Book vs. Movie: Catching Fire

catching_fire_book_movieAfter anxiously awaiting the Catching Fire release for more than a year, my friends and I entered the theatre with impossibly high expectations and suppositions regarding the film interpretation of the story.

I am extremely impressed with the movie adaptation and feel that the director really captured the mood and included all the essential aspects that were required in order to stay true to Collins’ series.

One eminent facet that made for such an unforgettable movie experience is the actors’ unerring ability to flawlessly represent their characters. Jennifer Lawrence was lethal and brilliant. I felt that she portrayed Katniss perfectly and easily managed her vast range of emotions. As for Josh Hutcherson, I felt that he got to demonstrate Peeta’s brave and daring side a bit more than in the first movie, in which I felt he was depicted as too weak and potentially breakable.

As amazing as this movie is, I must say that I am disappointed that one of my favorite quotes didn’t make it into the film.

“I wish I could freeze this moment, right here, right now, and live in it forever.”  -Peeta

“Okay.” -Katniss

Although some of my friends dismissed this as trivial and unimportant, I was sad that it didn’t make the cut. I believe that that day (when they have a picnic on the roof of the training center right before they enter the arena…again) was truly the turning point of their relationship and the beginning of Katniss’ metaphorical fall for Peeta.

For all the Liam Hensworth fans out there, I guarantee you will not be disappointed; Gale’s screen time is nearly equal to Peeta’s. One thing that differs from the book is the cause of the whipping of Gale. In the book, he is discovered by Peacekeepers with a dead wild turkey; in the movie, he attacks Head Peacekeeper Thread in order to protect the life of a Hobber. Even though I greatly favor the book, I believe that this decided change was representative of his character, and displayed his hate, “fire,” and volatility toward the Capitol.

We readers knew they would have to make some alterations when transferring the book to screen, and were frustrated to see Bonnie, Twill, and Darius be among those changes. Although, upon viewing, I agree that it was unnecessary for Katniss to have suspicions about District 13’s existence when nothing happens as a result of her knowledge until she’s told by Plutarch when traveling there. I also understand that introducing a lot of characters without the required back-stories would have made it difficult for nonreaders to understand.

For those of you who haven’t seen it yet and are wondering, cut scenes include when the fence is electrified and Katniss hurts her ankle jumping from a tree, Katniss and Peeta’s day of bonding on the roof, Katniss’s wedding gown photo shoot and on-camera “talent” display, Peeta’s paintings, and the secret bread code.

Plutarch does not have mockingjay watch in the movie, although he does hint that he is loyal to the rebels by saying something along the lines of, “Well perhaps it was you that inspired me to step up [and become Head Gamemaker].”

The addition of the scenes between President Snow and Plutarch were honestly some of my favorites in the film. Because in the book we are limited to viewing only what Katniss does, in the movie we encounter the corrupt leaders discussing their strategies, which added suspense, emotion, and a deeper understanding of the President’s character that will be essential for nonreaders to comprehend Katniss’s reasoning at the resolution of Mockingjay.

In the movie, Effie gets a chance to say goodbye to Katniss and Peeta, whereas in the book, they pass the farewell along through Haymitch.

One addition to the movie that I really liked and appreciated was the incorporation of President Snow’s granddaughter. To me, her lines were the most memorable and emphasize on Katniss’s influence on the Capitol citizens. She is wearing her hair in Katniss’s signature side-Dutch braid when Snow asks her, “When did you start wearing your hair like that?” to which she responds, “Everyone at school wears their hair like this now.” After Peeta hits the force field and is brought back by Finnick, she states, “When I grow older, I want someone to love me like that.” This statement brought Snow to the realization that Katniss really did care about Peeta one way or another, which Katniss later commemorates in Mockingjay by saying something along the lines of, “It seems that I did convince him, and by doing so, I gave him the last tool he needed to break me.”

One factor that was partially included was Snow’s history of coming to power (the story of which could be included in Mockingjay). In the book, Katniss is horrified by the smell of blood on his lips when he whispers to her, “By the way, I know about the kiss,” (something that was omitted and replaced in the film by the use of holographic display). Also in the movie, Snow drinks from a goblet, and then back-washes blood, something I believe to be foreshadowing, an allusion of his death provided to the movie-viewing audience.

Catching Fire was truly unforgettable and I am unable to encompass how relieved I am that the director and producers didn’t abolish such an amazing sci-fi story with another futile attempt to “give the people what they want,” as their brethren have done with so many other incredible books.

In rapid summation, I present Catching Fire with ten stars (out of five…obviously).

I loved the movie but was extremely depressed upon the film’s conclusion and left the theatre sighing and thinking, “Well…only 364 more days until the release of Mockingjay Part 1…” And I continue to count down the days…

Overall, a great book transformed into a great movie.

A must see for both readers and nonreaders alike.


{I apologize for any quotes that were not exactly spot-on; I was reciting them from memory.}

Did you see it? What did you think?

-Danielle K., 8th grade

11 thoughts on “Book vs. Movie: Catching Fire

  1. Wow! You seem like a die-hard Hunger Games fanatic! Although I love the series, I have definitely not memorized it quote-by-quote! Great review!

  2. Good to know I wasn’t the only one confused when Plutarch didn’t show Katniss his watch! On the other hand, I’m now seriously depressed that they left out the talent display. I had totally forgotten about that!

  3. The roof scene was one of my favorites; I didn’t like how they cut it out either. I still loved this movie, probably even more than the first.

  4. Great job!! I agree. I really liked the lines taken directly from the book. And Buttercup’s alternate appearance. Hmmm… oh- and I thought it was hilarious when Snow’s granddaughter was saying all these cute things about Katniss and Peeta, and Snow’s just like ‘Wat. Wat.’ So yeah. Great review.

  5. Great review! I just saw it today…my favorite add-ins were the moments with Pres Snow and his granddaughter. You could just see him seething! I also loved who they cast as the new game maker (forget his name). Oh, and one more thing…loved the white gown scene!!! Nice comprehensive job on the review D!!!

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