When I saw The Hunger Games movie, I thought it was a good example of how to adapt a novel to film. After watching Catching Fire, I’m convinced the production team knows what they’re doing. It shows that they’re really listening to Suzanne Collins and paying attention to what the core of the fanbase enjoys.
This movie. This movie was amazing. It doesn’t tug at your heartstrings; it punches them repeatedly and leaves you lying on the floor, wondering what just happened and when is the next movie coming out?
We open with Katniss back in her comfort zone in the woods; but things are irrevocably changed. She keeps having flashbacks, she’s about to go on the Victory Tour and see the miserable faces of all those districts that lost children in the Games, and just as she appears to be requiting Gale’s feelings for her, she discovers that she’s pretty much stuck in her relationship with Peeta. President Snow shows himself in all his calm but sinister glory when he visits her in her home, casually mentions her loved ones in that “be a shame if something happened to them” way, and leaves Katniss with the impression that nothing she can do will really help her. She’s firmly under his thumb now.
The Victory Tour was done so well. Katniss and Peeta are supposed to stick to a script, but when they go off script, it only cements the idea of revolution in the minds of the people, and we see all the brutality of a tyrannical government that follows on the heels of the Victory Tour. Katniss is an unwitting symbol of hope to the people. Unfortunately President Snow is not very genre savvy. He is smart enough to know that outright killing Katniss would only create a martyr for the people; but he doesn’t seem to realize that constantly oppressing someone who would commit suicide just to spite him probably isn’t the best idea either. As we see Katniss’ comfortable world crumble around her, we see what she is inside, and we see exactly why Snow is so afraid.
Every image chosen in this movie is perfect. Katniss throwing herself between Gale and the ruthless new enforcer; Peeta painting a picture of Rue to remind the Game Makers of what they’re really doing; the champions linking hands before the Quarter Quell; even crazy Johanna screaming her rage to the sky, knowing Snow will hear. This does such a good job setting up the tension for the eventual war that will result. Needless to say, it is also quite satisfying to see Snow flummoxed at the end.
This movie has whet my appetite for the next one. It’s fantastic, it’s heartwrenching, it will give you SO. MANY. FEELS.