Reviewers Emma Williams and Aishwarya Nadgauda attended the 9 p.m. showing of “Catching Fire,” the second installment in the Hunger Games trilogy, on opening night, Nov. 21. Here are their impressions.
Emma Williams: When I saw the first “Hunger Games” movie, it impressed me. I had always thought that a movie could never live up to the expectations that a book instilled in me. I had plenty of evidence to support this hypothesis (the entire “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” series). Nonetheless, I ended up enjoying the big-screen adaptation of “The Hunger Games” more than the book. Since then, I haven’t come across the likes of such a movie-book duo . . . until now. “Catching Fire” is definitely equal to, if not better than, the splendor of the book written by Suzanne Collins.
Aishwarya Nadgauda: Hearing all the hoopla around the “Hunger Games” series, I felt obligated to read the series, even though dystopian literature is not exactly up my alley. While the society Collins created fascinated me, I failed to see what all the hype about the trilogy was about. So when I went in to watch both the first and the second movies, I was pleasantly surprised. Like you, Emma, I had become accustomed to being disappointed by the cinematic rendition of a book. However, both “Hunger Games” movies have far exceeded my expectations, particularly the second one.
EW: Agreed! There were definitely scenes in the movie where I was brought to tears that hadn’t invoked any sort of emotional response in me when I read the book. If the books didn’t make me a total fan of District 12, then the movies definitely have.
AN: And you aren’t the only one! I could tell from the beginning that the audience was filled with avid fans of “Hunger Games.” Many of the girls in the theatre had done their hair in the traditional Katniss braid, and a few others were wearing shirts with “Hunger Games” logos. There were chuckles and tears that burst out from time to time from most audience members. And I’ll admit, although I wouldn’t consider myself a “Hunger Games” groupie, I shed a few tears myself.
EW: Yeah, I definitely saw a few groupies.. There were at least two “Capital citizens” in the audience, their outfits complete with golden antennas, blue hair and extraterrestrial high heels. But once Katniss’s face appeared on the screen, all thoughts of crazily dressed fans left my mind. I was riveted from beginning to end. However, I must admit there was a time when the plot seemed to drag (during the pre-Games scenes), though this is mainly due to the structure of the story than bad acting or special effects.
AN: I beg to differ! I loved that there was extensive detail leading up to the actual Hunger Games. To begin with, it adhered closely to the plot in the book, which is always a plus point. They also gave plenty of background information during this time so people who came in not knowing the story of the first movie would have no trouble catching on. Before the movie got into the thick of the action, there was plenty of time to learn to love the characters.
EW: I see your point. I personally have always wondered how people seeing “Harry Potter” without having read the books know what the heck is going on. With “Catching Fire” it’s the exact opposite. And, as for the characters, I have definitely learned to love them—and the actors portraying them. Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss) was a superb actress in this movie. The very last scene was just of her eyes, yet somehow she got me to understand exactly what was going through Katniss’s head. Not to mention I’m now in love with Peeta.
AN: Katniss was incredible. But my favorite character was definitely Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), who did a great job of showing the audience the relationship he had with Katniss and Peeta. As for being in love with Peeta, up until about three hours ago I was sure that Gale was by far the better person for Katniss. Throughout the first book and movie I did not waver from this stance. But after watching “Catching Fire,” though I hate to admit it, I may be leaning a bit more towards Peeta!