This could be a fairly boring post because I have nothing but gushing and positive words for Catching Fire – a film that I am in complete awe of.
Despite doing stupidly well in the box office and receiving almost universal critical acclaim, I still don’t believe people understand what a wonderful film this is.
It is an absolutely extraordinary achievement; it’s a dark, grim and violent film … for young people. These are important facets for me, especially when you are adapting a youf novel to the big screen. I thought the Harry Potter films were ruined by being too tame and risk averse which resulted in many terrifying moments from the book being damp squids in the films. A case in point is when Voldemort was drinking blood from a unicorn’s body in the first film, a yawnful (I am creating words today) moment – in the book, this moment made me piss my pants.
Catching Fire follows in the footsteps of its predecessor and does not hold anything back. Almost every shocking moment from the book appears in all of its dark glory on screen and I, for one, was delighted and relieved to see that this was the case. From the moment the film begins, it doesn’t let your forget about the consequences of the previous film and the harrowing reality that Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss now has to deal with. Katniss has killed people and this film does not let you forget that.
What is also refreshing about this film is that it is drenched with fear – every character, from Katniss down to President Snow (played by the awesome Donald Suntherland), is scared and desperate and doing everything they can to survive. The fact that the film gets this point across is a great testament to its ridiculously talented cast.
The late great Philip Seymour Hoffman doesn’t even come close to stealing a scene or being the best actor in this film – again, that speaks volumes to the standard of acting because he’s pretty great as the new Games-Master.
Regardless of how great everyone is, Jennifer Lawrence deserves the lion share of the adulation. She is frightfully good in this movie – she has to pull off contradictory emotions, appearing terrified and vulnerable, as well as strong and dangerous. How she pulls this off only Meryl Streep knows.
Can I think of any negatives… not really – if I was being picky then I would say that the film needed more blood but I understand why this wasn’t the case. I also think the film could have ended when Katniss walks in on Gale and co after she is rescued, making for a great cliffhanger. This is just me nubbling on scraggy bits of succulent chicken still left on the bone.
All in all, I was just as taken in by the Panem of the film as I was with the Panem of the book – frankly that is the biggest compliment I can give to Francis Lawrence’s film.