I rarely go see films opening weekend. I’m not a huge fan of movie theater crowds. When I watch a movie I want it to be silent with no distractions. Plus I want to be able to weep loudly without bothering others.
But for Catching Fire, I just couldn’t help myself. As a fan of the first movie, I had been pretty much counting down the days until Catching Fire’s premiere. So I purchased a ticket for an odd timed showing (5:40 – too early for date night and many are not home from work yet) and went plenty early to get a good spot (eye level, middle seat). By the time the movie began the theater was pretty full, but luckily everyone was very courteous and quiet.
Now I only really had one issue with the first movie, The Hunger Games. I cannot stand a shaky camera. It completely distracts from the scene. Yes, I understand it is supposed to imply action and blah blah blah. But if the camera is shaking so much that I can’t tell what is going on, I’m just annoyed. The first film had quite a bit of this in the beginning. I think I read somewhere that it was supposed to signify how the books were written (the books are all in first person).
But that was really my only issue with the first movie. I’m not a fan of the books so there may have been some changes that angered others. I thought the first movie was fantastically well done all around.
Catching Fire (c) Lionsgate
And where The Hunger Games left off, Catching Fire blows right past it.
Catching Fire was stunning. The new director for the film, Francis Lawrence, does a fantastic job. Visually the movie is gorgeous. The CGI looks real, scarily so. The acting is once again phenomenal. And I’ve heard the movie is strikingly close to the book (again, as I wasn’t a fan of the book I really don’t know or care about this point).
But I think my favorite part about the movie is the pacing. A lot happens in Catching Fire, but never do you feel that things are rushed or glanced over. First we have the gritty Victory Tour. Then we have the announcement of the Quarter Quell. And as the movie continues throughout the 75th Hunger Games, there is no sense that something was overlooked. Even knowing what was going to happen, I found myself delighted to see lengthy scenes such as the TV spot with Caesar, or Peeta and Katniss’ moments on the train.
There was only one part I did not like in the movie. As always, there are no spoilers in my reviews, but I was not happy with the ending. Not so much of the content but in the manner that it was shot. Maybe that’s just a personal preference but it saddened me after such a fantastic film.
Also, I somehow managed to muffle my constant sobs so I don’t think I bothered those around me.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Overall Score: A+ 100 points
I couldn’t think of an any valid reason not to give this movie 100 points, A+. I also recently saw 12 Years a Slave (which a review will be posted for tomorrow) and I almost feel weird giving them both A+. Both movies are astounding but on so many different levels. Now maybe I’m biased when it comes to Catching Fire. And I’m certainly not saying that they are on completely equal footing. 12 Years a Slave is based off of real stories, real tragedies, real deaths. And Catching Fire is not. If you want to watch a gripping, real account of slavery, then 12 Years a Slave is your movie. If you want to be transported away to another world, a different set of problems, then Catching Fire is your movie.
Now I don’t think you need to rush out this very second to see Catching Fire if you’re not a huge fan of the series. But it is definitely a movie that deserves to be seen on the big screen. And thus begins the countdown for Mockingjay Part 1 – November 2014!
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