‘Catching Fire’ burns through box office records


Murray Close/MCT

Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson, left) and Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

To the victor go the spoils. However, in the Games, victory means murder and the spoils are the agonizing nightmares that followed. No  real winners remain when lives are the price, only survivors.

“Catching Fire” begins with Katniss and Peeta returning home after their survival of the Hunger Games. Both of their lives are now supposed to be filled with great luxury; however, constant memories and nightmares of those who died in the arena cloud their joy. Later, Katniss learns  her family and friends are all in jeopardy because of uprisings in the districts that were sparked by her single act of defiance. As the Victory Tour begins, Katniss has to prove her undying love for Peeta to President Snow while she combats her own personal feelings for Gale. As the Victory Tour comes to an end and the uprisings in the districts only become worse, the Capitol thinks of a new way to put the citizens of Panem in their place. Thus begins the 75th annual Hunger Games.

The newest installation of the Hunger Games is exceptional. The two and a half hour film kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. In fact, the movie is so full of action, love, adventure and comedy it actually seems rushed, which is a surprising compliment. Personally, I would have loved to see more of the individual districts on the Victory Tour, as well as more about the tributes for the 75th Hunger Games.

Jennifer Lawrence does a phenomenal job portraying the ‘Girl on Fire.’ From playful and kind to angry and defensive, Lawrence shows the entire emotional spectrum of Katniss Everdeen. Josh Hutcherson also does a fantastic job portraying the bread baking and lovestruck Peeta, while Liam Hemsworth portrays the protective and loyal Gale. The love triangle grows cold in this film when President Snow dips his nose into it.

An interesting character that was unexpectedly developed was Effie Trinket. Elizabeth Banks turns this naïve Capitol citizen into a caring motherly figure. Banks brings the emotions I would expect Katniss’ mother back home to be feeling when her daughter is not there. It is an emotional side of her that was not exposed before. Haymitch Abernathy, played by Woody Harrelson, and Cinna, played by Lenny Kravitz, are also characters that are further developed into guardian types.

The scenery of the entire movie was exceptional. The Capitol scenes were magnificent, while each district’s scenery perfectly represented the districts’ occupations. The arena was just as exceptional, and the effects in the arena could pass as real life. Although, the quality of the some scenes may need to be turned down. I didn’t really need to see a string of saliva connecting Gale to Katniss.

The score is spectacular. The artists on the soundtrack include bands such as Coldplay, Christina Aguilera, Of Monsters and Men, Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers and many more. This incredible soundtrack expertly portrays the emotions of the scene through music, making each scene much more dramatic. Coldplay’s “Atlas,” the first song on the album, has already brought in the Hollywood Song Award.

In the opening weekend of the film, “Catching Fire” raised over $160 million, breaking the previous November record of $146 million of “Twilight Saga: New Moon” and cementing it as the fourth highest opening weekend of all time.

The movie franchise is based off of the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The movie adaptation of the second book stays true to the novel. While only leaving out a few miniscule details, the entire movie is a wonderful mirror of the novel.

“Catching Fire” is one the best movies of the year. It is a must-see movie for anyone who enjoys action, romance, adventure and drama. It is definitely worth the time and money. Fans should be looking out for “Mockingjay,” the next installment of this movie phenomenon coming out in late next year.