Catching Fire Movie Review

by Brittany on December 3, 2013

in lowercase b, Pop Candy

HungerGames Bracelet
Yes I wear this in public. You can find it here.


A week ago, my girls and I had a fun night out of Chinese food and the latest Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire. If you read my book review, you might remember Catching Fire was my least favorite of the Hunger Games Trilogy. The “New Moon” of Hunger Games, if you will, aka, suckville.

I had very low expectations for this movie, as evidence by the amount of alcohol I consumed before showtime, and to be honest, I was kinda dreading it. I remember how angsty I was when I read they had to go back into the games, and then all the people I love start to die, blah blah emotions.

And then the movie started and I spent the next two and a half hours on the edge of my seat, heart beating out of my chest, full on panic attack amazement. I had to pee pretty early in, but I didn’t want to miss a second, so I mentally willed my body to reabsorb the urine, because that movie theater was sold out, and peeing in my cup was too risky. Of any movie that was ever based on the book, this was the best. In fact, it was better than the book. It was gory and scary and vindictive. I cried at least three times.

I rarely watch a movie that instills an actual sense of loss, and Catching Fire does that repeatedly.

Cinna was brilliant and heartbraking. Haymitch was both funny and complex and could not be more perfectly cast, Phillip Seymour Hoffman? SHUT UP AMAZING.

My only complaint is the amount of kissing Gale and Katniss did, because I truly don’t remember them being that affectionate in the books, but even so, I’m still just not invested in their love story. #GaleIsNotMyWreckingBall

And to those of you annoyed with my darling Peeta, take a second and appreciate the gender reversal this series is so successful in portraying. You see, Peeta’s not a pussy, he’s just playing the sensitive/helpless/vulnerable role usually held by a woman.

We’re not entirely used to see that in testicle form just yet. Give it time.

Team Peeta!

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Becky December 3, 2013 at 9:14 am

I loved the movie, so very much. Now I finally want and am reading Mocking Jay. Well done Hunger Games marketing, well done.


Juliet Bryan December 3, 2013 at 9:16 am

I waited a week after opening day to see this movie and I was on my seat the entire time as well! I cried and even though I have not read the books I was still major pissed at the cliff hanger…I literally walked out of the theatre saying “WTF” every third step….


Jennifer Burgess December 3, 2013 at 9:19 am

I did the exact same thing with willing my body to reabsorb the pee, because I was NOT going to miss a second!! I had to practically hunch-walk to the restroom once the credits rolled, I had to pee so bad. But soooooo worth it!! I agree with you that this is probably the best book adaptation movie EVAH…..ever ever ever. AMAZING movie and I can’t wait to see it again.


Rachel December 3, 2013 at 9:22 am

That’s because Gale and Katniss don’t kiss that much in the book. I think in the movie, they’re more invested in creating a love triangle, whereas in the book, Katniss has no romantic feelings toward Gale. In fact, when he kisses her, she’s completely taken aback. And he knows it.

I really liked Sam Clafin and Jena Malone. Except Sam’s accent was atrocious. And you could see him pulling his jaw all the time trying to achieve what turned out to be a bad accent anyway. I’ll forgive him that though because he was great in the role. Other than that whole swimming thing. He looked less like a dolphin in the water, and more like my dog when he goes “swimming.”


Jenna December 3, 2013 at 9:22 am

TOTALLY AGREE!!!!!!!!! I loved everything about the movie, and might have gasped a few times through my tears. I could not believe how well done it was and how it captured me more than the book did. The movies and NEVER better than the books…..until now. It was an emotional and exciting journey!!


A December 3, 2013 at 9:26 am

I absolutely loved the movie (and actually, the book too – don’t even get me started on my hatred for Mockingjay). I am a terrible movie watcher. Like. 20 minutes in I’m wondering when we get to be done. I saw Catching Fire at one of those fancy “if we catch your cell phone out, we’ll kick you out” places, which in normal circumstances could have equaled death – I NEED to know how much longer I’ll be sitting here. I didn’t care. I wanted it to last longer. That NEVER happens.

And poor Peeta – but he’s just as helpless in the books…


Laura December 3, 2013 at 9:30 am

Holy fracking moly I love you for this review. Is it weird that I want to scream, “Preach it sister!” based on the section about Peeta? Yes? My bad.


Maggie December 3, 2013 at 9:32 am

I loved the book Catching Fire, Mockingjay is my New Moon..booooooooooring. I am hoping we don’t have to wait 2 years to see the next installment. The death of Cinna squashed me, even though I knew it was coming. Squashed.Sobbed. I have to say I enjoyed Haymitch much more in this movie then the last. Oh..and? TEAM PEETA!!


Denise2Teach December 3, 2013 at 9:40 am

What I love is that my whole life males have been the strong, brave, smart, protectors in stories and I was sort of led to believe that males are the consumers of these types of books and movies so the heroes are men cause they identify. I thought it was weird I too identified.

BUT now I see that was all a line of hooey because males are reading these books, males are watching these movies and while I identify, so do they. I’ll never forget reading The Canary Prince in college and realizing that even a zillion years ago some authors knew I could be the strong, brave, smart protector.


