The Hunger Games / Catching Fire (movies)

Whatever Lovefilm is called now sent me “The Hunger Games” and I had “Catching Fire” queued up on Netflix for when this happened. It happened. What happened? A double-bill of Katniss Everdeen that’s what happened.

I was prepared to be disappointed by “The Hunger Games” having heard mixed reviews from my friends, but I enjoyed it immensely and in fact it was one of those rare occasions where I enjoyed a film adaptation of a book rather more than the original book. I’m now scratching my head and trying to think of a previous time that’s happened, and you know I can’t.

The cast were excellent – Woody Harrelson as Haymitch and Elizabeth Banks as Effie were particularly good and it was great to see veteran sci-fi star Donald Sutherland doing a turn as the president of the Capitol. The plot stays pretty true to the book with the usual shortcuts in storytelling that are required in film adaptations – this was also true for “Catching Fire” and in the second film the cast was still further enhanced, not least by the late great Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Heavensbee.

Both films were able to tell the story from more angles than just Katniss’s POV, but didn’t stray too far from having her centre stage. Jennifer Lawrence is brilliant as Katniss by the way. She plays it with the proper level of detachment, fear, fakery and passion that is inherent in the character.

They key scenes in the both books are played out almost beat for beat on the screen and as you can imagine (if you read my previous post) I was hoping for great things for the ‘costume change’ in “Catching Fire” and was not disappointed, although seeing it immediately made me think of ‘Black Swan’.

All in all it was a good night’s viewing and I’m looking forward to reading the final book and seeing the screen adaptations – they’re doing a ‘Potter’ and splitting “Mockingjay” into two parts.

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