On Catching Fire…

Originally Written by Anthony Fertino

Catching Fire

There’s no question that The Hunger Games film will be financially successful. The reason literature is adapted into today’s cinema is precisely to capitalize on the lightning rod popular books have for their fans. The trilogy as a whole is for the most part, guaranteed. Fans are loyal, and will follow their interest through any aesthetic medium.

So, we shall move on as fans to considering the sequel. The second entry in the book series I personally consider remarkably bovine in pace, and Suzanne would have done well to simply curtail the story altogether. It really seems as though Catching Fire was the end of the original novel, and as opposed to completing The Hunger Games, she chose to create a trilogy.

Not that the end result wasn’t rewarding. But the idea of another Hunger Games challenge wasn’t all that progressive to the story, particularly with the goal of culminating in the Shyamalan twist that no one really cares for anymore (not to say The Sixth Sense wasn’t positively the apotheosis of it).

The twist ending can be a fascinating tool in the narrative arts. It can have no meaning to the plot, or have everything to do with it. Collins at least has the good sense to employ the latter strategy. Unfortunately, despite however many clues you may have missed during the reading, it was entirely predictable due to the end of the original novel.

To many readers, it is often expected that in a science fiction story which contains a totalitarian government the hero will be the one to rebel. Otherwise, they would not be the hero, nor the main character worth following. They are the character that makes all the difference.

The Hunger Games is very much so about the fall of a government, and how it begins. It begins with a single person who has the strength to do so, in this case, Katniss. So, there was very little reason to drag out the process of Katniss’ transition into the rebels’ camp after the end of the first challenge.

This will be fixed with the film, which not only has the necessity but the opportunity to get the story done in two hours or less. I imagine if Suzanne is hired to pen the script for the sequel she will realize how much more fitting the story is.

So, despite those of us who may not have cared so much for the second installment in the series, there is a great deal to look forward to—because the nature of film has the capacity to mend all of the hindrances of Catching Fire, and therefore the trilogy as a whole. Film has the chance to actually improve the series if done properly.