Galena December 3, 2013 at 9:45 am

God yes TEAM PEETA! Josh Hutcherson has really impressed me! And Hemsworth the Younger just does NOT do it for me when he’s trying to give an American accent…he sounds flat and nasally.

I really did not think that Jena Malone could pull off Johanna, and she ended up being one of my favorite casting choices! She effing KILLED it.


Malia December 3, 2013 at 9:48 am

I’m glad you pointed out the Gale & Katniss kissing thing because I was thinking the same thing. I know they didn’t kiss that much in the book.

I loved the movie but my biggest disappointment was that they left out the scene where when Plutarch and Katniss meet at the big party at the capital and he gives her the first clue about what is coming for the next Hunger Games. Maybe it would have been too obvious in a movie scene but it was such a key foreshadowing moment in the book.


Sarah December 3, 2013 at 10:34 am



Heidi December 3, 2013 at 9:50 am

That means you read the NPR review, right?

I love the recognition that gender is not so much what one is, but what one does . . .


shelly @ohshellsbells December 3, 2013 at 9:52 am

This movie was SOSOSOSO good. I was on the edge of my seat too! I may go see it again tonight!

I am a little more sympathetic towards Gale. He’s her BFF since childhood. I mean yes I get that Peeta is the only one who can understand what she’s been through but Gale has been waiting 16-17 years for her. It’s all so complex. Which is refreshing.


KateB December 3, 2013 at 9:57 am

I saw it twice in a 3 day period. Worth all the babysitting money!

I have a Peeta Blanket that comes with me to the movie theater and I am not ashamed to bring the Love. My husband is a bit embarrassed by this, but it’s better than my Kick Butt Jacob Tshirt that was worn to all Twilight movies so he doesn’t complain much. Pictures of both available by request.


Delta Juliet December 3, 2013 at 10:22 am

Pictures, please!!!!!!!


Wendy December 3, 2013 at 9:57 am

I LOVED the movie. My husband even liked it, which is saying something because he doesn’t like movies. I was annoyed with the Gale kissing too. I remember something about the line “I had to do that, at least once” but I don’t remember when that happened.


Christal December 3, 2013 at 10:03 am

This movie was absolutely brilliant. I two thought it would be brilliant to consume a large Diet Coke during the previews. I wasn’t brave enough to hold it. I haven’t read the books so I am now weighing the pros and cons of ruining the plot by reading the book, or waiting another two years to finish the series. I think they’re breaking the final movie into two parts.

Also, can we get some of that presidential fashion going?


Christal December 3, 2013 at 10:04 am



Sarah December 3, 2013 at 10:33 am

I waited until after I saw the first one to read the books, but I busted through them all in one day (I stayed up until well after sunrise – I suggest waiting until the weekend).

I think you should read them before the movie comes out. I’m glad I waited on the first one, but because they follow so closely to the books I think it’s worth reading ahead. Now that you have all the actors in your head to imagine the scenes with, it’s cool to see what you imagined happen in high definition.


kelly December 3, 2013 at 10:04 am

1. sam claflin. holy shit, he’s hot. even in his cocky abrasiveness. so hot.
2. RunPee. download the app!! i know it’s not cool to have cell phones out, but that’s the only way i make it through movies these days with a small bladder. it tells you when you can go pee and not miss anything too important. get it.
3. i have a hard time with the romantic aspect in regards to either boy. i don’t buy either relationship in the books or the movies. but come on, the book isn’t about the romantic relationships. it’s not twilight. it’s not a love story, it’s a war story. so i’m team katniss.
4. i commend this movie because the first one didn’t make me want to read this books, but this one did.


Jen December 3, 2013 at 10:10 am

Was anyone else a little bummed out about Plutarch and Katniss’ dance scene? I was more than a little bummed out that the watch wasn’t in the movie and that their interaction just didn’t leave me feeling the way the book did. Nit-picking, I know.

And agreed too much Gale kissing. The catnip parts were cute but poor defenseless #TeamPeeta all the way. I’ll admit I’m just a tad too excited to see crazy brainwashed Peeta.


Jill December 3, 2013 at 10:23 am

Yes! Him not showing her his watch kinda pissed me off!


Delta Juliet December 3, 2013 at 10:24 am

I’m dreading brainwashed Peeta. I’m afraid I’m going to cry the whole time


Sarah December 3, 2013 at 10:30 am

I totally feel you on the dance. That watch was an important plot point! *grumble grumble* Also the lack of meeting people heading to District 13 was a head scratcher. Kind of thought that would be important.


Jen December 3, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Thank you! I thought I was all alone on that. And YES to the district 13 thing. I’m guessing they felt it was built up enough but if I hadn’t read the books I’m not sure I’d understand what the deal is with district 13 at all.


