Catching Fire

Rachel Kent

Blogger: Rachel Kent

How many of you are going to see “Catching Fire” this weekend? I’m writing this post on Thursday afternoon and I have tickets to see it tonight! I’m excited! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the movie if you saw it last night too, but let’s be careful not to spoil the film for those who are going to see it soon.

Here’s a link to the film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keT5CRhhy84

I enjoyed The Hunger Games book series by Suzanne Collins and I did like the first movie (mostly), but for a variety of reasons I’m more excited about this film than I was the first. I have high expectations and I hope I’m not disappointed.

I felt like the book Catching Fire had more tension than the first book because of the show that Katniss and Peeta have to keep up to protect those they love while wanting to join and support the revolution because of the horrible corruption that they are starkly aware of. Once again their lives are threatened and the odds are definitely not in their favor. I think this added tension is going to make for an even better movie.

I also think Book 2 had some neat characters in it. I’m excited to see Finnick and Mags and Beetee and Wiress. These characters call for some great acting and I’m really hoping that they’re pulled off well. I also am looking forward to more of Haymitch. He plays an important role in this story and was well done in the first movie (even if he didn’t look like I imagined him).

Lastly, I’m excited to see the film version of the game arena. This arena is much more creative than the one in The Hunger Games and I think the special effects will be fun to see.

Are you excited about “Catching Fire”?

Which characters are you looking forward to seeing?

Is there a particular scene in the book that you are hoping to see in the movie?

What is your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
This is a tough question! I can’t figure out what mine is. I look forward to your responses!

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47 Comments

  • Yes–I hope it’s like the book! Catching Fire was my fave in the trilogy and I agree–it was the COOLEST world to set it in.

    Book to movie…hm. One of my faves is Room with a View with Helena Bonham Carter. I LOVED the locations, the music, and the acting!

    WORST recent book-to-movie translation–ANNA KARENINA. Ugh. I was looking forward to a Russian setting–instead, it seemed to be indoors (and weird…). I was utterly disappointed on that one. I’m still debating whether I liked the new Gatsby or not, but there was one powerful scene at the end I won’t soon forget.

    Funny how setting makes a huge difference in movie adaptations! The Help was just exactly like I pictured it. I also enjoyed The Host but I know some people felt it dragged. The cave setting was done well in that, I thought.

    Hoping you enjoy the movie, Rachel!

    • Rachel Kent Rachel kent says:

      I haven’t seen Room with a View. I will have to check that one out. I haven’t seen Anna Karenina either, but I’ll skip it based on what you’ve said here.

      I did enjoy the movie, but I felt it was kind of long. I think that must be a result of my getting too old for a 9 pm movie though. :)

      • Glad it was good–two words for Anna Karenina–experimental nightmare. Ha! The entire movie was set like a play stage…so you’d be watching one scene and then the stage set would abruptly change. I just couldn’t handle it and I love the book. Just didn’t capture the depths of Anna K. But Room with a View? Classic!

  • Hi, Rachel! I won’t be seeing the movie. My girl, 15 and 13, don’t like it. It scares them. My husband ended up letting them see the first one, because of all the hype at “church” … and they both regretted it. Too violent for them. My husband and I make have to buy it and watch it later on.

    Book to movie … I loved Scarlett … sequel to Gone with the Wind. It was a hard one to match, but I thought they did good. And I loved the book.

    I wanted to ask if you still take on YA projects … like young teen fiction.

    Have a good time.

    • Rachel Kent Rachel kent says:

      Hi Shelli,

      I found the books and movies to be pretty violent–even for my tastes. I don’t like watching people die.

      And I will look at query letters for YA projects, but I am taking on very few at this time.

      • I hear you, Rachel. The girls loved Star Wars … people died, but it didn’t really show it … you know?

        Okay … thank you for the YA info.

      • I had my 13 year old daughter read the book before she could see the movie. I took her away for the weekend to do the Passport to Purity with her (have you heard of that book?) but ended with seeing the first movie.

        It was great! We had really good conversations about right and wrong, good and evil, conforming, survival…Although it was graphic, it actually enriched our talk…because of the raw emotion from experiencing it.

        We see Catching Fire tomorrow when I get back from a writing retreat. It’s just the two of us again, I can’t wait! :)

  • Jill Kemerer says:

    My daughter wants to see it! I haven’t read the books so I’m a no at this point. :)

    My favorite book to movie adaptation is The Lord of the Rings trilogy by Peter Jackson. To me, these movies brought the books to life!

    • Rachel Kent Rachel kent says:

      Confession: I could never get through the LOTR books. I did like the movies though. I was not a fan of The Hobbit: Part 1. Way too slow for me!

