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Saturday, 8 February 2014

Book VS. Movie: Catching Fire

Dear friends,

** Pay attention, this post is very long, has a lot of pictures and SPOILERS! but I have poured my heart and soul into it so I hope you guys will read it and tell me what you think! :) **

Last week I was telling you about my struggle "Book VS. Movie: The Hunger Games". This Saturday I shall tell you my thoughts upon the second part of the series: "Catching Fire". The second book actually was faster to read than the first part. I picked the book up and I was unable to let it go. I got it finished in less than 3 days! I also managed to watch the movie last Sunday.
I must start this review by pointing out 3 essential things from the previous book, that were not in the movie:
  1. Peeta's loss of his lower side of his leg - while in The Arena, Katniss and Peeta (and Cato) are attacked by the mutant dogs and in the fight Peeta looses so much blood that The Capitol medics cannot "fix" him so they cut his lower part of his leg and give him a plastic-metal protesis to wear.
  2. Katniss left ear hearing ability - when Rue and Katniss are teaming up in order to destroy the food pile next to the Cornucopia, Katniss manages to blow up the food supply but in the process she completely looses her hearing with the left ear. None of the hearing issue and The Capitol medics fixing it appear in the movie - why?!
  3. The Mockingjay Pin from Madge Undersee - this is one of my fav parts from the book, that was unfortunately left out completely from the movie. When Katniss prepares to go to The Capitol for the trainings before The Arena, she is allowed to say goodbye to her friends & family for a hour. Her only friend from school comes to see her as well. Her name is Madge Undersee and she is the daughter of The Mayor of District 12. She gives Katniss the Mockingjay pin for good luck. In the movie, the pin is bought by Katniss as a gift for her little sister, Primrose - she gives it back to Katniss after The Reaping, for good luck.
Now let us come back to today's book/movie review of the "Catching Fire". Here are the few things that attracted my attention and some questions that troubled me:
  • The President drops by Katnisses house, in the Victor's Village. In the movie he already has the cup of tea and the cookies in the room. In the book, Katnisses mum knocks at the door to check if all is ok and asks if The President would like some tea. Snow is very galant and states that many people forget he is human and he has needs too, and so he gladly accepts the tea and cookies but refuses the offer of Katnisses mum to make something more substantial to eat. Also in the book we hear that President Snow smells of roses and blood. In the movie we see The President wearing a white rose to his suit + he offers Katniss, when he leaves, a single white rose (like the one he wears).
  • In the book, we hear nothing of President Snow family. Yet, in the movie, we can see the granddaughter twice. She wears the hair like Katniss in the first cameo and tells Snow that everyone in school wears it like that now.
  • At the huge party at the end of the tour, in The Capitol @ President Snow house, the Game Maker does not show Katniss the clock with the Mockingjay symbol (in the book he does!). Also there, when President Snow drinks champagne blood comes from his mouth (in the movie). Why? Is this a reference to the fact that in the book it states he smells of blood and roses? Will we learn that he has a terrible sickness?
  • In the train back to District 12 she accidentally sees the Revolution starting - the Rebellion in District 8. According to the book, Katniss is supposed to see that at The Mayor's house, back home in District 12, while searching for Madge.
  • In the movie, the Game Maker is appearing too often! Too much credit given to him - the ideea of showing parallels between Katnisses wedding VS. bringing flogging/firing squad in District 12 + closing the black market. In the book we only see him mentioned in the party @ The Capitol scene & in the ending scene. That is all!
  • Another thing that disturbed me was the love and closeness to Gale. In the book I can see clearly that Katniss loves him and Peeta and she is unsure of herself and what to do. In the movie I somehow feel that she is leaning way more into Gale!
