Friday, 20 December 2013

Film vs. Book: Catching Fire

For those of you who read my Hunger Games film vs book review, you more than likely picked up on the fact that I wasn't overly fond of the film. I thought it to be an okay representation of the novel. Catching Fire, meanwhile, was ... AWESOME! Unlike The Hunger Games, I felt that Catching Fire did a much better job of portraying the feel of the books. Like The Hunger Games, Catching Fire did an excellent job with the time on how much was spent on The Capitol/Districts and how much was spent in the actual games. Now, I have heard a few people complain that there was too much time in The Capitol, which I strongly disagree with. Like The Hunger Games film, our time is spent about half in the districts/Capitol and half in the Games. Plus, one of the main purposes of Catching Fire is showing the pitfalls of being a celebrity and the fact that you can never really stop acting. Catching Fire also shows the other ways that The Capitol can control the districts, and the film captured it beautifully. Overall, the acting was fantastic, the musical score wonderfully places, and the story paced well. In fact, dare I say I enjoyed the movie even more than the book? Now, there was still a couple things I would have liked to see, but more of the good first.

One of the things I liked about the film more was it was better paced. A lot of this had to do with cutting out and skimming bits, especially the love triangle.Now, I am not completely against love triangles but neither am I a huge fan of them. However, I didn't mind it as much in the Hunger Games trilogy for two major reasons. One: it wasn't the main focus nor did Katniss push aside more important matters to worry about which boy she liked more. It was just another problem, something that happened. Two: it helped to bring home the fact that Katniss really didn't have a choice due to Snow and the Games. The Capitol controlled her life. Still, I am glad that the movie shortened the romance bit. I felt it dragged a little too much in the book (not enough for me to be annoyed though). Effie is also able to shine a lot more here than in the book and had several scenes that could strike an emotional cord. Actually, all the characters get to shine a lot more in the Catching Fire film (with the exception of Gale) so that the audience ought to become as invested as us readers (one of the major issues I had with The Hunger Games film). Oh, bit I could go on and on about all the things the movie got right, but let us focus on what it did better. Personally, I found the movie handled Katniss's PTSD more favourably. That isn't to say the book did a poor job; however, the film managed to show the severity and trauma to a much greater extent.

Of course, not everything can be perfect. Although there were a few things I would have liked to see such as [Book spoiler] one of the old peacekeepers getting turned into an Avox [end spoiler] or the new peacekeepers trying to trap Katniss in the woods by turning on the electricity in the fence, the movie still soared without them. Yes, they were nice moments, but they weren't needed. Really, there was only one thing I wish they had added. There is this one scene in the book where Katniss comes across some fugitives. This scene introduces Katniss to the fact that the mockingjay is being used as a symbol of revolution (though the film managed to capture this well). It also talks more about District 13. Yes, the film mentions District 13, but it only comes up three times, not really a lasting impact. In the book, Katniss is told that The Capitol has been using the same footage of a ruined District 13 for years. Katniss is then told you can tell by a bit of mockingjay wing in the corner. When Katniss sees this for herself, she starts to wonder if maybe District 13 does exist. I feel this scene would have made District 13 more important in our minds, something that could possibly last for a year until the next film came out. Granted, the film still did a wonderful job without it, and it was my only large complaint. Even if that exact scene wasn't in the movie, I really wished they had pushed District 13 a little bit more.

Overall, this was a great adaptation and I may even say better than the book (we all know how rare that is). The film portrays the characters wonderfully. It gives you the information you need while keeping a good pace and remaining entertaining. Not only that but the film also emotes the cruelty, the sadness, and the horror, which helps get you invested in the revolution and the plot. In one word: brilliant! I would definitely check it out. 

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