I read all three of the books on holiday in Malta last year, getting so desperate when I finished the first one that I almost instantly dragged Husband into the nearest mall to buy the next two. It was my first proper foray into the world of YA, a world that I’ve since immersed myself in. The first film was a little disappointing which I think is the general consensus, but I have grown to love it. But I don’t think it’s a surprise that I love the second one even more.
The costumes, the visual effects, the world – everything felt bigger and more mature. The opening scenes over the woodland just looked epic, and the colours were beautiful. District 12 looked haunting in the snow, and they made the Capitol feel intimidating instead of impressive (a very nice touch).
Jennifer Lawrence was flawless as Katniss, as was Josh Hutcherson although I did miss certain scenes from the book between the two of them that didn’t make it to the film; the reluctant friendship that built up on their tour and the unrequited love that Peeta had for Katniss (awww!). I unconditionally love Peeta and knowing what’s coming up for him is almost too painful to think about. Elizabeth Banks broke my heart, as did Lenny Kravtiz, and Woody Harrelson was wonderful.
I wasn’t initially sold on Sam Clafin as Finnick, a character who I enjoyed in Catching Fire and adored in Mockingjay, and I know the internet was quite mean about him, but I think he did a great job. The utter desolation Finnick experiences in the Jabberjay scene was depicted so beautifully by Sam and he completely won me over. Jena Malone was also equally brilliant (and had great hair) and I’m sad we didn’t get to see more of her. Every time Johanna cursed the Capitol, I winced.
It was so great to see such a faithful adaptation to the book. The addition of scenes between President Snow and Plutarch Heavensbee, despite not being in the book, were a welcome departure from the original story which expanded the world beyond Katniss’s point of view. The film was quite long, but it didn’t feel it as the pacing was spot on, so I can understand why certain scenes didn’t make it to screen. They could easily make two films out of Catching Fire (although conversely, I can’t see how they’re going to make Mockingjay into two films, but we’ll see).
As expected from me, I cried pretty much constantly, from the moment District 11 showed their support on the Victory Tour, to the very last shot of Katniss. It was a mistake to wear eyeliner. It was emotional, gripping, tense and incredibly satisfying. Now, excuse me whilst I book my second viewing…