‘Catching Fire’ stuns audiences

Jamie Schartz

I don’t think I know anybody who wasn’t excited about “Catching Fire,” the second installment in “The Hunger Games” series. I saw the new flick over thanksgiving break and I have to say it did not disappoint. I’m the first to admit that I’m a nitpicky person. If something isn’t exactly right, it’s not right at all, so for me to say this film was well done is a pretty big deal.

“Catching Fire” is the second chapter in the story of Katniss Everdeen, the newest victor of District 12. What is District 12 you ask? Essentially New England. Katniss lives in Panem, a futuristic, dystopian society that formed after a huge war destroyed America. In order to prevent another war of that magnitude, the leaders of Panem have established The Hunger Games. Each of the 12 districts sends two tributes, a boy and a girl, to the Capitol. From there, the tributes are sent to an arena in which they fight to the death for the entertainment of the

Capitol. The last tribute standing wins the Games. Normally once a tribute has been crowned victor, they get to live a life of luxury as a celebrity. They no longer need to work or go to school, and they are guaranteed never to go back to the Arena. Every 25 years there is a special round of games to make things more interesting, known as the Quarter Quell. Catching Fire takes place during the third Quell. To make this one special, “…as a reminder to the rebels that even the strongest among them cannon overcome the power of the Capitol, the male and female tributes will be reaped from their existing pool of victors.” Katniss is the only female victor District 12 has to offer.


–There are four main points that I didn’t like about the movie, but three are forgivable.

The first is a bit opinionated, but several people have agreed with me. Sam Claflin is not attractive enough to play finnick odair. Finnick is described as “tall, athletic, with golden skin and bronze-colored hair and those incredible [sea green] eyes.” Physically they struck gold with Claflin, but honestly I didn’t think he was that cute. But maybe that’s just me being nitpicky. On the other hand maybe I must think like Katniss because she does say, “I can honestly say he’s never been attractive to me. Maybe he’s too pretty, or maybe he’s too easy to get, or maybe it’s really that he’d just be too easy to lose.” Honestly I think Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) and Liam Hemsworth (Gale) are both more attractive than Claflin.

The second is that there was no mention of Katniss’ theory of District 13, which she based on stories told to her by Twill and Bonnie. However, I can understand why they cut this it would take a lot of time to fully play out that part of the book. I do wish that there were some mention of District 13 before the last two minutes of the movie. Also, the bread that the girls in the woods have is another indicator to Katniss of how much power she actually has, so it would have been neat to work that in a little more. Maybe they’ll show it in flashback in Mockingjay.

The third is that the time Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch spend training in District 12 prior to the games is not shown. I’m sure this was cut for time’s sake and it was obviously much more important to show the time they spent training in the Capitol, as that had more of an impact on the overall story.

The only part (really it’s more of an item) that I find unforgivable for leaving out is Plutarch Heavensbee’s Mockingjay pocket watch. In the book, during the President’s Ball on the Victory Tour, he takes it out, shows it to Katniss, and says, “It starts at midnight.” While this seems inconsequential, it actually helps Katniss figure out that the Arena is in fact a giant clock, and later decide to trust Plutarch when they’re in District 13.

I promise it’s actually a really good movie. Like I said, I’m a really nitpicky person so something as simple as a dress being the wrong color can throw me over the edge. The same cast from “The Hunger Games” returns in the sequel. Most of the lines were straight out of the book. The overall feeling of the movie is very similar to its prequel. The costume design was as brilliant as the first movie. Katniss’ wedding dress is extravagant and when it burns away to reveal the Mockingjay dress it actually appears to be on fire, as does Katniss’ and Peeta’s costume on the first night in the Capitol. I don’t pretend to know what special effects they used to show it, but it’s really neat to watch. District 12 is as gloomy as it was in the first movie, and when Romulus Thread takes over as Head Peacekeeper it becomes down right scary. The Arena is a humid, tropical jungle, just as in the book. It was clear that the special effects team took great pains to make it obvious the characters were suffering from dehydration. Johanna Mason, tribute from District 7, became an instant favorite for her general kick ass attitude. —

Overall I would give this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was really well made, and for a two and a half hour movie, there’s never a dull moment. The performances were all brilliant, and the audience can literally feel every heartbreak and triumph. My minor complaint, besides the ones listed above, is that Jennifer Lawrence’s performance is a little bit dry at the beginning. By the end though, she’s not even Jennifer. She’s Katniss.

I highly recommend this movie for anybody who was a fan of the first movie. If you want to see this “Catching Fire” but you haven’t seen “The Hunger Games,” watch “The Hunger Games” first. It’s on Netflix, so you don’t need to spend any money renting it. Because “Catching Fire” literally picks up where “The Hunger Games” left off, there’s a lot of backstory that is confusing if you haven’t seen them in order.