Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Catching Fire: Book vs Film
My love of The Hunger Games is not exactly a secret but my enthusiasm for the books means that the films have a far higher bar to reach than others might. Fortunately, the filmmakers behind the first and second film in the series have done such a superb job at adapting Suzanne Collins's incredible novels that I doubt many fans will be disappointed.
Catching Fire sees Katniss and Peeta begin their victory tour and realise that the charade does not end when the tour does. As they struggle to convince President Snow they are actually in love, the lives of all those they hold dear are under threat.
All the major things you could hope to see are there in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Two new additions in the book who immediately became fan favourites - Johanna and Finnick - are captured superbly on screen by Jena Malone and Sam Claflin. Malone is hilarious and twisted and pulls off her spectacular lift scene with apparent ease. Claflin similarly appears to take portraying Finnick in his stride, providing both the charm, heart and cheekiness that Finnick requires - and that sugar cube scene.
There are of course going to be omissions but I find it is more a question of the feel of the piece - and of course the inclusion of pivotal scenes that define the characters. One big omission is that Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) doesn't get the backstory I so loved reading about in the novel. However, he remains a pivotal character in the story and the hilarious way Katniss wakes him at the start is still there for the fans to enjoy.
Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) undergoes one of the more notable transformations for the adaptation - for one thing, he can swim! It was a conscious decision by filmmakers to make Peeta a little less pathetic and 'nice' and it seems to have worked. The bond he shares with Katniss is unaltered and, though they don't really make too much of it, we do see them sleep by each other's side in order to keep the nightmares at bay.
Liam Hemsworth fans might be delighted to hear that he does get his shirt off - though it's not really the sexy scene many fans might have hoped for. His wounded portrayal of Gale, however, will no doubt still send many hearts aflutter.
Overall, the film remains beautifully true to the source text but is strong enough to stand on its own two feet and will appeal to both fans of the book and those new to the stories.
Book and film - 5 FOBLES