As part of this month’s series on Suzanne Collins’ series, The Hunger Games, I wanted to share my review of the film based on the second book in the trilogy.
In Catching Fire, the story of Katniss Everdeen (reprised by Jennifer Lawrence) continues, as she struggles to find normality in life following The Hunger Games. As Katniss and Peeta (reprised by Josh Hutcherson) prepare to leave for their Victory Tour throughout Panem, it becomes obvious that Katniss is struggling. Struggling to cope with the nightmares that follow the Games, struggling to figure out her feelings for Peeta and Gale (reprised by Liam Hemsworth), struggling to protect herself and those she loves from the oppressive hand of President Snow.
Following the Victory Tour, the 75th Hunger Games are announced. But this year, the third Quarter Quell, holds something special: the reaping of tributes will be from among the pool of victors. Katniss is shattered, because she knows two things: the reaping of the male tribute will be between Haymitch and Peeta, and she, The Girl on Fire, is returning to the arena.
When Haymitch is selected, Peeta volunteers in his place, determined to return to the arena with Katniss to protect her. But Katniss knows the Capitol will never allow two victors. Will she make it out alive? Will she be able to save Peeta? Will she be able to protect the ones she loves?
While the film was not completely true to the book, and is of course a compressed version of the story, I have to say that I was pleased with the film. I felt like the film kept the heart of the story, and you couldn’t ask for better actors to bring the story to life.
A word of caution to parents: please take the PG-13 rating to heart. While the violence is handled well, and is certainly not gratuitous, it is nonetheless prevalent throughout the film, even before the Games, as rebels are flogged and shot. There is also more language in Catching Fire than in the original Hunger Games film.
One other aspect parents should be aware of is that while Katniss and Peeta sleep together to ward off her severe nightmares, nothing inappropriate occurs, but there is a scene in which a fellow victor-tribute undresses in an elevator with Haymitch, Katniss, and Peeta, however you only see her bare back and shoulders.
I found the film to be a wonderful adaptation and a very enjoyable film. If you would like to read Movieguide’s review of the film, you can do so here. If you would like to read my review of the book, you can do so here.