  • The movie brought a plus into showing the Peace Keepers terorising the people in District 12: throwing their things out, searching their houses, burning the shops and flogging people for no particular reason. Which brings me to a minus (I think!) of the movie: different ideea over why Gale was flogged and how Katniss got there to see it - Gale was trying (in the movie) to get the Peace Keepers to stop beating someone and so the head officer starts flogging him (in the book, he is flogged over being caught with a turkey, from the forest). Katniss accidentally gets there in the nick of time and Gale is not passed out from the flogging (as in the book) but the Head Peace Keeper wants to shoot her. (Say what?!). The ideea of a firing squad is vehiculated a lot (not in the book, of course).
  • After the flogging they bring Gale to Katnisses house for her mother and Prim to heal him. Prim bravely takes the seringe and gives Gale the morphling shot. From WHERE do they have it?! In the book, the shots came from the Mayor's daughter (well, actually from her mum...) so this makes me very sad as she was a very important character - yet, in the movies, they totally cut her out.
  • Fast forward to the announcing of The Quarter Quell, where in the book we read that the first Game Maker developed a sealed box for the next hundred or so years with special announcements for each Quarter - in the movie we see no sealed box, just Snow giving his speech.
  • A thing that hit me at the announcement of The Quarter Quell in the movie was the reaction of Peeta VS. Katniss. Peeta is alone in his room and Katniss is with her mum and her little sister... Why do we not see Peeta's family at all? It is true they are not presented in the movie as much as the Everdeen's but at least I would have liked to see Peeta's father - in the book we learn that he loved Katnisses mother and he promised (in The Hunger Games) that Katnisses family will never be hungry if she would die in The Arena.
  • A big minus for me was the fact that the book presented Katnisses and Peeta's life before The Games (The Reaping & The Training) for almost 2/3 of its lenghth. The movie barely showed 45 minutes out of the 2 hours and almost a half total :( We did not get to see any of the pre-reaping trainings. We never hear of the story of the 2 girls from District 8, whom Katniss finds in the woods. We hear absolutely NOTHING of District 13! We do not even hear of the fence near the forest being electrocuted again 24/7 - nor of Katnisses problem in jumping it and making it home in time, before the curfew :(
  • A huge plus for the movie - coming also from the book - is the fact that Effie is much more natural and human! Lighter type of makeup even! I just love her in The Reaping scene, where she barely manages to get a grip on herself and takes Katnisses name out of the bowl. She breaths happily when she extracts Haymitch, but as Peeta immediately volunteers you can see her face turning into a cloud, yet she tries to sit still and be brave for them.
  • Fast forward to The Capitol where they have a new building & training center - WHY?! was not the old one good enough? what is the point of it?!
  • I believe that the producres of the movie managed to choose a great Finnick! He is perfect - it was as though they gathered all the pieces of Finnick in the book, squeezed them and extracted THE FINNICK ODAIR!
  • Unfortunately in the movie we do not get to see much of Cinna - I bet Lenny Kravitz was quite expensive! - and we do not get to see him giving them the costumes for the presentation in the chariots :( But as a great plus I can say that the Finnick sugar cube scene was perfectly done, by the book, just as I imagined it. In the book we get to see the costumes sparkling before they set off in their chariots. In the movie no costumes sparkle until Katniss sees The President...
  • Joanna Mason is yet another character that does not dissapoint - book or movie ;) Her entrance is straight from the book and one of the best ones in these series. 
  • Fast forward to the Training Time. In the book we read that the trainer for shooting sees that static targets are no issue for Katniss so he starts throwing fake birds in the air so she may shoot them. Her max is 5 kills in one try and everyone is extatic over it and wants to be her ally. In the movie everything is electronic - no throwing birds in the air to shoot. Doh! Tell you the truth, the movie version sounds much more logical, considering The Capitols power/technology.
