Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.
Jennifer Lawrence Through the Years
Visually, it is a feat. The attention to detail is remarkable. Lawrence, along with screenwriters Michael Hardt and Suzanne Collins herself, manages to weave in all of the necessary set up to the upcoming war against The Capitol without it feeling tedious or heavy-handed. The new additions to the cast, most notably Philip Seymor Hoffman's Plutarch Heavensbee and Sam Claflin's Finnick O'Dair, are excellent, and the dialogue is much less wooden than, forgive me, the dialogue in the books sometimes is. Moreover, it is impressive that even with so many new people and so many moving parts, the central thread of Rebellion shines through.
Of course, with so much plot, so much to set up, one can hardly blame Catching Fire for falling short in the emotional department--as is, it clocks in at 2 hours and 26 minutes--but I did find myself wanting some steamier Peeta/Katniss action. I was disappointed by Lawrence's apparent disregard for the relationship between Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence, no relation) and Peeta (the incomparable Josh Hutcherson). To me, Catching Fire is about Peeta. It's the Peeta show.
Here's the thing: Katniss is supposed to be conflicted, not indifferent about Peeta. In the paper version, the reader, and by extension Katniss herself, feels truly torn between Gale and Peeta. She can't help but slowly fall in love with Peeta, who is so charming and funny and relentlessly Good. In this iteration, Katniss and Peeta have little to no chemistry, and Peeta only speaks when it is necessary to move the plot forward. Gale, on the other hand, is 6'4 and literally a Hemsworth. That he is a Hemsworth is no one's fault, I guess, but maybe Peeta should have been allowed to say some of the cute stuff he says in the books.
The "adults" in the cast--Woody Harrelson's Haymitch and Donald Sutherland's President Snow have much meatier roles than they do in the books. To their credit, they are fantastic. But I can't help but wonder how much more potent this movie could have been if Lawrence had trusted his young stars a bit more with the emotional heavy lifting.
Though it fell a bit short of exceptional, Catching Fire is by no means a Sophomore Slump, and I look forward to watching Mockingjay Part 1 on the big screen when it comes out!
- Jun 7, 2020