The second film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, “Catching Fire,” opened on Nov. 21 with the largest debut of all time for the month.
The film received strong reviews from critics, but fans of the book, including myself, wanted more. Although the film remained relatively true to the book, I felt important scenes in the book were excluded from the film.
In the book Haymitch, a former game winner and mentor to Katniss and Peeta, suffers traumatic flashbacks from his time in the games. He then tells the pair what happened to his family as a result of his victory.
During the games, Haymitch used a force field to his advantage, killing his final opponent. In doing so, he embarrasses the Capitol, much like Katniss did in her final act of the Hunger Games. President Snow was so angry over Haymitch’s defiance he had his family killed. This event resulted in Haymitch becoming an alcoholic and drug abuser.
I found this to be one of the most profound and important events in the book, and was disappointed to see it omitted in the film.
Besides that, overall I felt “Catching Fire” was an improvement from the original movie.
The characters grew significantly, especially Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta. The character was a bit of an afterthought in the first film, so I was pleased with how director Francis Lawrence made Peeta a more realized character.
The new characters added to the film also attracted positive and negative reviews. Some fans didn’t think actor Sam Claflin was attractive enough to play the role of District 4 winner Finnick Odair.
Delta student Katelyn Arata didn’t have the same feeling.
“I personally found Finnick to be a very attractive male,” Arata said. “The way he portrayed Finnick also added to his attractiveness. Especially since it was the way that Finnick carried himself that made him such an attractive character.”
Many, including Arata, said sometimes fans of books can be incredibly picky when their favorite books are adapted for the big screen. “I think when reading the book, the reader becomes attached to characters for reasons regarding their personal experiences and beliefs,” Arata said. “So when a movie is adapted, the actors or directors may take different path, so the reader may disagree with that adaption.”
Although I missed a few scenes, “Catching Fire” was a huge improvement from the first movie. The sequel increased my excitement for the final two films, with the final book, “Mockingjay,” being split in two.