Last Updated: December 21, 2017, 3:51 pm

2 Men 1 Movie: “Catching Fire” surpasses expectations


Jordan’s take

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is a film with wonderful acting, a great storyline and an interesting twist.

The sequel to “The Hunger Games” has a much better director with Francis Lawrence. He makes the film more real and shows a better way of telling a story from a book.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and the rest of the past Hunger Games victors will soon realize the odds will not be in their favor in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”

For the 75th Hunger Games and the third Quarter Quell, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) of the corrupt Capitol, the city full of wealthy people, has the tributes for the Games reaped from the past victors. Since Katniss is the only female from District 12 to win the games, she is thrust back into the games against stronger foes.

The casting for the other victors was a lot better than the first film because of their size. The other victors were much bigger and stronger than the previous film, making the Games that much more exciting.

The actors didn’t lack in performance throughout the film. All of them played their respective parts well. Woody Harrelson is becoming one of my favorite actors, and he doesn’t disappoint in this movie as the drunken victor Haymitch.

I haven’t read the book, so I was confused with a few little things during the movie, but nothing that affected the outcome of the film. I would recommend sitting by someone who has read the book, though, just in case it gets a little confusing.

It is always a good sign when I watch a book-based film and have a desire to read the book after having seen the movie, and that is exactly how I am feeling after watching “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” If I do have the desire to read the book, that means the director did well enough interpreting the book that I want to read the smaller details that were in between the bigger parts shown in the films.

Now that I have seen this one, I can’t wait for the third installment of “The Hunger Games.” “Catching Fire” leaves the viewer with a little bit of a cliffhanger, so I wonder what will happen. I might just have to do some serious reading during the holiday break.

With a movie like “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” I look for intensity and death in the film, and this one does really well with intensity. The Hunger Games are a great way to show off some intense moments and wonder of who will die and who will survive.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” deserves an A for the acting. Let’s make this next year quick so we can see the next film.

Matthew’s take

Although there’s not as much nudity as there is in the book, I thoroughly enjoyed the second installment, even more so than the first. 

The fact that I read Suzanne Collins’ books almost ruined the first film for me. The incredible imagery I’d conjured up during the first fateful games dwarfed what the filmmakers gave me in “The Hunger Games.” So of course I was wary going into the sequel. What would be messed up this time? 

As it turns out, not too much. 

The return to the Games arena was almost exactly as I’d pictured it, and even some of the casting choices were pretty darn close to the characters I’d imagined. This film delivered, quite well in fact, most of what made the book great. 

Like the first film, we also got some scenes that weren’t in the book. But unlike the first film, the scenes added into “Catching Fire” were actually worth the screen time. We caught a glimpse behind the games that actually added to the story. The behind-the-scenes stuff in the first film just took me out of the plot for some reason. 

The best part was the character development of Effie Trinket, who is and always will be my all-time favorite character from this franchise. She was incredibly two-dimensional in the first installment, but the filmmakers shined a spotlight on her emotions in “Catching Fire.” 

It wasn’t a death scene that almost brought me to tears in this movie, it was a speech by Effie. Who would have known? 

The film pulled off one task too well, though. In the book, the world looks to Katniss Everdeen as the hero for some reason. They never look at Peeta with the same adoration, despite the fact that he did exactly what Katniss did. 

In the books, Katniss is pretty clueless. She’s always the last to figure out what’s going on, and she’s always sabotaging herself, her friends and her family. She’s clueless about Peeta’s feelings for her and her abilities to survive in the first story. I hoped “Catching Fire” would have played down her density and made her a little more likable, but Jennifer Lawrence is either an excellent actor or a horrible one because I cringed every time she opened her mouth to speak. 

Unfortunately, there are only a couple of scenes sans Katniss, but the overall excellence almost made me forget her.

I’m grading “Catching Fire” with a B. It surpassed my expectations and actually left me wanting more. If it weren’t for Katniss, I’d up this to an A. Let’s hope “Mockingjay” follows the pattern.