I can’t tell you how much I appreciate movies that have been adapted from books. Not only do they give me something to consider reading myself, they also open up reading to a whole new audience. Just the other day, I had a friend who watched Catching Fire with her friends and is now considering reading the third book because she can’t wait to find out what happens in the end of the story.
Yesterday, for my birthday, we splurged a little and went to see Catching Fire starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in IMAX. You already know what happens in the movie because I recently did a book review on the second book in the Suzanne Collins’ trilogy. What I decided to do instead of doing a recap is let you know what was cut from the movie that I noticed and things that happened in the movie that made go: “Oh yeah, I forgot about that.”
SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen the movie or read book, you may want to think twice about reading this post because I give a lot of it away.
Now I remember…
It’s been over a year since I’ve read Catching Fire, so it was not surprise to me that the movie was reminding me of details I had forgotten as time passed. Below are just some of those details I was reminded of.
Party Eating at the Capitol
At the Capitol, people don’t eat for sustenance, they eat for pleasure. In a party that has a lot of food, it’s not unusual for party-goers to take a sip of a drink that allows them to throw up the food they’ve already taken in to make room for the food they haven’t tried yet. Capitol citizens do this unashamed. They have no concept of starvation such as is experienced in Katniss’s District 12.
Prim’s skill in medicine
When Gale is publicly flogged in the square, Prim has to take point on nursing him back to health because her mother, the typical physician for the town’s miners, is shaken by the senseless brutality.
Peeta Volunteers as Tribute
Haymitch was drawn as Tribute
Most likely rigged so that Katniss and Peeta would once again be in the Arena together, Haymitch was drawn as Tribute for the Quarter Quell and Peeta steps in as volunteer Tribute in his place. Now it’s certain that either Peeta or Katniss will die in the Arena this time around.
The baby “slip” in a desperate attempt to draw favor for Katniss and cause an uproar related to the Hunger Games, Peeta “accidentally” slips that Katniss is pregnant with his child (not true) during his pre-Games interview that is televised live.
Finnick has secrets. Finnick has been a Victor for quite a while and has grown weary of the jewels, attention, women and money that afforded him for surviving his Hunger Games experience. Instead, Finnick strictly uses the currency of secrets to sell his time and influence. Because of this Finnick is one of the most powerful Victors and it’s probably no accident that he was drawn as Tribute for the Quarter Quell.
Wait, did they skip something…
Like all adaptations, the Catching Fire movie has a few details missing. Although, they did a really good job of sticking to the book’s storyline there are a few things that I noticed were missing, even a year after reading the book:
The role of Cinna’s Crew
In the movie, the role of Cinna’s beauty crew is downplayed and minimalized. In truth, Katniss forms a bond with her beauty brigade during the Victory Tour and later when the wedding plans are being made. Katniss actually wakes the three ignorant Capitolists to the plight that her people and other districts face in the shadow of the Capitol.
District 8 Refugees
Katniss learns about the extent of the rebellion in the other districts by two District 8 refugees that take up camp in an old hunting cabin on the outskirts of District 12. They also clue Katniss into the rumors that District 13 was not completely destroyed in the original revolution 75 years ago.
Wedding dresses galore
In the book, Katniss’s house becomes full of wedding dresses that Cinna sends her way to try on and decide on for the upcoming wedding with Peeta. However, Katniss never tries them on because she’s still confused about her relationship with Gale and with Peeta.
In Finnick’s pre-Games interview he professes his love to a secret lover. Although Katniss is sure that there is no one particular, she later learns that Finnick was speaking to Anne, another Victor from his district who was saved from participating in this year’s games by Maggie, who volunteered in her place. Anne is psychologically vulnerable due to her PTSD, but she remains Finnick’s only true love. They skirt the issue of Anne when they get to the Jabberjay scene, but never really touch on it in detail.
What a great addition…
The movie did have one addition from the book that was a pleasant surprise. Just like in the first movie when they expanded the role of Seneca Crane and elaborate on his relationship with President Snow, they decided to give President Snow a granddaughter, played by Erika Beirman. Not only does this someone humanize the villain, but Snow’s granddaughter idolizes Katniss, wearing her hair in a single braid and confiding in her grandfather how she hopes to have a love as powerful as that between Katniss and Peeta one day. It shows President Snow just how far Katniss’s influence has spread.
This movie is an emotional roller coaster. From the beginning when Katniss and Peeta visit District 11 on the Victory Tour and give a touching tribute to Rue causing a gesture of alliance with the people to the very end where Katniss blows a hole in the Arena and wakes to find that Peeta has been kidnapped by the Capitol. You won’t have much time to recover from one emotion before you find yourself experience another, making this movie seem to absolutely fly by.
A 5-star rating for sure and recommended for anyone who has read the series or watched the first Hunger Games movie.
Have you seen the movie yet? What did you think?
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