The Hunger Games' escalation in popularity reached new heights from the moment The Hunger Games was released on DVD. It smashed the Box Office on cinema release but with the gradual announcements of casting for the new characters, it built up the anticipation, plus the DVD release gain more fans. Including myself, fans of the film read the books, eagerly awaiting the result.
I booked my Catching Fire tickets at the BFI IMAX the minute they were available. And I am so glad I did. The experience was amazing. The opportunity to see the first film at the IMAX was not available. Another reason the experience was so amazing was that it was NOT in 3D. 3D is pointless and I was so glad to hear the successful franchise had not gone down that gimmick road.
But before I start delving into the film, first we must marvel at the media campaign. The Capitol portraits were released very slowly, one or two at a time. These works of beauty came after the initial Victory Tour posters. When they first appeared, I was screaming at my laptop with excitement. I surprise myself at how much I love this franchise.
Any fans of the book knows what to expect. The films picks up a few months after the 74th Hunger Games ended. Katniss is back in District 12 and living in the Victor's Village, right opposite Peeta, whom she hasn't really spent time with at all. She and Peeta are about to go on their Victory Tour, where they visit each district and end up in the Capitol. President Snow makes a surprise visit, warning Katniss that the incident with the berries in the games, caused a stir in the districts, hints of rebellion. He threatens Katniss to make the districts believe she defied the Capitol for love alone, other wise, he insinuates that Gale, her family, her district would suffer. In so many words. This sets up the film. For those who don't read the book, I won't say anymore apart from the obvious, seen in the trailers.
Katniss and Peeta indeed go back into the arena for the 75th Hunger Games, the 3rd Quarter Quell, These games are special. The games are given a twist, for instance in previous games, the Districts were forced to vote in the tributes and for the previous Quarter Quell, twice as many tributes were sent into the games. Haymitch is actually the victor from the 50th Hunger Games. These facts aren't mentioned in the film, but they paint the background to how special these games are. This time, the tributes are reaped from the pool of existing victors. District 12 only has 3 victors, 2 male, 1 female. New characters are introduced, including the fan favourite, Finnick Odair, the tribute from District 4 and Johanna Mason, tribute from District 7.
Catching Fire is my favourite book out of the trilogy, I am thrilled the film did it justice. My reasons are:
- the fantastic new characters, all the tributes carry a story, it might not be focused on much in the film, but you can feel it.
- The twist in the reaping is exciting and not, as some have moaned, a recycle of the first film.
- Its realistic in the story narrative, characters are killed, it is the Hunger Games.
- The scene where Peeta and Katniss give speeches about Thresh and Rue in District 11 are very moving.
- The arena is a work of genius 'tick tock tick tock'
- An obvious reason, the private moments shared between Peeta and Katniss. Gale is lame. I do not like Gale.
Again for those non readers, you are in for an amazing treat at the end of the film, truly. I'll say no more.
Back to the IMAX experience. If you can see it on an IMAX screen, do it, ust for the amazing moment when the screen opens out, completely filling the screen as Katniss elevates up into the arena.
I managed to see the World Premiere of the film in London from the comfort of my home. I was working that day, otherwise I would have attempted going in person. You have hopefully still watch it here.
This is a link to Empire magazine's review, here. I believe they were just so recommend a read of it.
I have to admit I saw the film twice a few days apart. That's how good it was.
One last thing, remember who the enemy is.