  • There are a few things that get me about every adaptation (I think I’m a purist), but the Lord of the Rings series has been done really well. I’ll be seeing the latest Hobbit movie at midnight again :)

  • I went to the “early midnight showing” — (the 8 p.m. one) which was great for me since the midnight showing stretched my loyalty in competition for sleep…

    I’m really anxious to hear what you think of it! I’m trying to decide to blog my review now or wait until more have seen it…. ;-)

    Interestingly, my favorite character from the book wasn’t so in the movie… and other characters shone due to some incredible acting.

    I think that’s all I’ll say for now.
    Nicole

    • I saw it last night at 8 pm too! I’d be curious to know who your favorite character was from the book that you didn’t like in the movie!

    • Rachel Kent Rachel kent says:

      I felt like the movie was too long, but at the same time I liked how close it stayed to the book.

      I did not like the acting for Johanna at all. She seemed too fake. The others were pretty well done. My friend cried through the whole movie and I didn’t have that strong of an emotional reaction to it.

  • I passed on the whole ‘Hunger Games’ thing. Not my cup of tea.

    Best movie adaptation – “Machine Gun Preacher”. Sam Childers’ personality really shines through. Also, the producers resisted the temptation to sugar-coat the relationships at the end, which was admirable.

    Worst adaptation – the “Gatsby” from the 70s. It was so bad I wanted to throw things at the screen.

    • Rachel Kent Rachel kent says:

      Wow. I haven’t seen either of those movies. I guess I need to add Machine Gun Preacher to my list. I have a feeling my husband might enjoy it more than I will though. I don’t typically like movies with the words Machine Gun in the title. :)

      • Rachel, I did notice that you don’t like watching people die in movies – “Machine Gun Preacher” has a lot of death, though none of it is gratuitous.

        It raises the faith question of just what are we supposed to do when faced with evil that simply won’t be turned away by words.

        Personally, I think it’s a must-see for all Christians (and everyone else!). There is the saying “God left Africa a long time ago”. It seems the only way to get Him back to that place (and others like it) is to be His hands and feet.

        And His fists.

  • I’m seeing it tomorrow with a huge group of friends! So excited. I remember really liking the book. I liked the first movie too, though I’m hoping they show that tension between Peeta and Katniss more than they did in the first movie. It’s probably hard to translate someone’s motives from a first-person narrative to the screen, though, so I get that.

  • I saw it last night with a large group of friends! We raised the medium age of the the attendees by quite a bit! We were also the only ones who sat around after discussing it.

    I think they did a fabulous job with the arena. The acting in the new characters was also superb.

    I’m still disappointed by the plot changes necessitated by Katniss not losing her hearing and Peeta not losing his leg in the first movie. Particularly the Peeta plot change. I think it made the storyline in this movie weaker in those areas and not as believable.

    The ending killed me. I was like, already? That’s it? This one was intense the whole time, and I jumped at one point (about like the dogs in the first movie). It’s definitely not a happy movie, but I love how they brought in humor to break the tension at just the right times.

    I could go on and on….

  • Jeanne T says:

    I hope you enjoyed it, Rachel! I’ve read the books, and the first one seemed like a fairly close adaptation to the movie. I don’t know if we’ll see the second one in the theaters or wait for it to come out on DVD. The books were amazing in how she kept the tension up and the twists coming on strong. I had trouble with some aspects of the story on a personal side of it. :)

    I, too, loved the Lord of the Rings movie adaptations. On a simpler level, I really liked the first of the Anne of Green Gables movies. The other two were good, but they veered from the books somewhat.

    • Rachel Kent Rachel kent says:

      I LOVE the Anne of Green Gables movies, but only the first two. That third one is too “out there” for me.

      I think waiting until you are in the comfort of your own home is a good plan if that’s how it works out for you guys. I don’t think the special effects were any more special in the theater.

  • We’re waiting until next weekend to go. I can’t stand opening weekends of movies. They are way too busy.

    It will be interesting to see how the new director takes this movie as opposed to The Hunger Games; and I agree, the arena should make for some neat special effects.

    Seeing Finnick come to life on the big screen is definitely something I’m looking forward to.

    Though this is just a small screen movie, I loved the way they brought Stephen King’s The Stand to life. I wasn’t thrilled about some of the character changes, but overall they did a fine job with it.

    • Rachel Kent Rachel kent says:

      This director did a better job, I think. The first one was very “teen” while this one appealed to a wider audience. My husband did not like the first movie at all, but enjoyed this one.

  • Leah E. Good says:

    I probably won’t see the movie (certainly not in theaters) and have mixed feelings about the books. However, due to a friend’s fan-fiction, I do adore some of the characters, Finnick in particular.

