[Movie Review] The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Grabbed the movie buddies (which seems to be mainly Eddy and Kelvin recently) to watch Catching Fire with me today. I really liked the first movie caused it was rather close to the book! But the second movie? Not sure much.

Spoilers alert! Zoom right to the bottom if you just want to know if the show is worth catching (:

How big of a fan of the book am I? 

I think this question is always important when watching movies that originated from a book like Twilight and Harry Potter. I guess you can say I am a rather huge fan of the book! I was pestering my then-colleagues to read the book cos I was so impressed. I spent the last morning in Seoul reading the last book.

But I will never spend money to buy the merchandise or whatsoever.

Now that that’s established…

My gripes with this 2nd movie is that it spends too much on unimportant stuff and skip/fast forward some of the emotional and relationship stuff.

Like how they make Prim appear way too mature. Katniss only discovered that Prim has grown up and didn’t need her protection only in Book 3. In Book 2, Prim was still very much the little sister that you want to protect. You can tell that she’s growing up in the book. But in the movie, it’s just BOOM. THERE! She’s all grown up *facepalm*

Then there’s the relationship between Katniss and Gale. The movie didn’t even mention how Gale is now Katniss’ cousin as a cover up. In the movie, there’s no preamble as to why Gale is so mad with Katniss. Yes, he’s mad that Katniss and Peeta had to pull a lover’s act. But that didn’t warrant the degree of anger that Gale exuded in the movie. AND! The kiss between Gale and Katniss. The one where he said, “I just have to do this once.”? No atmosphere at all. It’s just a kiss *gags* Oh yeah. They keep making the both of them. To be really Singlish here…Got thing also kiss, no thing also kiss. Like what?

Now, the relationship between Katniss and Peeta. I tell you. Wah. Disappointed. You know all the turmoil that Katniss felt about Peeta? You don’t see any of that. So it’s almost as if Katniss purely felt like she owe it to Peeta to save him from the Quarter Quell. Not because she also love him. Just that little bit. And their interaction in the train and in the lift + how Peeta calms Katniss down? Not shown in the movie. BLEH.

The victory tour. It’s simple straight forward. District 11, Katniss said something then an old man raised the 3-fold salute before the crowd followed suit. Then Katniss and Peeta accidentally saw the old man being shot by the Peacemaker. Simple yes? No! They have to screw it up. Peacemaker immediately captured the old man and Katniss and Peeta saw everything. Plus, Peeta was shocked. HE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE! He should be solemn! He should be the one pushing the peacemakers aside and bringing Katniss into the safety of the building. DENG!

Haymitch. They make him too sober, too much like a normal human being. He is supposed to be a drunk, a jerk who was hurt. The audience is supposed to think of him as a useless bum and feel a little in awe when they realised that he has been planning the uprising all along.

Flogging of Gale. It’s just a mess. Gale was awake in the movie when Katniss arrived. Katniss was slapped by the new Head Peacemaker, not whipped. She even told the Head Peacemaker to shoot her (what?!). She was not even crying, no tears of anger. When Haymitch came to rescue her, he didn’t act like a jerk by saying, “Oh, fantastic. She’s got a photo shoot next week. What am I supposed to tell her stylist?”. Instead, he reasoned it out with the Head Peacemaker -.- And when Peeta appeared, he was calmed. The all important sentence for that scene in the book didn’t appear. HOW CAN! Peeta was supposed to say, “..if you want to get to him, expect to go through both of us.” That’s the moment when you realised that Peeta loves Katniss unconditionally. BAD!

Plutarch. There’s absolutely no shock when he appears at the end of movie and the audience realised that he was part of the uprising. Throughout the movie, whenever Snow suggested killing Katniss (much more than in the books and really unnecessary), Pultarch will come up with ways to deter him. Honestly? And Pultarch didn’t show Katniss the watch to give her the hint about the arena. But, they did have the scene with them dancing. No idea what the point of that is really. Since the entire point of the dance was to show her the watch. Really, directors? REALLY?! Oh and…the movie said that the idea for Quarter Quell came from him. Like what?!

Saving point. It was a good thing they left the Game itself largely unaltered. It was the only part of the movie that is the closest to the book *phew*

I thought they will skip the victory tour and start with Katniss in the forest after she was back. Have a flashback of the unrest in District 11 and District 8. Then continue the story from there. Have Katniss have another flashback of Plutarch showing her the watch when she figured out what Nuts was saying. But guess not.

*end of spoilers*

If you’ve read the book, go in with an open mind. With the mindset you used when you go watch a Harry Potter movie.

If you plan to re-read/read the book before the movie, DON’T! Watch the show first THEN read the book. Trust me. It’s going to be a win-win situation.

If you have not read the book, it’s going to be an awesome movie for you. Eddy said it was quite nice and he didn’t read the book. So yups!

In summary, I think the script-writers and the directors did a poor job in grasping the gist of the book, especially the development of the characters and their relationships with each other. However, they did a good job with the arena.

Rating: 3 popcorns out of 5