Films for the Readers – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – 2013 – dir. Francis Lawrence

★★★★/★★★★

I will admit that I have yet to find an easy way to write reviews for movies I unabashedly love. I hate just listing out the things I loved about the film so here I will give a short review of a movie that I can’t stop gushing about.

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It was only while listening to Sound on Sight’s podcast about Catching Fire that I understood how important it is to have loved the books when going to see the film. While watching Catching Fire I was singularly blown away. Every part of the film made me happy because not only was it faithful to the book, every bit of faithful adaptation was done so incredibly well from a cinematic standpoint. Jennifer Lawrence is sinking more and more into the role of Katniss and continues to prove her star power. Early in the film she stands toe to toe with Donald Sutherland and holds her ground with a gravitas not often found in actors that young (23).

They take the victory tour which encompasses half the novel and compress it without losing its narrative effect. They bring all the relevant characters in with a continuation of the great casting from the first film. The entire cast develops a humanity that was missing in the high concept angle of the first film. The hunger games, as they were, were a perfect adaptation from the novel and utilized computer and practical effects excellently, showing both how real it felt to the characters despite knowing how constructed they were narratively.

The film will definitely be placing in my top ten of the year (right now it is in the top five) and if I decided the oscars I would give a nomination to Woody Harrelson an nomination for best supporting actor along with a slew of technical award nominations. It’s an amazing film, but much of that relies on how the film relates to the novel and meets the expectations that book readers have. 

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