Quickly Catching Fire


Amanda Lira

On Friday, Nov. 22, director Francis Lawrence releases The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in the United States to continue The Hunger Games franchise based on the books by Suzanne Collins. “Atlas” by alternative rock band Coldplay peaked high on the charts as the lead single for the movie’s soundtrack.

Edward Valencia, Writer/Parents and Teachers Editor

On Friday, Nov. 22, Catching Fire, the much-hyped sequel to The Hunger Games, was released to critical acclaim and quickly became a box-office smash, grossing over $150 million its opening weekend. The film is the second installment of The Hunger Games series, which are based on the best-selling books by Suzanne Collins.

The film is well paced and benefits from great acting. Jena Malone and Sam Claflin excellently portray new tributes Johanna Mason and Finnick Odair. Stanley Tucci is perfectly cast as Hunger Games commentator, Caesar Flickerman. The setting and acting create a somber and dreary atmosphere in the District 12, staying true to the books. The amount of time the movie depicts the Hunger Games is significantly shorter than its predecessor, as it also centers around Katniss and Peeta’s victory tour during the first half of the movie. The latter half of the movie feels a bit rushed; there is no ominous build up of action, and no major battle during the climax. For fans of the book, they will certainly expect a big bang at the end, and some will be disappointed by the absence of it. One can’t help but feel that the movie is simply a build up to the final installment of the series, Mockingjay.

The Hunger Games are an annual competition pitting teenagers from the twelve districts of Panem in a fight to the death. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark. The film is loyal to the novel and picks up a few weeks after Katniss and Peeta win the 74th Hunger Games and return home to a festive District 12. The celebrations are moot to Katniss because of her knowledge that the Capitol, the ruling government of Panem, is angry at her defiance during the last Hunger Games, which have ignited rebellious sentiment among the people of Panem. Katniss and Peeta are then forced to embark on a victory tour across all the districts of Panem. Despite Katniss and Peeta’s best efforts, the tour only fuels the rebellious atmosphere among the citizens of Panem. The Capitol decides to quell the unrest by using the upcoming 75th Hunger Games (the momentous Quarter Quell) to force previous victors to compete once again in the arena, of which Katniss, and subsequently Peeta, just so happen to qualify for.

Despite the somewhat anti-climactic ending, Catching Fire is a fantastic movie. Fans of the books will love the near perfect performances of the actors and the startlingly accurate portrayal of Panem. Catching Fire will excite fans as well as audiences wishing to enjoy a great movie.