I really enjoyed The Hunger Games. But even though I haven’t read any of the books, there was still this sort of murky lack of tension in the first movie, because the whole conflict is about the actual Hunger Games, and we know Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is going to survive. By the time I saw it, I also knew that Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) was going to survive because Josh Hutcherson was showing up in the Catching Fire promos. That didn’t make the movie less interesting, because learning about their world and the Hunger Games and how they make it out was interesting enough. But once that first story is out of the way, the real craziness can begin with Catching Fire.
Catching Fire is so great because it takes the world you learned about in The Hunger Games and goes deeper, turns it around a little bit, lets you see more of it. We learn about the Victors’ Tour, we meet past victors, and see how easily the government can change the rules of the game based on their own agenda. The tension from the people is also more palpable here; in the first movie there was obvious unrest among the citizens, but by the time Katniss and Peeta go back into the arena, people are pissed and something is obviously about to happen.
Catching Fire is also much scarier to me than The Hunger Games was, despite there being less death. We really see the military/government in full force, and how little people mean to them. They’re very Nazi-like, not so much in how they look or operate, but just in how untouchable they are. One scene in particular really got to me: when Cinna (Lenny Kravitz, whom I still can’t get over is in these movies) walks Katniss to her little pod thing that will take her up by herself into the arena. They have a sweet moment, where Katniss is really just terrified to go back and Cinna reassures her. As soon as Katniss steps into the pod and the door closes behind her, troops come in and beat Cinna in front of her. They’re still beating him up as her pod lifts her out, and there’s nothing she can do about it, and it’s super scary.
Catching Fire makes me really excited to see the third movie.
Easily my favorite of the books and so far the same goes for the movie. Although I hate that Finnick Odair was not more of a character, or that they didn’t talk about him more in the movie. He was the best part about the second book!