    It’ll be interesting to hear all the hype. :)

    • Rachel Kent Rachel kent says:

      I know what you mean about having issues with the book matter. I don’t like it much either (killing children for sport), but at the same time I do like the exploration of a society where the government has stepped out of bounds.

      In a way the movies are less graphic than the books because my imagination is pretty good when I read!

  • Favorite book to movie…The Help..hands down. I loved the book so much I almost didnt’ go see the movie but had others, who had read the book, say it was really good. I wasn’t disappointed at all and loved them both!

  • Lora Young says:

    Favorite film adaptation(s)? To Kill a Mockingbird and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Both stayed true to the storyline. LOTR trilogy is close, but there were so many things changed, I had to watch them a second time to let go of the differences. Watching the extended versions helped too. =o)

    • Rachel Kent Rachel kent says:

      The extended versions are great, but SO long. :) I have trouble sitting through a 2 hour movie already. I have to watch those in many different sittings.

  • I can’t wait to see it. We’ll probably go next week. My oldest just listened to the Hunger Games audio book and loved it. We held off for awhile because the themes are so intense, and I’m still hesitant to let him listen to Catching Fire. Maybe watching the movie will help make up my mind.
    As for my favorite book-to-movie adaptation, I have to say LOTR.

    • Rachel Kent Rachel kent says:

      The Hunger Games movie was more violent, I think. This one had deeper takeaway though, so it left me thinking longer. I hope you enjoy the film! :)

  • Ted says:

    We really don’t get out to see movies in theatre anymore, instead prefering to watch in the comfort of our own home (with a pause button for when the toddler wakes up).

    I was a little disappointed that Collins sent Katniss back into the arena again in the 2nd book. The games were a huge part of the first book, and I didn’t like her going ‘back to the well’ in the second.

    I am looking forward to seeing Katniss’ “Mockingjay” dress. That should be quite a moment.

    Favorite book to movie adaptation? PRINCESS BRIDE

    • Rachel Kent Rachel kent says:

      I liked the dress! Very well done. :)

      And Princess Bride is a wonderful book and a fun movie, too! Also a favorite of mine.

  • Sydney Avey says:

    My sister emailed and asked me to wait and see it with her at Thanksgiving. The reviews look good. Agree that the first two books were exciting, but the third books disappointed me. Katniss lost her edge (who could blame her?) when she lost her youth. Not a message I liked! I think that is a danger authors run when they write a series.

    • Rachel Kent Rachel kent says:

      I am thinking (hoping) that the 3rd movie might be better than the book was. We’ll see! I really hope they don’t try to make it into two movies like Harry Potter and Twilight did. That book was not set up for it.

  • My favorite movie-to-book adaptations are The Secret Garden (1987) and Fried Green Tomatoes.

  • I wasn’t excited … but now I am. My daughter is reading Hunger Games and I’ve promised we’d get the movie when she’s done. I’ve neither read nor seen the movie. But I think I will break down and finally do it soon.

    Favorite adaption: Lord of the Rings–the whole series. So many great spiritual elements in that story, but the books had such a male feel to them, I didn’t relate to them as much as I did the movies. Still, after seeing the movies I could appreciate the books more. I’ve seen every stinkin’ second of the extended versions, commentary and making-ofs.

  • . . . I’m going to roast hot dogs this weekend, over an “open fire”.

    Does that count?

  • May see it some time, but definitely not this weekend, and certainly not at the same theater in town where “The Christmas Candle” is playing (when you promote Christian films, you become acutely aware that every ticket sold in the same theater/same weekend could mean the Christian one is done).

    To be honest, I generally don’t like book to film adaptations. One of my favorite probably is “The Christmas Candle” but that’s not really fair because it was less a book than a short story, so in fleshing out and developing the storyline it became more than Max Lucado originally intended (and he was involved throughout the film process, so the message was not lost at all)

  • Peter DeHaan says:

    I’m going to need to wait until next weekend to see it. Though I’m anxious to see new characters introduced, Katniss is still the main draw for me.

    (By the way, I weary of people complaining “Who wants to see a movie of children killing children?” Either they’re mindlessly repeating what others have said or they miss the point of the book/movie. IMO)

  • Christine says:

    I too went Thursday night and reviewed it yesterday morning. Gotta say, I’m not in love with it…

    http://www.morethanmovies.net/the-hunger-games-catching-fire-movie-review/

    Here is my review
    The odds were never in our favor. With the exception of The Godfather (2, of course, not 3), cinematic history is lined with sequels that never quite live up to the promise of the original movie’s ending. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire now joins the pantheon of other series that should have left well enough alone. Or perhaps it is time for the countless sequels flowing out of Hollywood to adopt the buffet-style viewing model of shows like Netflix’ House of Cards, where series are shot – and released – all at once, leaving the pace of consumption and portion size to the viewer.

