I listened to the audiobooks of the series about three years ago, and I rated them thus: 5 stars for Hunger Games; 4 stars for Catching Fire; 3 stars for Mockingjay. But even though the individual ratings dwindled with each book, I still can say I loved the series. I found it compelling in many ways. Surprising, really, since I don’t naturally reach for dystopian fiction.
Movies from novels so often disappoint fans of the books. How can it be otherwise? Catching Fire, the novel, is over 11 hours of listening. Catching Fire, the movie, is 2 hours and 26 minutes. That’s a lot of missing words and action.
I really enjoyed The Hunger Games movie, despite some of the gaping holes in the plot (especially confusing for those who hadn’t read the book). I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed Catching Fire. Perhaps even more than I did the first movie. This probably has to do with the second film having a new director and a much bigger budget. And, even though the length of the two films were about the same, I didn’t notice as much of what had been left out. That could be my leaky memory, but I think the writers and director just did a better job of conveying that which they could not actually put on screen.
While I believe the filmmakers might be dividing the final book for the additional revenue doing so will doubtless bring in (Mockingjay, Part 1 due out in November 2014 and Mockingjay, Part 2 scheduled for November 2015), I can’t say I’m sorry they have chosen to make two instead of one. If the lengths of the next two stay the same as the first two, it means Mockingjay will get nearly five hours of screen treatment in which to tell the story of the rebellion, Katniss, Peeta, Gale, and the rest of the characters, both good and evil. That’s good news, IMHO.
Here is an excellent blog post that shares 8 big differences between Catching Fire, the book and the movie. Warning: contains spoilers, but definitely worth reading for fans. (I read it after I saw the movie.)
I didn’t budge in my seat hardly at all for 146 minutes. Neither did my husband—which is very rare for him. A great indicator that Catching Fire deserves my 5 star rating.