Last year, I read Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games Trilogy and my favorite book was the second in the series, Catching Fire. I enjoyed all of the books, but Catching Fire stood out as the most surprising, most emotional and most action-packed. I couldn't put it down. Naturally, I had to see the movie version of the book.
The movie adaptation of Catching Fire did not disappoint. Maybe it's because I read the book so long ago, but I really couldn't see essential parts that were omitted or changed from the original story. I felt like it was true to the source material, a rare quality in an adaptation. Book lovers tend to be a pretty tough audience!
Not only was the story true, but the sets and costumes are just as I imagined them, if not better. Katniss' wedding/Mocking Jay dress couldn't have been more gorgeous or perfect. I loved all of the lavish sequences in the capitol, especially the gala at President Snow's mansion. Even though the film clearly utilizes CG for many of the effects, it's not over-done or fake looking (I'm thinking of you, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland).
The best reason to see Catching Fire is the cast, in particular Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence has undeniable star-quality. Seriously, she could be filmed reading the Yellow Pages and it would be entertaining. I can't imagine anyone else in the role of Katniss. I will even own up to having shed a few tears during the Tribute Tour scenes. The material is emotional, but Lawrence's performance is really what makes it so compelling. I really loved the additions of Jena Malone as Johanna and Sam Clafin as Finnick. As with the costumes and sets, everyone cast in the roles is just as I imagined it when reading the story. Dead on.
You definitely need to have seen the first film or read the books to understand this movie. It does not stand alone. I was a bit miffed to read that the third book is being split into two films. The first two movies were so good, that I trust that the film makers know what their doing and that it's simply not a ploy to drag it out and make more money. That would be a let-down. I just don't think that I can wait until 2015 to see how the final book plays out.
Catching Fire was fantastic. It's definitely one to watch on the big screen.