    In Catching Fire, our Katniss is three years older than when she shot the original Girl on Fire – one Academy Award statue under her belt, and far too many red carpets etched in the minds of us mortal movie goers. Her magic in Girl on Fire – her innocence, her wonder, her communication with us beyond the words spoken, gone. This Katniss is hardened. She’s dark. She has strange black lines under her eyes, like I did in the seventies because I didn’t know how to use eye liner successfully, and we can’t find the girl we left on the screen at the close of Girl on Fire. The original Katniss is sorely missed.

    I worried at the change of directors after Girl on Fire. It’s hard to take that kind of perfection and re-create it with a new man behind the camera, allowing him to put his touch on it – all the while staying true to the memories those of us Hunger Games lovers have of the way her story unfolds. Francis Lawrence (Water for Elephants) does a decent job; but it’s choppy. Scenes end. New scenes begin and you know it each and every time. I’d have to see the movie again to see if that transition difficulty is because he hasn’t ended the scene before it or if it’s because the new scene has no relationship to the earlier scene. That’s not going to happen, so I leave it with you.

    I love Katniss. I saw the first Hunger Games without having read the books beforehand – so I knew only of the debate about portraying child violence on the screen. Meeting Katniss in the original film – seeing her strength of character, her sheer force of intelligence and independence (yes, her fire), made me cheer. Finally there was a female action figure that might inspire young girls to follow their own inner voices, rather than the voice of the seventh grade bitch that led us all astray. I loved that she loved her sister and her friend. I loved that she could see the complexity of life’s other loves that show we are complicated creatures that have love for many in us, even though society often asks us to love only one. I loved that she was strong and her body was not the noun in her life but the adjective. Please don’t get me wrong. I still love Katniss for the girls around me. There is a scene in Catching Fire where President Snow’s granddaughter is modeling after Katniss, and I think it’s one of the best in the movie. She looks at you dead in the camera and you know she will follow Katniss anywhere. Give us these Katniss role models for our girls to emulate. They, and we, will all be better for it.

    Familiarity breeds contempt? I have never believed that, but I do believe that the first time you see something is the moment that it will have its largest impact. The scenes for training the tributes and following them during the games mirrored Girl on Fire. It loses something the second time around. It makes you feel you are watching a rerun of a movie with a similar plot but different characters.

    Speaking of characters, Catching Fire tributes are too old to have the same power punch that Girl on Fire had. Grownups killing grownups is everywhere and doesn’t incite the rage needed to start a revolution. And the backstory of the return tributes is missing – and the film suffers for it. Finnick, for example, is one of the great characters in the series – but here you do not have enough information to see him as the amazing tribute he turns out to be. Rue’s character, in the first film, showed us her depth of character and sensitivity. Rue stealing the knife and the board showing her 60-1 odds of winning gave us her back story so we could know and appreciate her journey during the games. You gotta do the homework for us to understand the meaning of the story and richness of the characters in it.

    Rereading this review feels as if I’m saying don’t see it. Not at all. See it. Have a Take A Girl to Hunger Games Day. There are many lessons in the film, and they are worth seeing. But when you compare Catching Fire to Girl on Fire, you will find Catching Fire cannot live up to its legacy. Like the second child following the first one in a high school, the teachers will always find the memory of the first to overshadow the second.

    Hunger Games asks us to dig deep and decide what we will stand for and what we will passively accept. The Hunger Games Trilogy is an important lesson in government and passivity. “Remember who the enemy is.” In our own political environment, when everyone seems so powerless, when we are all so very sad and angry at the ineptitude of those leaders we elected, it’s a call to action to find the heroes and help them lead. Katniss is a reluctant leader, called out by circumstances rather than the desire to be a star. She never wants the job to lead a nation. She rises to it.

    One last thing. I’m so glad an action GIRL flick may set records this weekend. Hello, movie industry, wake up and smell Snow’s roses.

  • Angela Mills says:

    I loved it! I hate spoilers so I won’t say anything, but that I appreciated that the camera wasn’t as jerky as the first one.

    I re-read the series this summer so the book was fresh in my mind. It’s been a mom-daughter thing with my 17 year old, we read the books together and went to the midnight showing of the first movie. Now my husband is into it, too and came with us to see this movie. High praise, as he usually watches the teen movies with us, but not in public, lol.

    Favorite movie adaptation has to be Gone with the Wind.

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