Awaiting ‘Catching Fire’ from a fan’s perspective

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November 14, 2013 by Hope W.

(This is basically a post where I fangirl my heart out, so skip it if long-winded, spoiler-filled spiels are not to your taste.)

Now that I’ve already watched Thor: The Dark World, I feel free to anticipate the next biggest release in November, Catching Fire, with abandon, especially after rereading the books and being reminded of why I liked them. I am so ridiculously excited that I’ve taken to watching as many cast interviews as I can find on YouTube, especially those with Jennifer Lawrence.

(Here she is, flubbing her LA Film Critics Award speech for Silver Linings Playbook, but you can’t help but love her because she’s endearingly hilarious.)

She is just so outspoken and *herself*, and her co-stars have nothing but funny things to say about her. Her interviews with Josh Hutcherson are a hoot especially: they are such close friends that their exchanges are like a tennis match of repartee — they can change the topic three times answering a single question before the interviewer has gotten their head on — and sometimes they’re so excited they talk at the same time while still in tune with each other. They obviously had a fantastic time making the movies together. (A chemistry, which, unfortunately, as I mentioned before, did not translate to screen. Since Josh Hutcherson is extremely engaging in real life, it has to be the fault of the script for making Peeta so sedate in the first movie and not putting across his lighter, sweeter side.)

About the movie itself: From the reviews that I’ve read, it seems the filmmakers kept most of the book intact when transferring it to screen — even Johanna’s stripping scene in the elevator, which I thought would be too risque for a PG rating. (I laugh everytime I recall Katniss’ subtle jealousy describing her oiling up her boobs for a wrestling match in the books.) I love it when filmmakers keep as close to the source material as they can. (I still haven’t forgiven Peter Jackson for besmirching Faramir’s character in The Two Towers by having him take Frodo and Sam to Osgiliath so he might present the Ring to his father. What happened to “I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway”?)

But I digress. Here are the scenes I’m most looking forward to:

  • Gale’s whipping, and Katniss rushing to defend him. Because I’m into hot guys getting whipped and then rescued by damsels in shining armourBecause that’s when she stops being oblivious as to her feelings for him. “Gale is mine. I am his. Anything else is unthinkable.”
  • Any scene with Finnick, described as “one of the most stunning, sensuous people on the planet”, and one of my absolute favourite characters for his charm and complexity.
  • Any scene with spitfire Johanna, especially since most reviewers think Jena Malone is a standout amongst the new cast additions.
  • Katniss’ interactions with the other Victors during training.
  • Interview night. Not just Katniss turning into the Mockingjay, but also the other Victors speaking out against the Capitol, and the crowd’s reaction to Peeta’s bombshell (which I really hope will be much better than their reaction to Peeta’s love confession in the first movie. That was a complete disappointment, in that there was no reaction at all.)
  • Katniss and the other Victors allying in the Arena.
  • The Jabberjays.

Now I shall talk about my feelings about the books, which were re-awoken when I reread them recently; because if I don’t let them out, I will burst from all the pangs that I have. (Here there be plenty of spoilers for Mockingjay!)

When I first read Mockingjay, it was so brutal and depressing that I never wanted to read it again. At least, not the last 200 pages, where people we have gotten to know and love begin dropping like flies. (I am *not* looking forward to the final film installment of Mockingjay – Part 2.) But even with all those deaths, I would have liked the book a whole lot more if Suzanne Collins had spared Finnick. Prim could still have died, but if Finnick lived, I would be able to stomach the ending better, because I love him that much. But to rob him of the rest of his life, just when things seem to be picking up after years of sexual slavery from the Capitol, is a freaking twist in the knife to my gut.

Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

And then Prim, probably the most compassionate character in the books, had to die on top of Finnick, *and* ruin Gale’s relationship with Katniss to boot, while sending Katniss into a tailspin of despair that she took years to recover from. (If Prim hadn’t died, I would have felt more conflicted about who Katniss chose, but as it is, I understand and empathise with her choosing Peeta in the end.)

Which brings me to Gale. My heart truly breaks for him. Not just because he loved Katniss more than she loved him; but because he couldn’t deal with the guilt of perhaps planning the trap that caused Prim’s death, and he knew Katniss would never be able to look at him in the same way again, so he solved both their problems by essentially running away and taking himself right out of her life. He didn’t even say goodbye! To cut off all contact with her, after both have relied on each other for so long, and loving her, makes me so sorry for him I don’t even know where to begin.

Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

It’s his own self-imposed exile and tragedy, and therefore feels worse than the ones forced upon Katniss and Peeta (and Finnick and everyone else), where things happened to them beyond their control. If Gale wasn’t so full of a fiery passion for vengeance, and if the odds were in his favour that Prim wasn’t among the rebel medics, he could have survived the war perhaps not with Katniss’ love, but still her friendship. Now he has neither, and he lost Prim too, whom he also loved as a sister.

I suppose with all the people Suzanne Collins was so unhesitant about killing off, I should be happy that Haymitch made it out. I would feel the same way about the third book if Haymitch had died instead of Finnick.


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