Catching Fire

Fire, fear and…President Snow

Synopsis: After winning the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are set for a Victory Tour. However, not everything goes smoothly…as the whisperings of a rebellion arise, President Snow causes havoc in Katniss’s life.

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks.

catching fire movie poster

One really obvious theme is fire. The fire-blower at President Snow’s house, fire being catching fire costumes dressused to make a statement with Katniss and Peeta’s clothes for the parade, the burning down of the houses with it…fire is one of those symbols that is just ever so fundamental and yet so complicated at the same time. Fire brings destruction, fear, ruin, it eats anything in its way having no mercy; in my opinion, President Snow has a lot of these qualities as well. When they say “Catching Fire”I believe it is a war between Katniss and the Capitol. However, the title can be interpreted two ways: 1) something that is caught on fire (snow having control of Katniss) or 2) something that is trying to actually catch the fire (the people of the districts outsmarting the Capitol at the end of the movie). Ofcourse, fire doesn’t only represent desolation; what about the light and warmth it provides? the fact that burning something purifies it? Or that love is spoken as an eternal flame of fire? So, we can say that it shimmers with hope as well. Which is, cleverly, what Katniss Everdeen is to the people of Panemhope. We get to see the characteristics of fire been played side-by-side by two different yet very similar characters.

Friendship was expressed significantly in both the movie and book. And rightly so. Nobody ever realises it but we need contact and relationships to survive not only in this physical world, but for ourselves to live because the need to be with other humans is instinct. Just like Haymish advised Katniss:

It’s not about trust; it’s about staying alive

Her friendship with Peeta (although by the end of the film, I was beginning to think if it was something more) and keeping the other tributes as allies. Our world can be taken as metaphorical comparison to the days in the arena; there are people who want to take you down, you have to make and keep your life while bearing the competition of others (what I mean is, the weapons they have to run and take in the beginning) and make friends to keep you sane and alive. Ofcourse, the movie exaggerates it, but our lives are alot like the mini battles tributes have with each other, the glimmer of hope and joy as someone sends a package…it’s all there. Other people may be the destruction of us- but they also happen to be the strength within us. I quote I like to live by is “Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame. Whatever the cost.” 

Was it just me, or was Katniss a bit pathetic in Catching Fire? I understand that she’s catching fire wedding dress katnissbeen through the games which have scarred her for life, but trying to run away with Gale leaving her family behind? Really? Already, we are starting to see that Everdeen doesn’t really fit the profile of the stereotypical hero; she’s deceitful to Peeta, selfish to want to run away and is really depressing at certain moments to watch. I felt Primrose was more capable of coping with all the stress for god’s sake. I’m not saying Jennifer Lawrence isn’t a brilliant actor; she’s bloody amazing, especially her performance in American Hustle. This is the director’s choice to make her persona like this but I don’t recall the book being like that. I wonder where they are going with the direction of the character because, I know this is going to sound a bit odd, but she’s almost too human to be a hero; too faulty and not really inspiring.

capitol catching fire parade stadium

 I loved Effie Trinket, played by Elizabeth Banks, because she was so innocent. Even in my own review, I referred to the wrath of President Snow as “The Capitol” as a whole but really, it is one individual that happens to be the face for several individuals. The population of the Capitol may all be as naive as Effie, sure they throw up food so they can eat more, but that’s their environment; they don’t know better. For example, if you say Kenyans are terrorists (random and false by intention), you may be referring to a minority in the country that is just really prevalent, yet degrading the rest of the population to their level as well. See what I mean by unfair?

In terms of it being a sequel, it wasn’t that bad. I mean, what could you expect? The book wasn’t marginally better than the movie either. The majority of Catching Fire was spent…talking. And fighting. And threatening. It doesn’t even deserve to be under the genre “Action, Adventure, Sc-Fi”; more like “Drama”. It is just a bunch of politics. Only the last 30 mins of the movie was spent in the actual arena which was well done. Although, I don’t blame them either for the lack of action; they couldn’t have the second film be all about the arena because that was the first film. So it is understandable that they didn’t have much to work with. Apparently, the movie just got away without an R-rating because of all the killing in the arena and the whipping. It was definitely more gory than the first film.

The elements I truly enjoyed were the costumes, effects and cinematography. The Capitol scenes have got to be my favourite, ironically, due to their sophisticated technology and the way they dress, talk and act. The movie wasn’t better than the first Hunger Games, but it wasn’t that much worse from the book either. Ofcourse, this is just my opinion. Let me know what you guys think in the comments below 🙂 [mild spoiler for Mockingjay] Hopefully, the next movie will be able to sort through the chaos that is Mockingjay because the book itself was pretty hard to follow.

Verdict: 6.5 of 10 kicks

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3 thoughts on “Catching Fire”

  1. I fundamentally disagree. Catching Fire (both movie and book) were far superior to the first. The politics is the point. Katniss being traumatized is the point. This is a story about oppression, power dynamics, politics, and PTSD. The author’s father was a Vietnam vet, so PTSD probably effected her life and family quite a bit.

    1. And the confusion lifts…makes sense. Mockingjay is evidently about the politics and that’s fine. I guess the second part was bridging the gap between the goriness of war and the drama and mind-play of the government. But thanks for the info on the author. I honestly didn’t know that.

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