that the audience barely knows her if they’ve not read the books. Also not 100% sure on Finnick or Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch – Hoffman was good but kind of just seemed his usual self.

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I know I’ve not said anything about the story as, well, I know the whole story from the books. I loved the books – the story was really intense and I couldn’t read them quick enough. Luckily, the films are the same way – they’ve been very faithful adaptations so far and I don’t think fans of the books can have any major complaints. The world looks great and, more importantly, the casting has been perfect. I really can’t complain about any of the actors at all but the ones they especially got right were Haymitch and, luckily, Katniss. If they’d gotten the wrong actress for Katniss, I don’t think these films would be quite as successful. Catching Fire is just as good as the first film (although you really can’t top the first film just as you can’t top the first book in the trilogy). If you haven’t read the books but liked the first film, you’ll definitely like Catching Fire and you’ll get a lot more character development than you did in the first film.

It’s going to be VERY interesting to see what they do with that final book…

My Rating: 8/10

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50 thoughts on “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) Review

      • They are both equally bland and terrible, especially when The Hunger Games gets into its repetitive sequels. If these authors came out and just admitted, “Hey, this was a total cash grab and you guys bought it,” I’d respect that.

      • I read the first Twilight at the behest of my assistant. When I told her nothing happened until page 373, she said “It gets good during the third book.” Then I told her to get me a coffee, and she knew she was in trouble, because I don’t drink coffee.

        I read all three Hunger Games. The first was okay, hardly worth a shred of the hype around it. The second was fucking awful, a complete waste of time that rehashed the entirety of the first with different characters. The third was different from the first two but offered no unique take on ANYTHING, which is, in its own way, incredibly impressive when you’re telling a story in some post-apocalyptic future where your imagination is the upper limit.

        I felt obligated to read the third the same way I felt obligated to watch that last Lord of the Rings movie. I was dissatisfied with everything preceding it, but I made it that far.

  1. Yayyy Catching Fire!! Glad you liked it, too!! I agree–Hutcherson’s probably my least favorite casting choice. Still, I blame the character/script more than I blame him. But everyone else is great. And your review is great, too!! 🙂

  2. Primrose. I wish she’d get more screen time, too. But that was also true of the novels. She might be Collins’ weakest character.

    And yeah. We’ll see what happens with the third movie. It’s going to be harder to remain true to the novels and still make a quality film.

  3. Great review. It is going to be very interesting to see what they do with the third one because the book was just a bit of a disaster compared to the first two.

  4. The movie for the 3rd book could be tough…that was my least favorite book of all. Seemed a bit more dull and less exciting than the first 2. So excited to see this one!

  5. Great write-up Mutant!!!! Loved, loved, loved, loved this. Haven’t read the books but I think I will just so I can spend some more time immersed in this world. I sound like a little dorky high school girl right now but these are particularly inspired stories.

  6. Nice review. I still haven’t seen this and have read so much praise I am now utterly 100% convinced I’m going to be disappointed!

  7. Great review! I am someone who has not read the books, but very much enjoyed the movie. I avoid the trailers and everything. Hell, I went into the second one not even knowing they featured the Games at all! I really appreciate the pacing of these movies. It’s turning out to be a solid series. Can’t wait for the third.

    • Thanks. 🙂 Yeah – I was curious what those who’ve not read the books would think of the films. The books are, naturally, better but I know I’d enjoy the films more if I hadn’t already read the books. Glad you’re enjoying them. 🙂

  8. Good Review 😀

    It was a great film, really liked it a lot. Thought it was a fantastic improvement over the first, and I cannot wait for the next one, especially after that ending 😀

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