Catching Fire

As I continue to recover, I’m trying to slowly add things back in to my everyday life. Yesterday I got dressed in nicer clothes – pants that weren’t jeans, a top that wasn’t a hoodie – got my near-mullet-stage hair cut, and went out to the movies with my man. We FINALLY saw Catching Fire.

I realize that most of you who are Hunger Games fans probably saw this movie weeks ago. You’ve already discussed it with friends. Maybe you posted about it on Facebook or commented on other’s posts; I avoided these posts so I could go into the movie fairly unbiased. But now I’ve seen the movie and I want to talk about it!

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I don’t always approve of  book-to-film productions. It often means leaving out large parts of the story or characters all together (Madge? Who’s Madge?). Sometimes the films are still as enthralling as the books, even though they become a new creation from the many changes. (I felt that was the case with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.) Often the original story is told abstractly or from an omniscient voice, contributing vastly to the whole of the story. That doesn’t always translate to film. (This is my fear with The Book Thief! It’s not out in England yet, but I’ve heard good things about it. If you haven’t read the book, READ IT.)

Since we went to the theater on the opening weekend of The Desolation of Smaug, I thought our theater might not be as packed. Wrong. It was full. I always hate it when people sit directly behind or in front of me… how dare they… but I realize it’s bound to happen. The seat in front of me was empty (YES!) but the seats behind us were occupied. They were noisy. Audible commentary, occasional curse words, bad breath that wafted over my head, but their worst offense was the popcorn crunching. I am so thankful my mother constantly reminded me to chew with my mouth closed because now as I see others without that decency, I realize how annoying it is. My dear dear husband has some slight quirks… one of them is the complete loathing of what others might consider fully ignorable noises: a pant-leg rustling, someone smacking their gum, Toby licking his netherregion, the bathroom fan flapping from a draft, and popcorn crunching. He bristles, teeth clenched, sometimes seethes. I think it’s adorable.

In his defense, I’m convinced they were eating their popcorn like this:

Sam asked if we could change seats. (We didn’t.)

Anyway, time for the movie review… First of all, I think they did a great job of sticking to the book while still sticking to a run time under three hours. I enjoyed the movie greatly but it did still seem a little long… maybe that was just my achy back contributing to the seemingly slow passage of time. Although, to be fair, I don’t know what else they could have cut.

There was sufficient build up to the Quarter Quell, as we saw how they lived post-Hunger Games. The new arena was as I pictured it, with the exception of the beach. I visualized more sand, ha. I didn’t picture the Victor’s Village as it was shown… I saw something grander, with large lush lawns, gaudy and inappropriately ornate, mocking the rest of the district.

The casting was very well done; Philip Seymour Hoffman was the perfect choice for Plutarch and, as with the first movie, I loved Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman (I think I love him in every movie he’s in – including Beethoven).  BUT here’s my one Hunger Games casting beef: Peeta. At first, I thought I wouldn’t like Gale’s casting, but I’ve warmed up to that. But now, I still can’t see Josh Hutcherson as the Peeta from the books. My book version of Peeta is bulky and boyish, clunky, well-fed. A thick but forgettable figure that doesn’t fit with his kind nature. Josh Hutcherson isn’t a terrible actor, I’m not bashing him. He just doesn’t mesh with the Peeta in my mind.

Overall, we enjoyed our trip to the movies! Catching Fire lived up to my expectations, even if it is merely a necessary bridge to Mockingjay. But, as we walked back to our car, our discussion centered not around the film, but on the raccoon snackers behind us. It gave us a good laugh, even though it was annoying! But, as I said, I’d love to hear what YOU think about Catching Fire. What did you think of the casting? The book-to-film transition? The production as a whole? Comment with your thoughts! 🙂

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