Posted 11/24/2013 by alicemarvels in Behind the scenes


Francis Lawrence, thank goodness you took over the Hunger Games film franchise. No more shaky cam! Catching Fire was by far a better movie than The Hunger Games. The world of Panem is so much better fleshed out this time around, which could also be attributed to a higher budget and better special effects, but I think direction plays a large part in the improvements.

We get a more empathetic look at the characters, from the starring Victors to the supporting crew in the Capitol and the Districts. The stakes have never felt higher, and this action-packed story never once plays like a middle movie (it helps that the book that provides the source material is arguably the best in the series). It’s a more intense, emotional story that feels deftly guided, though never too polished.


Our favorite parts in Catching Fire:

The Romance

Katniss and Gale CATCHING FIRE

Even if you’re SO over the Team Gale vs. Team Peeta debate, there can be no doubt the romance between Katniss and both these guys is a driving force in the books, and it was largely ignored in the first movie. There is a lot more romantic tension before and during the Quarter Quell with Gale and Peeta, and we see Katniss convincingly torn in both directions as she tries to stay alive and keep her loved ones safe from President Snow.


Effie Trinket Grows a Heart

Effie Trinket Cries Reaping CATCHING FIRE

Finally Effie steps out from being a total caricature, and actually becomes a character with feelings! I love Elizabeth Banks’ portrayal of Effie—she can make me laugh and tear up in the same moment.


Caesar Flickerman

Caesar Flickerman CATCHING FIRE

I could not be more pleased with Stanley Tucci’s performance as Caesar Flickerman. He was even more ebullient and hilariously appalling in this installment. He and Effie do a good job of showing us the insane theatrics of the Capitol, but with a softer side that reminds us these Capitolites are just trying to survive in their own twisted, painted and be-wigged way.


Cinna’s Handiwork

Mockingjay Dress gif CATCHING FIRE

The Victory tour costumes, the fiery chariot outfits and the big wedding dress transformation were all stunningly gorgeous. I know this fashion comes only in the excess-driven Capitol, but it is oh so LOVELY. And thankfully, in the hands of Cinna, it’s also subversive and witty as well.



Johanna Mason


Jena Malone steals pretty much every scene she’s in as axe-wielding Johanna Mason, especially the elevator scene in which we first meet her.


Mags & Finnick


If you aren’t utterly charmed by Mags and her grandmotherly relationship with Finnick, you must be missing a sensitivity chip. I wasn’t a fan of Sam being cast as Finnick, but I stand corrected. He did an amazing job as the playboy victor turned arena ally.


Nuts and Volts

Nuts and Volts CATCHING FIRE Beetee and Wiress

Beetee and Wiress may not have a ton of screen time, but their weird and endearing delivery had me smiling and wanting to give them each a hug. I would say I want to protect them from the horrors of the arena, but I think they do pretty well with their tech savvy brains and unconventional way of seeing the world, better than I could, for sure.


The Arena

The Arena clock aerial view CATCHING FIRE

Muttations, killer fog, lightning, and an interesting cornucopia and arena setup made for an action-packed Quarter Quell. The special effects were far superior to the last arena we saw on the big screen, and it made the experience even more intense.


The Final Line

Katniss Catching FIre

I’m not spoiling it for those who haven’t read Catching Fire, but the last line is as equally chilling as in the book. Jennifer Lawrence is acting her butt off in that last scene.


What Could Have Been Better:

Peeta-Katniss Chemistry


I’ll be honest, I still don’t think Katniss and Peeta have much chemistry on the big screen (maybe Jennifer and Josh are just too brother/sister-ish in real life for them to convincingly want to rip each other’s clothes off), so the film version really tempts me to switch to Team Gale. But I’m a bookish gal at heart, so my Team Peeta feels are firmly in place.



Catching Fire was a thrilling, emotional, faithful adaptation of this beloved book that had me on the edge of my seat until its last line, which stresses me out MAJORLY. I can’t wait until Mockingjay: Part 1 hits theaters.



Another take:

Ok, honestly, there’s no way we can ever outdo Peter K. Rosenthal’s review for The Onion, cause let’s face it, they say what we’ve all been thinking.

The Onion Reviews ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’



    While I enjoyed the first movie a lot, I was fully aware of the issues. And I’m so glad they’re all gone in this one! My sensitvitiy chip is working full force, I think I’ll probably end up crying from start to finish. I can’t wait to see this! So excited.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lauren! And I can totally understand being tempted to switch to team Gale, they just work better on screen, and he is so much better looking. 🙂


    I’m seeing the move tomorrow! I’m so excited. I love the way you put this review. It seems to me I’ll enjoy this one fully! 🙂 Great review 🙂


    I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THIS MOVIE!!! I’m going on Wednesday. Yep. Gotta see it. Those costumes are gorgeous and you just confirmed all I’ve heard about how much better it is than Hunger Games (though I liked that the romance wasn’t really emphasized. *shrugs*).


    I loved this movie so much! I adored the first one, but I agree this one was even better. Everything seemed to be ratcheted up several notches, from the emotional element to the special effects and I couldn’t have been more pleased. Though I’m with you on Team Gale. Liam makes me tempted to switch teems from my beloved Peeta as well. I like Josh, but he doesn’t blow me away as Peeta. That’s a minor complaint though. I can’t wait for Mockingjay!


    I can’t wait to see this, sad that the chemistry is on the needs work side of things though.


    Can’t wait to see this movie! I love how the sequel is a much stronger movie from what I’ve read and heard. I thought the first movie set the groundwork and now we can get deeper into the story. Great review!


    When it comes on Dvd, I dare not watch it in the cinema cos I did not like the first one


    Not enough screen chemistry? Booooooooooooooooooooooo.
    The rest of it sounds awesome though.


    Yay! I am so glad to read this because I was really hoping this one would be even better and it sounds like it is. Super excited to go see it now.


    I wasn’t initially happy with the Finnick casting either but Sam does do a good job, well moreso in the arena for me. Actually, the actors have all been amazing with their acting. They pull it off completely. This movie was so amazing. I hope the final 2 will be great also, even though I didn’t love the last book. 🙂


    Oh gosh I am so happy the reviews are coming in glowing. I just finished the book over the weekend, finally and I cannot wait to see it on the big screen. I am wavering between Peeta and Gale but I am moving toward Peeta, Digging into Mockingjay in between books right now. Sorry I was absent all last week. I needed a break and had family in town 🙂


    I’m really chomping at the bit to watch this one! Hopefully I’ll be able to get a sitter and attend really soon! I know that I’ll be an emotional wreck, but I’m looking forward to it. 😉


    Agreed, I didn’t feel the chemistry between Katniss and Peeta, but I definitely think this movie surpassed the first. And I’m glad I’m not the only one who saw Effie grow a heart in this sequel. 🙂 And is there any role that Jena Malone *doesn’t* rock? My husband was re-watching The Hatfields & McCoys last night, and she was brilliant in that, as well. ‘Course, she could never outshine JLaw’s performance. 🙂 I’m ready to see this again!


    one of my fave’s! the plot gets more intense, and the characters and storylinge never falter! however, the violence in the arena may be sensitive to younger kids. people die in gruesome ways; poisonous gases, bloodthirsty monkies, tsunamis, etc. peeta and katniss kiss; peeta pretends katniss is pregnant to gain favor from the croud. in the end, a large region is destroyed, where many families live. **SPOILER ALERT** however, nobody in katniss’ family is killed. anyways, an awesome book any kid over eleven should read!


    Um this onion guy needs a punch in the face

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