[Movie] Catching Fire

This movie made me actually cry twice and tear up an additional four times. What even gave you the right, Catching Fire? You’re supposed to be a big-budget sci-fi action movie. What’s with this actual heart-punching emotion in the middle of all the wacky fashions and shouting and stabbing things?

Effie made me cry. Effie Fucking Trinkett made me weep a silent, manly fashion. (Those weren’t tears. It was just sweat from my heart.) I can only guess that Elizabeth Banks is actually some kind of goddess.

I really enjoyed the entire Hunger Games series as books. I read all three of them in four days because I refused to put them down. The first movie was… all right. I wasn’t quite so excited about it probably because I loved the books so much, but I liked it in the theater even if I never felt compelled to actually buy it on DVD. In the first movie, the only scene that actively destroyed me was Rue’s death, and I’d gone in expecting it. (Though I should have known, you can never be prepared enough for that.)

I really feel like Catching Fire took everything that was good about the first movie and turned it up to eleven. There was just so much more emotion in it, loss and rage and helplessness. And the acting was all around so excellent that scenes didn’t so much tug at your heartstrings as wrap them up in a fist and just rip them right out of your chest.

All the major action points out of the book were there, but I never once hit a point where I felt like the action was going on too long, or like we were getting some big cgi production piece in place of actual character development. It’s incredibly unusual for me to feel that way about big budget movies these days. (I’m looking at you, The Hobbit.) I felt like there was a lot less shaky cam in this movie than in the previous one, and that it was better used as a way to make the action feel very immediate. Considering the movie was well over two house and didn’t feel nearly that long, they kept it cranking along.

There was a lot to put in the movie because there’s a lot of character development and emotional meat, and there’s no skimping on that. I think that’s why there’s so much emotional impact–the movie gives you a chance to get to know everyone, and their conflicts. You get to know that Katniss is not some kind of superhero, but rather a terrified, angry girl who is being pulled in far too many directions at once. The ways she’s being manipulated by nearly every person around her are very clear…as are the multitude of different ways she loves the people in her life. I’m so glad we got that instead of an extra ten minutes of CGI monkeys chasing very fit people in spandex body suits.

Oh, and Jennifer Lawrence? Still the most perfect. I adore her.

And I just want to say that while the guys all did an excellent job, to me the people who really stood out were the women. Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks, and Jena Malone (Johanna) were all powerful. And Lynn Cohen as Mags, who did everything without even being able to speak, won the whole movie as far as I’m concerned.

So yes. I liked it. I’d recommend it. However, if you haven’t seen the first movie or read the book, you’re really going to need to do that beforehand. Catching Fire wastes no time at all on retreading the background story. And I’m glad for that.

Looking forward to being utterly destroyed by Mockingjay.

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