Like every other book-reading teen on the planet, I love the Hunger Games series. When the first movie rolled around, however, I left the midnight premiere majorly disappointed. I was unhappy with the casting, effects and disloyalty to the core of what our beloved story of The Girl Who Was on Fire is truly about.
Given my previous experience, I walked into the 8 p.m. showing of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire last night with low expectations. I heard rumors that this adaptation was more loyal to the book, but I wasn't sure that would be enough to win me over. To my delighted surprise, 30 minutes into the almost two and a half hour film, I was sure that this movie would live up to everything I wanted it to be.
Everything was how I imagined it reading the novel two years ago. The characters, the districts and the arena all immensely improved from the franchise's opening. It was much more focused on the twisted ways of the Capitol and the brewing rebellion than the love triangle the first film seemed to revolve around.
After Hunger Games, I wasn't sold on Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson as District 12's tributes, Katniss and Peeta, but after their performances in Catching Fire, I could not be more pleased with the casting of these movies. Lawrence's portrayal of Katniss was true to her book equivalent. She had several intense scenes in this movie, and each was poignant and believable. Hutcherson's Peeta earned your sympathy, yet his strength was not lost in excessive pity. The new additions like Plutarch, Finnick and Johanna also did not disappoint in the slightest.
Another perfect thing about Catching Fire was the pacing. The victory tour, the preparations for the games and the time in the arena each had enough time to cover the important events, while nothing dragged on too long. The tributes' time in the arena kept you on the edge of your seat. Suspense and anticipation buzzed in the theater; my friends and I left with an adrenaline rush because of it.
The closing scene not only concluded the movie in a spectacular way, with amazing acting by J-law, but also set up the start of the next film, which we'll all be waiting for impatiently. All in all, my low expectations were blown away. I will definitely be going to see Catching Fire again.