So I’m pretty sure everyone knows that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire just recently came out in theaters. I went the day it came out to a double feature of Hunger Games and Catching Fire in IMAX. It was great. Now I’ll admit that Catching Fire is my least favorite book in the series. I just really dislike books that cannot stand on their own as a story. It is one thing to need some of the background information from an earlier book, but it really bugs me when a book has no conclusion to its story. Suzanne Collins ends this book with a huge cliffhanger. It actually seems like it is the beginning of something rather than the end. However, I feel like the movie does a great job of bringing the story to life. It stays very true to the book. Obviously there are some things that are left out because they don’t want to movie to go on forever, but overall this was pretty good in terms of an adaptation and much better than the first movies in that regard.
I was disappointed by some of the things that were left out. The story of Haymitch’s experience in the Games is one of those things. This story gives us a look at Haymitch as well as finishes the explanation of where Katniss‘s mockingjay pin comes from. I enjoyed knowing that Haymitch also showed up the Capitol in his Games by using the force field around the arena to help him win. I do realize that the story of the mockingjay pin in the movies is completely different from that in the books, but the story in the books is so great that this is a real disappointment. The pin comes from Madge (the one friend Katniss has other than Gale). She tells Katniss that it belong to her aunt, Maysilee. Maysilee was close friends with Katniss’s mother and was reaped to compete in the 50th Hunger Games (the year that Haymitch wins). Haymitch and Maysilee had an alliance for part of the Games. There is so much more meaning to the importance of the pin when this background is known.
The movie also leaves out a lot of what happens in District 12 prior to the 75th Hunger Games. The wedding dresses, Katniss getting trapped outside the fence, plotting with Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch, the cheese buns, Gale’s mom working for Haymitch. So many important things for setting up the story and the motivations that these people have for doing what they do. Also, the three victors training for the Games. The movie also gives a different reason for Gale being whipped making him seem more heroic rather than just a guy with some turkeys. Plus, it still makes me mad that they don’t have Peeta lose his leg.
What is included in the movie is done very well. I also saw the movie before I reread the books. I think this helped me to appreciate the movie more because I wasn’t nitpicking it right away. All I know is now I’m super excited for Mockingjay and can’t wait for part I to come out next year!
- ‘Catching Fire’: 12 big changes from page to screen (and why almost all of them work) (popwatch.ew.com)
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (ireport.cnn.com)
- 12 best things about ‘Catching Fire’ (and 3 not so great) (themovieclubbers.wordpress.com)
- 9 Moments From “Mockingjay” That Could Be Very Depressing On Film (buzzfeed.com)
- Box Office: ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Lights Up Theaters With $161 Million Domestic (variety.com)