SuperCutePetContest December 3, 2013 at 10:13 am

I made my husband take me to see this last night. Honestly, I had forgotten a bit about what happens in the second and third books but remembered the basics. It totally blew me away! I loved every second of it. I’m trying to find another time to see it again! I had forgotten what happens to Peeta and even when reading the books, I really didn’t care about him too much. After the movie though, I’m so sad about it. Peeta and Josh Hutchinson have really grown on me! I think I’ll have to go back and read the third book now and find out what really happens (I don’t really trust my memory). Or maybe the entire series, I dunno, I feel kinda obsessed right now.


Jill December 3, 2013 at 10:17 am

It was a great movie! When I was reading the book, I wondered how they would turn her dress into a mockingjay, and that was spot on brilliant! I only wished they would have included more about District 13. But I guess after 2 1/2 hours, they had to edit somewhere.


Sarah December 3, 2013 at 10:29 am


I was annoyed with the Gale nonsense as well. They definitely had them kiss more than in the book, and I hated how much they did it in the book. Katniss needs to fall in love with Peeta right now!

I’m dreading all the death and sadness in the 3rd (and 4th) movies much more than this one. So many feels will be felt by me in those two movies. So many feels.


mryjhnsn December 3, 2013 at 10:30 am

Could not agree more! Love your take and I think just enough time has past since I first read the book that little details that would usually annoy me – didn’t


Melissa December 3, 2013 at 10:34 am

I think they left out the watch because they wanted to save the reveal of Plutarch being on their side until the very end. (For the non-readers, obv.) If he’d given her the clue, it would’ve been obvious and it wouldn’t have been such a shock for everyone else. But I was bummed too.

LOVED the movie though, so so great. Team Peeta all the way. I totally don’t understand how there’s even a Team Gale.


Maire Sublime December 3, 2013 at 10:38 am

I couldn’t agree more!

I especially love what you say about Peeta and the gender role reversal. He’s not a pussy. He was the first to kill a contestant when the game began. But he is confident in himself in a way that he doesn’t need to justify his feelings.

I was talking about this series with my boyfriend yesterday and it is really so refreshing to have these kinds of role models in media. lets face it, we’re not going to get violence out of our entertainment. It has been an essential role since we started telling stories thousands and thousands of years ago.

As Kelly said, this isn’t a love story – it is a war story, but even more, I think it’s a life story. It is about normal people who have crushes and relationships, who have families and who have things going on in their lives. It is all really well balanced without making the relationship the be all/end all of the story.


Jess December 3, 2013 at 10:39 am

Just have to agree about never buying into the Gale/Katniss love story.

Hey Gale if you are all about Katniss – why didn’t you kiss her ANY OF THE EVERY DAYS YOU SPENT IN THE WOODS TOGETHER?

Oh oh and if you love her so much – did it ever cross your mind to volunteer for the first games to protect her? NOPE.

Team Peeta. 4 life. with a 4.


Diana December 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I 100% agree with you on all of this. I love, love, loved this movie. I seriously can’t think of a better book to movie adaptation. Also, I totally didn’t think about the gender role reversal with Peeta. I am team Peeta all the way, but you are right, he is kind of filling the role of the damsel in distress, and it definitely works.


Taylor December 3, 2013 at 12:27 pm

#Galeisnotmywreckingball…amazing! I completely agree now (#teamPeeta), but did not when I started the books. I wanted Peeta to be more “manly” but I’m loving him just the way he is! I loved this movie (also actually loved the book) and also loved Jena Malone.


Laura December 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm

You need the “Runpee” app. LOL


Anna December 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I really liked the book (although I remembered very little of it going into the movie), and LOVED the movie. I tried to read Mockingjay years ago and gave up after a couple of chapters because I couldn’t take what a whiny bitch Katniss was. But I probably will have to break down and read it before the next installment comes out. The movies make us love Katniss even more because 1. we don’t have to listen to her often-annoying inner monologue and 2. Jennifer Lawrence is the best ever! Seriously, I would watch her in anything. Could not get over how good she looked in this movie and how glowy her skin was. She is beautiful and I want to hang out with her!


Johanna December 4, 2013 at 11:12 am

Seeing it this weekend with my husband (on his 40th birthday). Can’t wait!


Lori December 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm

I loved the movie but don’t remember baboons being part of the story in the book… Were they added just to the movie? It’s been bugging me and I may have to go back and read the book because I can’t believe I’d forget that.

Thanks for putting the whole Peta thing in perspective. A friend and I were upset about him needing to be saved all the time, but now that I think of him as the male version of a damsel in distress, it makes sense. He’s the sensitive one, who compliments Katniss’ harshness very well. Although, she was portrayed much sweeter in the movie.


Sarah December 6, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Yeah, the baboons were in there. ;)


Annie Nygard December 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Thanks so much for featuring our Real or Not Real bracelet! I just wanted to share the link to our website where it can be ordered, since we don’t offer our Hunger Games line on Etsy any longer:

It’s absolutely killing me that I haven’t had a chance to get out to see Catching Fire yet! This is our busy season so I have to wait until after Christmas, sadly. It looks fantastic!


suzanne March 15, 2014 at 9:55 am

I’m super late but this is EXACTLY EXACTLY how I felt about the movie. Like, I’ve said all of those things to a number of people who really don’t care.


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