|Books to Movies is a feature where I review movies based off books! These reviews are for people who have read the book, so spoilers are definitely within.|
Is it worth watching?
As a casual viewer who knows nothing about the books, it's entertaining. As a viewer who knows about the books . . . Well, it's truer to the book than The Hunger Games was to its book. Is it the world's best movie ever on earth? Well, no; not even close. But it isn't boring.
Is it clean?
It has 1 s-word, and 2 bleeped out f-words (you can't hear them, but it doesn't take a genius to know what Johanna is saying).
How is the cast?
In my original review of The Hunger Games, I said that my biggest complaint for Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss was that she was too old. That is still my biggest complaint, but after several rewatches of the first movie, and after seeing this one, I actually have more than just that complaint. While Jennifer Lawrence isn't horrible, she wouldn't have been my top pick as Katniss. She's too old and not built properly. Katniss is supposed to be a small-built person; Jennifer Lawrence (and this isn't a slur against her, so please don't take it that way) has hips and has a chest; she's not a small person. She's pretty, but she's also glamorous, and Katniss isn't supposed to be glamorous. Josh Hutcherson is still a dreadful Peeta; I can't believe they cast him. And Liam Hensworth is clearly too old and should be playing a werewolf, not Gale. Finnick could have been done better, but I also didn't dislike the actor who played him; he did a fairly good job, though he looked nothing like how I pictured Finnick. Johanna was perfect, though not as creepy as she was in the book. Still, she had the right attitude and right amount of untrustworthiness. Beetee and Wire were also very well done, as well as Mags.
Did the story stay close to the book?
For the most part, yes. They still have not introduced the concept of the Avox, which still bothers me, and they of course shortened the Victory Tour, but I'm not going to complain about that. That was probably my least favorite part of the book, and they used that time in the movie to establish the unrest, the game President Snow and Katniss were playing, and what brought about the Quarter Quell. And then they jump into the games, which is the part that most people want to see anyway. They cut out several smaller things, which was sad, but that's what the book is for, right? The arena they did perfectly, and to be a little honest, that was the main thing I cared about. The arena is soooooo cool, and if they didn't get that right, I knew I would be disappointed. But they did!
Did they even get the little things right?
Well, once Peeta announces that Katniss is "pregnant" (which she isn't), everyone seems to forget about that, which of course didn't happen in the book. The sea monster is taken out, the Avox are taken out, Haymitch is too nice to Katniss, and the whipping scene with Gale was rather anticlimactic. Katniss doesn't get drunk (not complaining), and they don't talk at all about how she and Peeta have "hobbies" that they take up after the Games (i.e. Peeta's baking, Katniss designing clothes that Cinna actually designs for her). And President Snow has a granddaughter, which I don't recall ever being mentioned in the books (if it is, please let me know!) But many of the other things - namely, the arena, they do get right. I loved how they did the fog and the monkeys and the lightning tree (wish we could have seen the blood rain). The deaths of some of the characters weren't as effective as they were in the book, but I suppose I can led that slide a bit.
But the ending is good, right?
Considering that the arena is part of the whole climax, yes, the end is very good. And also as abrupt as the book, but that means it's staying close to the book, right? The end (arena included) are the best done parts. Overall, though, I think this movie was just better than the first one. There's no shaky camera, the storyline is more intense, and it just felt like they spent more money on it. And while I'm still not a fan of the main cast, it does feel like even they stepped up their game a bit more in this one.
So if I absolutely adore the book, will I like the movie?
Let me say this: I have a friend who I made read the books before she even saw the first movie. I agree the first movie isn't nearly as good as the book, but even I didn't react as badly to it as my friend did. It was akin to pulling her nails out with rusty pliers. Her expectations of the Catching Fire movie were not high, but she actually came away from it not massively irritated. She doesn't wholly know what she thinks of it yet (and to be honest, neither do I, though I know I didn't hate it), but her reaction at least wasn't immediate anger. So, if you absolutely adore the book, you probably won't love the movie. But I don't think you'll hate it, either. Aside from the main cast being all messed up (I suppose there isn't a whole lot they can do about that now), they actually did a pretty good job this time through. And if you're like me and the your favorite part of the entire book was the arena, you'll really enjoy the visuals the movie offers.