Mook Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Click here to read my review of The Hunger Games!

Catching Fire – Novel by Suzanne Collins



Let it be known, Catching Fire is my favorite installment of the trilogy.  Where The Hunger Games wows us with this sick dystopian world, the contrived Capitol, and the defiant emergence of Katniss, Catching Fire really ups the stakes for the story and we begin to see the severity of Katniss’ survival in the Games and what it means for the other district citizens.

Catching Fire is so successful in what it sets out to do.  With most trilogies, the middle installment naturally acts as a bridge between two major plot points, but often they are either dull and just filling a gap between two pieces of information or completely overloaded with material that you get kind of lost.  What I love about Catching Fire is that it IS a bridge between two major plot points,  but can still stand alone on its own.  It introduces very important new characters and themes, reveals more depth to existing characters, and reinforces and reiterates what is important about this story without constantly repeating itself.

If I could, I would read Catching Fire again and again and again.  It is an exiting piece of work and it really begins to construct the rebellion brewing in Panem, which leads seamlessly into Mockingjay.  The rapid events at the ending of the story happen quite quickly, and was something I had to reread in order to truly understand, but if done well could transition onto screen perfectly.  Catching Fire is definitely the strongest of the three books; an opinion I know I share with most fans of the series.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” – Directed by Francis Lawrence



Francis Lawrence’s adaptation of “Catching Fire” makes “The Hunger Games” seem like childs play.  As a huge fan of the first movie (you can read my review here), I was interested and skeptical in how this film would pan out with a new director.  “Catching Fire” hits us over the head with brilliance and does the book incredible justice.

Just like the Third Quarter Quell, everything about “Catching Fire” is bigger and better.  The actors have developed stronger skills, the costumes are avantgarde and absolutely brilliant, and the special effects blow the previous movie out of the water.  The Tribute Parade and CGI animals in the arena were the most notable differences for me.  In “The Hunger Games” the Tribute Parade is almost embarrassing.  The special effects were sub par and it was really the only part of the movie I truly didn’t like.  Similarly, the “mutts” in “The Hunger Games” were very fake looking and, while scary in thought, weren’t realistic.  The current films Tribute Parade is as if we are transported to a dystopian ancient Greece, and Katniss and Peeta’s costumes are astonishingly executed without the cheesy flames of the first film.  And the baboons in the arena?  Absolutely terrifying.

Most importantly, the journey we, as viewers, go on with our beloved characters is emotional and real.  In a moment of purity, Effie breaks down in her disappointment with what has happened with Katniss and Peeta and expresses her loyalty to them as a team.  It is touching and moving, and I found myself getting choked up at most points throughout the film.  Newcomers like Finnick and Johanna elevate the storyline and bring realness to what is happening; like Katniss and Peeta, they are victors and they have also been betrayed by the Capitol.

All biases aside, something needs to be said about Jennifer Lawrence’s role as Katniss.  The final scene is astounding, her facial expressions flawless, and it is as if you are completely inside Katniss’ head without her saying a word at all.  The last few minutes of the film has me clenching the side of my seat and ended with a cliff hanger of astronomical proportions, leaving me beyond anxious for “Mockingjay Part One.”  Catching Fire is absolutely brilliant and I personally felt it was as near flawless of an adaptation as they come.

Mook Rating  


41 thoughts on “Mook Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

  1. I’m glad you liked it because I’m hoping to go see it next week! It was my favourite too and I love the line ‘We burn, you burn with us!’ Sooo good! Are they splitting Mockingjay into two films?

      • Not only do I not think it is necessary to break it up, but that means so much more waiting!!! I am an impatient person when it comes to my books (and the movies they are remade into, or tv shows for that matter)!

        By the way; Great review! Agreed with every word, and Catching Fire is definitely my favourite.

  2. Yay! I’m glad the movie is great. I’m off to see it tonight. :D

    Jennifer Lawrence has done a great job as Katniss, I think. In the first movie, right before she’s about to enter the games is a similar kind of moment, where her terror is just so clear on her face without saying a word.

  3. I am so excited about this film! After the promise of the first book I thought that the others (though still amazing, and I enjoyed reading them) fell a tiny bit short, so I hope that that I enjoy the film as much as the book. If not more. And I love Jennifer Lawrence so much. She’s like the Katniss of celebrity body issues to the media’s President Snow. Yeah, it’s officially a girl crush.

    • There are two reasons, in my opinion, to split Mockingjay into two parts. The first being that they can really develop the storyline and have it resonate with the viewer, given Mockingjay is vastly different from the first two books. The second reason is the amount of money this franchise makes. Given that both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire have been box office smashes, it is a good investment for Lionsgate to release two more films. Personally, I don’t think it was absolutely necessary for Mockingjay to have two parts, I think a lot of these franchises (ie: Hunger Games, Twilight) are piggy-backing off of Harry Potter and their decision to split the last book into two films.

