I decided to wait until all the hype had died down before watching Catching Fire as I didn't want it to give me any false expectations and I'm so glad I did. Catching Fire is a really great film that's actually even better than the first film in this trilogy, The Hunger Games.
Some time has passed after the end of The Hunger Games and Katniss and Peeta have not spoken to each other at all since returning to District 12. Catching Fire opens on the day of the 'Victory Tour' around the country and President Snow unexpectedly arrives to tell Katniss that he is angry with her for sparking what could be a rebellion in all the districts. He wishes her to convince the public that the threat to eat the poisonous berries in the arena was an act of love and not one of rebellion or else he'll hurt her loved ones. Katniss reluctantly agrees but as the tour gets started and they move through each district, they see more and more acts of rebellion in the crowds and become more and more horrified by the Capitol's brutal treatment of these rebels. Later, it is announced that for the 75th Hunger Games, the third Quarter Quell, there will be a twist and the volunteers will be picked from the pool of previous victors. Katniss and Peetasoon find themselves back in the arena, this time with allies Finnick and Mags from District 4, and things are even more brutal before.
Catching Fire has you gripping the edge of your seat from the very beginning. Now I know that sounds like a massive cliché, but it is actually true! There is such a tense atmosphere in this film as rebellion seems to be brewing and no one knows who to trust. This film is highly exciting and much flashier than The Hunger Games but this is definitely a good thing. The special effects are much better and highly impressive, as is the setting and the costumes.
Although this is quite an action packed film, there were also many very emotional scenes in which I was on the point of tears in. This plot is actually quite moving as a lot of people are wronged and killed unjustly throughout the series and I'm glad that this more melancholic tone was able to shine through as well. That said, there are also several funny parts so it's not too depressing.
I really liked the way that Katniss' character has developed since The Hunger Games. She was always a strong and brave character, but she's put up even more walls between herself and everyone else and seems to have age several years since she went into the arena. Although she is admirable, she is not always the most likeable of characters as she comes across as a little cold. In Catching Fire we see the relationship between Katniss and Peeta develop some more and we see more of Katniss' sensitive side which is interesting. Jennifer Lawrence continues to portray Katniss as a very real and raw character and seems to get it just right.
I was a little disappointed by Peeta's part in this film as I felt that he didn't have a substantial role. Although he was often being talked about or seen on screen, he doesn't do a great deal of talking and his presence wasn't felt very strongly in my opinion. There were lots of sweet moments from Peeta but apart from these Peeta/Katniss moments, I don't think he was given much attention. I got the impression that Peeta doesn't really exist without Katniss which I did not get from the books. Although I expect Katniss to have a more dominant role, not least because she is the more dominant character, I still thought that there would be lots of emphasis on Peeta's character.
This film is much more exciting than the first film as there are lots of new characters who all bring new plot developments with them. Finnick Odair, played by Sam Claflin, is a really great addition to the cast as he is both funny and serious, not to mention extremely hot! His other films coming out this year include Love, Rosie and The Riot Club, the two films I am most eagerly anticipating this year so I think Sam Claflin will be one to watch!
Catching Fire was my favourite book in The Hunger Games book series and it will probably be my favourite in the film adaption too. The plot is a lot more intricate in this instalment with many twists and turns that keep you on your toes. Whether or not you've read the books, this is a must see film, though I would highly recommend watching the first film first so that you truly understand what they are fighting for in part two. This film is very long, lasting almost two and a half hours, but at no point during that time did I feel bored in the slightest. Time passed very quickly and before long the credits were rolling and I still wanted more! Speaking of the ending, Catching Fire ends on a massive cliffhanger so you absolutely must see it before watching the next instalment Mockingjay which comes out in November 2014.