World's Oldest Fledgling

The blog of Stephanie Wardrop, Y A Author

Go Catch CATCHING FIRE

on November 25, 2013

220px-Jennifer_Lawrence_by_Gage_Skidmore

Brief notes on Catching Fire, the second in the Hunger Games series:

It’s a bit longer than the first because it covers almost everything in the book. I could only think of one or two very minor elements that were skipped (such as Katniss’ bogus talent to display on the Victory Tour).

The Victory Tour is subtly chilling, and I couldn’t help but think about how Jennifer Lawrence’s real life ever since the first HG movie came out and she won the Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook must have felt like Katniss’ tour . She’s dressed up, paraded around, and has people scream at her as a symbol of all sorts of things.  I don’t blame her for freaking out a bit. Check out this clip from Jezebel. JLaw for Queen of the Universe.

The costumes are even better in this installment, and, as has been much reported, more varied in their fabulousness. Cinna’s mockingjay wedding dress is fabu, and Effie’s butterfly outfit is worth the price of the movie ticket.

Speaking of Effie, the moment when she breaks, finally recognizing that the games are not really fun or fabulous but cruel and senseless, marks Elizabeth Banks as an unexpected master of subtlety. There’s a little less Haymitch than before, but Woody Harrelson still rocks, and Philip Seymour Hoffman gets more to do than Plutarch did in the book – there are more scenes of him playing his double game, throwing a “wrinkle” into both President Snow’s plans and the Quarter Quell.  The casting for this installment of the series was spot-on all around, with Jeffrey Wright as a smart, sophisticated, frightened Beete; Lynn Cohen as a sweet, brave, and utterly dignified Mags, walking into the fog for the cause; a hunky but tormented Finnick in Sam Claflin; and a tough-as-nails axe-wielding Johanna played by Jenna Malone. The elevator scene is really funny.

At the 3:00 show I saw, there were at least as many boys in the audience as there were girls, and of all ages. There were older couples, groups of young girls, families with smallish children – it has wide appeal, clearly. Though the day has not yet come when there are no longer “boy” books and “girl” books and debate still wages over whether a boy can or should read a girl book, at least this film adaptation of a “girl” book has crossed over. Because there are strong characters, both male and female, and a complex, engrossing story. And that’s what should matter.

Buttercup the cat is still a jerk.

Like Katniss, you may find it harder, after watching the film, to cheer exclusively for Team Gale or Team Peeta.

220px-Josh_Hutcherson_by_Gage_Skidmore  220px-Liam_Hemsworth_by_Gage_Skidmore

Go see it and tell me what you think. Just remember who the real enemy is (exorbitant popcorn prices?) And weigh in on the newest Jezebel debate, please.  No, not whether Catching Fire is a rip-off of The Empire Strikes Back. On whether Peeta is dumb.

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