Catching Fire: Burning Hot in the Box Office

By Alex Lim
Katniss Everdeen, “The Girl on Fire”, returns to the big screen in Catching Fire, the sequel to the box office hit The Hunger Games. The movie, which hit theaters on Nov. 22, was the fourth highest grossing movie of all time during its opening weekend.
After winning the 74th annual Hunger Games in the previous movie, Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, and Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson, must face the repercussions of their actions at the end of the first film. Their defiance towards the game draws suspicion and alarms authorities. President Snow personally visits Katniss with one request – to convince the uprising districts of her love for Peeta and loyalty to the Capitol. With her friends and family at risk, Katniss has no choice but to comply with Snow’s request. With the nation’s integrity at stake, President Snow has no choice but to crush “The Girl on Fire.” Thus begins the 75th annual Hunger Games, The Quarter Quell.
To sum up my reaction in one sentence, Catching Fire was a “religious experience.” This movie is a tear-jerking pilgrimage to a world vastly different from our own. Yet viewers relate through the little things in life that we all experience: fear and hope, anger and love.
While I loved Catching Fire by the end of the film, I have to confess that I was a bit skeptical at first. Considering the change in directors, from Gary Ross who directed the first movie to Francis Lawrence who directed the second, I was reasonably concerned about the connection between the two movies. However, the successful sequel proved to be a seamless continuation of the trilogy. Some much needed improvements were addressed as well, notably the infamous shaky camerawork, AKA “monkey cam,” of the first movie.
As a whole, the movie adaptation fits the storyline of the novel rather accurately. However, a number of scenes from the book were either removed or changed because in reality, there is no way to cram more than 300 pages of content into a two-hour movie.
One last tip: make sure you go to the bathroom before the movie starts, or you will have to sit through the movie thinking, “Tick tock. Tick tock.”