  • At the Individual Assesment she bumps into Peeta before entering and she sees the painting of Rue - dead and covered with white flowers. In the book they make her wait longer and when she finally comes in she can see that the floor is smudged and wet and the potential sponsors are disturbed. We find later on the cause, when they are in The Arena. We also do not get to see in the movie the grades of the Individual Assesment - in the book there is a whole chapter about this and how they think they will get the first 0 in the history of The Games
  • At the night of the final interviews - the final night outside The Arena - Katniss is dressed up in the wedding dress (forced by Snow). The wedding dress in the movie has NO sleeves. In the book we read it has sleeves until the ground. When she twirls and turns into the coal-black Mockingjay she does not have sleeves and then she opens her arms and she has huge long sleeves as the wings of the bird. HOW?!
    Gorgeous dress but I would not choose it for my wedding...
  • And what's with Joanna's outburst from her intervew? Was that F**K necessary?!
  • I loved Effie's gifts: the bracelet for Haymitch (as per book) & the locket for Peeta (we find about the locket later in the book). She even dyed her hair gold so they could all match, so they could all be a team: hair - bracelet - locket - Katnisses pin. Her breakdown in the movie is beautiful and touching, even if it was not in the book
  • Sadly we do not get to see much of Peeta and Katniss as a duo - the nightmares they both have, their relationship, the picnic on the roof, the last sunrise together... (in the movie none is shown - except the sunrise and that is basically 2 short lines in bed :/ ).
  • One thing you would not like to see, yet it was very well done and totally according to the book was Cinna's beating and Katnisses entrance in The Arena - her hurt, her disorientation...
  • The Arena is very well done as well and we get large views of it. I do not get though why was Peeta beating someone in the water if he has no clue how to swim?! (well at least in the book...)
  • Cutting back to The Capitol, to another cameo of Snow's grandaughter (when she sees Katniss kissing Peeta): her-Someday I wanna love someone that much VS. Snow-So you shall, so you shall.
  • In the books we read that Katnisses "magical hearing" due to her reconstructed ear helps her "hear" the breaches in the system - the electric fields - nothing of that in the movie! + How come Peeta miraculously recovers in just a few moments after the electrocuting & almost being dead?!
  • Another thing I cannot understand is why the gifts from the sponsors came with notes? (so they would immediately know what to do with them...) And why do we not see the gifts of bread? (there were 2 of those in the books, and quite important to the action of the movie!)
  • The fog is very well done in the movie but hey! yet again they kick off the book :( The blisters from the fog miraculously dissappear when entering the water - no need for the second gift from Haymitch!
  • Nuts and Wire are a great selection as well so two thumbs up for that! :)
  • The scene of the "Shifting clock" - or the turning of the Cornucopia - was indeed very very very well done! The scene with the mockingjays with Katniss and Finnick really is touching and can bring you to the edge of tears if you will think of yourself in their position - done very well, by the book!
  • As Katniss wakes up from the lift from The Arena I was a bit sad over how they managed the scene and I still do not get how and why Finnick is so responsive - I am right now in the middle of Mockingjay and he is half lunatic - half normal in it... I am not sure I like the way they will play him in the next 2 parts (as they split Mockingjay in 2...).
I am currently reading the final part of the series - Mockingjay - and it is as interesting as the previous 2 so I can hardly wait to finish it :) And then, of course, see the movie - but that will take a while as they are just filming it and unfortunately they decided to make it in 2 parts. Would you guys like me to fill you in on what I think about that also? :p I promise to talk fair and square and from my heart :)
P.S. I would also like to dedicate this post to the Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman who was found dead on the afternoon of 2nd February 2014 - the same day in which I watched his performance in Catching Fire as Plutarch Heavensbee. I know that the 2 parts of the Mockingjay are in post-production so I am hoping that by that time all the filming was done and we shall get to see him on the big screen at least 2 more times. The sad thing for me is the cause of his death. He was 46 so he could have lived many more happy years, but here is what IMDB informes us: "Law enforcement officials said Hoffman died at his apartment in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan. No cause of death has been determined but officials suspect the actor may have overdosed on drugs. Law enforcement officials said the actor was found with a needle in his arm." Another actor goes down from drugs...
Yours truly,
A LadyBug who likes The Girl On Fire :)