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Why Catching Fire Should Be Two Films

Time for another great guest post! We’re not the only people that love to share our opinions in this fandom, so we love to post up your articles whenever you send them in!

This post comes from Mary Ellen, who thinks she has a solution to the Catching Fire production dilemma!

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I was just re-reading Catching Fire with an eye towards the movie.  It really is a tough book to adapt and as I was reading it occurred to me that THIS is the book that really ought to be split into two movies.  Here’s are some thoughts on how and why:

Part One, which I’ll dub Catching Fire 1: The Spark, covers the Victors’ Tour and some of Katniss’ time back in District 12.  The movie ends as the Quarter Quell is announced and Katniss conquers her horror and makes Haymitch promise that this time they will both try to save Peeta. IMO the first half of Catching Fire is the weakest part of the whole trilogy, but in the right hands it could make a great movie: a story about revolution and a story about love, self-sacrifice and courage.

Catching Fire 1 needs to concentrate on the reasons for the rebellion and how the flames are spreading.  We need to care about this world and this war to get through the next few movies.  We need to understand how threatened and obsessed Snow is.  We also need to see how terrified the populations in the districts are and how courageous and desperate the fight is.   All of this world-building needs to be clearer and more compelling than it was in the book, which did too much bouncing around and introduced too many subplots.  This will probably mean that the movie shifts away from a pure Katniss point of view.

Catching Fire 1 also need to develop the relationships between Katniss, Gale and Peeta.  We need to see how much Gale hates the Capitol and we need to understand why Katniss loves both of these guys but can’t bring herself to ‘think that way’ about anyone.  We also need to see how much the arena wounded Katniss.  Hunger Games movie made things look a bit too easy for our star-crossed lovers, but a few bloody flashbacks inserted as nightmares might do the trick.

From a production standpoint, splitting the film would solve all kinds of problems and would make the tight schedule easy to meet. The only major new character who need to be cast for Catching Fire 1 is Plutarch Heavensbee.   Most of CF1 could be shot on location (and several of those locations are already in place).  There is very little needed in the way of special effects.  And best of all, there will be plenty of time to do a really good job on part 2, Catching Fire: The Enemy.

Catching Fire 2: The Enemy starts with Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch training like careers, moves swiftly to the strange Quarter Quell Reaping.  The growing horror that even touches the Capitol’s citizens needs to feel real.  Unlike the Arena in HG, this time the Tributes cannot be anonymous.  We have to care about or at least be curious about Mags, ‘Nuts and Volts’, Finnick, Johanna, the Morphlings, even Enobaria — and we have to care before they set foot in the Arena.  That means, the Reapings in the Districts need to be shown and the powerful moments during the Tribute interviews have to really move us.

This time, the horror of the Tick Tock Arena Clock cannot be down-played.  The lack of water needs to feel real.  The special effects must be really good and the action has to powerful.   And finally, we need to see Katniss truly fall in love with Peeta.   If Lionsgate does two Catching Fire movies then there will be over a year before CF2 starts shooting and all of this is very possible.   Plus, they will make more money!!!

What’s not to like?
Mary Ellen

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