Catching Fire begins precisely where the Hunger Games leaves off-with Catniss and Peta returning to District 12 as victors. She continues to hunt with Gale, but has obviously been affected from the games. She hallucinates about killing a person while aiming for wild turkeys. A touch of PTSD? Not in the book, but I like the added touch.
The audience is led to believe that Peta is out and Gale is in as they share a romantic kiss. Her glory days are immediately cut short when returning home. President Snow awaits and then threatens her because of her defiance of almost committing suicide (poisoned berries) during the last Hunger Game. He explains that this very act has become a symbol in an ongoing rebellion. Catniss agrees to act like a promoter for the Capitol rather than a dissident, immediately offering to continue her staged romance with Peta.
While on the Victory Tour, Catniss is greeted by crowds with an odd but unified hand salute. SPOILER ALERT: Fans, the movie people decide to end the foreshadowing while Suzanne Collins infuses more clues of how the districts plan for an overthrow.
President Snow, with the advice of Plutarch, issues a special Hunger Games that comprises of all of the victors who are still alive over the last 75 years. Like all of the games, this one can only have one winner.
During training, Catniss and Peta find their allies-Nuts and Bolts, a couple of winners who won from intelligence and out-of-the-box thinking, Finnick, a champion who Hamish's picked for them, and lastly Mags, an old woman who won decades before but is a mother figure to Finnick and he won't leave her. Joanna, another champion who is very outspoken against the Capitol, joins them later.
The special Hunger Game takes place on an island filled with deadly obstacles such as wild monkeys, lightning, poisonous fog, and tidal waves. Through team work, they stay alive. Nuts and Bolts help Catniss figure out the pattern of the natural disasters-a clock layout. They devise a plan with electricity to ruin the game but fail. In anger and desperation, Catniss tries something else. Without spoiling the ending too much-and the ending is almost identical to the book, Catniss prevails. But at what cost? You'll have to read the third book and wait for the third movie.
My Opinion: The special effects were outstanding. Some movies have a video game look to them-not this one. Like the book, themes of government oppression ran rampant. I especially loved when Catniss was shot up with a "tracking vaccine"-think twice about getting unnecessary vaccinations!!!!! The acting was superb. Jennifer Lawrence is quickly becoming one of my favorite movie stars. She is so beautiful, but in a non-classical way. At times she looks quite ordinary but then transforms into something extraordinary. And she also has a body to die for! The costumes in the movie surpassed the description in the book. I loved the wedding gown/mocking jay dress and the fire outfits that Catniss and Peta wore to the games. The book told the story through Catniss's eyes, but the director occasionally took the camera back to what the Capitol is doing, adding another perspective to the story. This is my favorite book out of the three and my favorite movie for 2013-a 5 star no-brainer! Oscar worthy? Tell me what you think and leave a comment!