      • You’re right, splitting Mocking jay is a good investment, but I think that splitting breaking dawn was necessary, since the last book was really long…
        Also, if they split mocking jay, where do you think they’ll end the first movie? Where I live, catching fire hasn’t released yet…:( hopefully, it’ll release this Friday.. Can’t wait to go see it!!!

  4. Also, the book and the movie is almost similar. I really loved how it focused on how the past victors showed on their disagreement with the quarter quell.. and Katniss’ face at the last part? Epic.
    Although, I would’ve loved to see Haymitch’ videos on his own Hunger games. It was mentioned in the book. But overall, 10/10.

    • Now that you mention it, I would have loved to see Haymitch’s Hunger Games! It’s unfortunate what we sometimes have to lose when we slate our favorite books for the big screen.

      • I agree! so much back story was lost especially with haymitch and even effie. Also, in the movie the average viewer just sees mags just some random old lady to finnick! I personally think they could have atleast written somewhere in the film “mags was like a mother to me”- something! I dont think 2 films for mockingjay is necessary – kinda wish they broke out catching fire into 2 films instead! :)

      • I saw the movie with two people who hadn’t read the books, and they got the impression Mags was very important to Finnick and trying to protect him, in some way, by volunteering for Annie. Haymitch does mention something about Mags being very close to Finnick as his mentor when Haymitch, Katniss, and Peeta watch Finnick’s reaping. Although it definitely doesn’t go into the detail that the book does, it comes across even if it is at the bare minimum. I think the more important takeaway is that people begin to understand there is a deeper relationship between Finnick and Annie, which unfortunately is really untouched in the movie… BUT from what I have read about Mockingjay, they are going to fill in a lot of the gaps they purposely left in Catching Fire. For example, there is barely any mention of District 13 in the Catching Fire movie, but we learn A LOT in the book. Mockingjay is going to develop that plot point a lot more.

        I am worried a little bit about Effie… I think her growth in the films has been even MORE apparent on screen than the books, and for anyone who read Mockingjay, we know that Effie is barely even in it the last installment which I think would be a loss for the audience. I hope they integrate her character into the storyline of Mockingjay a little bit more because to be honest she is one of my favorite characters and Elizabeth Banks is amazing!

  5. i just saw the movie and like you said, it was a flawless adaptation and i couldn’t agree more. i adore jennifer lawrence and her portrayal as Katniss was so brilliant. the movie moved me to tears.

  6. I didn’t like Hunger Games movie as much as the book. So I was a little bit skeptic about how this movie would turn out. But I have to agree with you that the director made a great effort in making the sequel an upgrade from the first which many of the trilogies didn’t do.

    It was really good to see this was a real adaptation of the book rather than just using the popularity of the book to tell your own version like some directors do. Kudos to both the author – She really made the book movie-script-ready – and the director for not spoiling the story.

    Now my only hope is that the film makers won’t drag the next installment to an extent we feel bored. I am interested to see where they decided to split the story.

  7. First of all, I love the name of your blog!
    I totally agree about Mockingjay blowing Hunger Games out of the water. I was never in the camp that dissaproved of the style choices, I thought (especially in the arena) they really helped remind you that it was ‘reality tv’ gone mad. That being said, I think Mockingjay was just so much more sleek…that scene when Katnis and Finnick are surrounded by Jabberjays and Peeta is on the other side of a partition…it sent shudders down my spine!
    I’m so glad the film adaptation went well, in some ways Mockingjay is so much more complex than the Hunger Games and I was wary about how that information would translate on screen. I needn’t have been though because it was just great! (and made me want to read the book again)

  8. Pingback: Mook Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire | TRISKELE PRESS

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  10. What a great review :)
    And as Catching Fire is an awesome bridge between the Hunger Games and Mockingjay. your review is a great one between the books and the movies.
    I totally agree with you as I would read Catching Fire over and over again if I could, but that affects the whole series and so many other books. ;)

  11. I too thought, that they did a wonderful job of making this book into a movie. I felt the movie was very emotionally intense, and really well done. It’s been awhile since I read the books but I felt they didn’t really lose any information when they made it into a movie, which happens way to often. Thanks for the review!

  12. I couldn’t put down the trilogy when I started it (sometimes it great to jump on the bandwagon so late and get to read everything in on go). I’d just finished them all by the time I saw the first film so it was all really fresh in my mind and I was just blown away. Adaptations set in alternate worlds like this one are normally a nightmare to understand if you haven’t read the books first but everything was just so well explained. These books were made to be films and I can’t wait for the next movie.

  13. Pingback: Mook Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 | mookology.

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