I think it was about halfway through Catching Fire when I thought to myself, “Wow, this film is so perfect, why couldn’t the Harry Potter films been this good?” While Harry Potter will be my forever and always, I thought CF was such a well done adaption. It just got everything SO RIGHT. It is one thing to adapt a book into a film; it is quite another to adapt a book that has become a fandom. I will forever be indebted to Francis Lawrence, the man who helped direct what I believe to be one of the best (fandom) book to movie translations I have yet to see. (Yes I liked it THAT much. Also, I just really hate what the HP movies did to Ginny.)
First of all, the cast is absolutely perfect. Jennifer Lawrence is the World’s Most Likable Celebrity and yet Katniss is not always the most likable person. Which means J. Law is a great actress (duh). She can be unlikable and surly and yet still tough and brilliant and awesome. Josh Hutcherson is also the embodiment of Peeta. He’s so wounded, but also so brave and selfless and just a Good Person. In the books I was torn between Peeta and Gale, but in the films I am solidly 125% team Peeta. Liam Hemsworth I am sorry to say is just so bland and really does nothing for me. I did like that we did get to see a bit more of his relationship with Katniss in this film, but I didn’t really care. I just kept thinking, “Where’s Peeta?” Especially in the beginning. I think the whole film did a really good job of showing how Katniss and Peeta’s relationship slowly evolves. You almost don’t even notice it, but it’s there. The tension of the scene right after Peeta gets electrocuted was especially powerful, I also really like the look Finnick gives Mags because it’s was like he’s realizing for the first time that the whole thing may not be fake after all.
The additions to the cast of Jena Malone as Johanna Mason and Sam Claftin as Finnick Odair were equally perfect because even having read the books I still felt like I couldn’t trust them. It was interesting to see their relationships build throughout the film with the characters we already knew and love. Also, Stanley Tucci stole every single scene he was in and I have never liked a supporting character more than I like Cinna. (I started crying before That Scene even happened because I knew it was coming.) Also also, kudos Philip Seymour Hoffman for being just the right amount of shady.
I cried a lot more than I thought I would in general throughout the film. (Don’t even get me started about District 11.) Usually it was sparked by having a memory of the book which I was surprised I remembered so much of having read it so long ago. It was a lot sadder and darker than I expected, but also perfectly balanced with light, super funny (mostly Stanley Tucci) moments.
The film was so much about the characters lives post-Games and me hating President Snow slash trying to remember what happens in Book 3 that I almost forgot about the Quarter Quell and then I thought “Omg we still have a lot of movie to go, we haven’t even seen the new arena yet.” Both the Victory Tour and the Games Part 2 section of the film were just the right length and I think Lawrence did a really good job with the pacing and moving the story along since he had a lot of material to work with. We get to see the other districts, the dinner party at the capital, the growing revolution AND still have an entire awesome Games segment that plays out like the world’s best episode of Survivor.
For most of the film the thing I was looking forward to most was the ending, as bad as that sounds, because I wanted to see how it would be done. I honestly feel like they went in my head, took what was in there and put in on the screen because it was perfect. The way J. Law starts yelling at Haymitch and hitting him was so heart wrenching, especially if you’ve read the books and you know what happens next (and next next). You see all her worst nightmare’s coming true in those few ending moments and how she really feels she can’t trust anyone because even those closest to her let her down.
Basically I just can’t wait until Mockingjay and I am so happy Lawrence is coming back to direct. I am also very interested to see where they will cut part one because that’s always an interesting decision.
- I really wish I bloggged right after watching the movie because I had so much more to say and I feel like I lost it all (curse having a job and no wifi at home)