#130 Fireside Chat: 'Catching Fire' Ignites the World Monday 25 November, 2013

Catching Fire Ignites the World”

Miss Episode 130 live on Monday night? Click here to listen to the recording OR simply use the embedded player below!

Episode 130 of Hunger Games Fireside Chat will air live this Monday, November 25, at 10pm ET/7pm PT! Our panel of experts will include Theresa from Down with the Capitol, Tiffany from Victor’s Village, Courtney from Welcome to District 12, and Molly from Panem Propaganda.

After over a year of waiting, Catching Fire is out for the world to see! How is this possible!? Finnick Watch seems like it was just a few weeks ago…

We’ll spend Episode 130 discussing the film in-depth: What did we like? What didn’t we like? What book-to-movie changes did we especially enjoy? Etc. Spoilers abound, of course, so if you have not yet seen Catching Fire, you may want to wait to listen to this one. If you have any talking points you think we should include, just leave a comment below.

We’ll also look at the sequel’s box office performance thus far.

You can chat with other listeners throughout the live show by using our hashtag #HGFiresideChat on Twitter! We recommend TweetChat to easily follow along with the conversation.

Click here to listen to last week’s episode.

And click here for an index of all of our archived episodes.

Follow this week’s participants on Twitter:
Adam (Host): @AdamSpunberg
Savanna (Co-Host/Producer): @MlleNouveau
Theresa: @RealOrNotReal / @HungerGamesDWTC
Tiffany: @twiffidy / @VictorsVillage
Courtney: @WtoD12
Molly: @PanemPropaganda

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#125 Fireside Chat: Bigger but Better?
#125 Fireside Chat: Bigger but Better?
#117 Fireside Chat: Highlights
#117 Fireside Chat: Highlights


  • Maia says:

    I absolutely loved it , the pacing was great , I thought since Savanna said it felt rushed it would be and it wasn’t. I thought the arena scenes were very long. My favorite part is when President Snow is looking for Plutarch and he is long gone. And he realizes he’s been playing him whole time!!!! Lol best scene ever

  • Just want to say first that I really enjoyed the film. Though I didn’t walk out of the theater totally floored like I heard others had and hoped I would, I still thought it was a great adaptation and was worth the wait and hype! Some of my favorite moments were Johanna’s interview, “Panem today, Panem tomorrow, Panem forever”, Mags’ death (horrible but perfectly executed), and Josh Hutcherson’s overall acting this time around.

    Saying that, I definitely now understand what you guys were talking about last week with pacing issues. I felt the same after watching the movie. I felt like almost every scene was too short up until around the interviews through the end.

    I think what it is, is that in THG, even though a lot was omitted, we had enough time with the book scenes that did make it in, whereas with Catching Fire, almost everything made it in but was only half the time it needed to be. I saw the films back to back, so it was pretty easy to compare.

    If I had to pick just one thing that should have made it in the movie, I’d say Plutarch’s pocketwatch. Without the watch, the dance scene seemed pointless to me and my brother who hasn’t read the books said he disliked it because the dialogue included too clearly showed Plutarch was more on the rebel’s side and ruined the surprise of his disappearance to the hovercraft at the end.

    A technical issue that bugged me the entire film was the obvious ADR lines. There were quite a lot and many of them were not super successfully aligned with actors’ lips, especially with Katniss during screaming-and-crying-while-talking moments.

    As for the ending…I didn’t love it. Everything was perfect until the camera focused on Katniss’ face and my brain connected it to the ending of Breaking Dawn Part 1. It also felt like a bit too much, since we’d already had a long scene focused on Katniss’ face while she’s being pulled up to the hovercraft.

    Some people seem to be upset that Katniss has a look of revenge in her eyes at the end of the movie, but I’m fine with that. It doesn’t mean that she’s decided to be the mockingjay for the rebellion, it just means that she’s angry, upset, and specifically wants revenge for her home being destroyed. I think it made complete sense.

    I’m also kind of hoping they cut out the burning mockingjay pin transformation for the DVD version. It was cool to see the first time in the theater, but I’d like a smoother and quicker transition to the credits since it made it feel a bit choppy.

    • I’ve never seen Breaking Dawn, either part, so I have no idea what its last scene is, and I loved the last scene of Catching Fire.

  • mse says:

    I’m sure you guys are going to be talking about all of these things, but let me sum it up. According to early Sunday estimates, Catching Fire earned 161.1 million dollars in the US market alone, setting the record for the highest grossing 2D release (although that could change when the final numbers come in, since The Dark Knight Rises’ record is very close, and it must also be said that if we’re looking at the adjusted numbers, a few other movies surpass it as well – but that is still pretty WOW). I’d also like to point out that the demographics were more diverse this time around: half of the audience was over 25, and even the female-male ratio was slightly different compared to the first movie. As it was expected, there’s a dramatic change in the overseas market where it scored 146.6 million thus far, and that’s not including the Chinese market or those countries where it’ll be released later this week or after that. Catching Fire also holds a 89% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and a 76/100 one at Metacritic, which needless to say is a pretty respectable reception. So I think that at this point we can safely say that this movie is a universal success. 🙂

    As for my opinion of the movie, I’m going to start with the negative stuff. Because I’m a horrible-horrible fan. While I recognized the emotional insensitivity throughout the whole movie, I felt like on that level there was a disconnect between what I’ve seen and what I felt. Simply put: for some reason Catching Fire didn’t have quite the emotional impact on me that I expected – at least upon first viewing. I’m not sure if it was the editing, the pacing or just the fact that the story moved on so many different levels thematically, but I do know that it wasn’t the script necessarily and it was definitely not the actors who all did a brilliant work. I also think that this feeling might actually disappear when I see the movie for the second time, and I might be able to get into it much more. This was however my first impression, and it somehow made me understand why Gary Ross omitted so many famous one-liners from the first movie. He didn’t want anything to divert the attention from the main theme and emotion that he wanted to get across in his film.

    Also – and this is the opinion that will get my head chopped off, I’m sure – I felt like the beach scene was a bit… Cheesy? Yes, I know, it is somewhat cheesy in the book to begin with, but again, it caused a disconnect for me. But that’s all the negativity I got.

    As for the actors, like I mentioned, everyone did a top-notch job. If I had to choose one person from the new group of actors, I’d obviously choose Jena Malone. I’m sure you guys are going to be talking about a certain elevator scene and some certain facial expressions that happened there. 🙂 I also loved how Johanna and Katniss’ relationship was tamed a bit, I think it was a good call to make them less of a frenemies. And I know that everyone at this point just treats Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as a given, but I can’t, because she somehow manages to make me love Katniss a hundred times more in every movie. And that’s a pretty astounding accomplishment, given that Katniss was always one of my favorite characters of all time.

    I loved some of the added scenes, especially the ones with Snow’s granddaughter. That was a genius move. She made Snow chillingly human, and gave an inside into the Capitol’s general vibe. It’s one thing to see the most outrageous Capitol citizens obsessing over the games and its contenders and another to see a little girl rocking a Katniss-braid because “that’s how all the kids at school wear it”. I also read somewhere an interpretation that she was the projection of the series’ younger fans who look up to Katniss, and that’s pretty brilliant.

    I also loved Finnick’s insertion into the last scene in the Arena, and letting him recite Haymitch’s advice to Katniss. Her struggle and indecision to shoot Finnick in the moments prior to that were both fascinating and painful to watch. Frankly, it’s hard for me not to praise Jennifer in every single sentence I write here.

    One of my favorite parts in general was how they portrayed the crowd-manipulation angle. The whole Victory Tour sequence really did hit me, and when that little girl came up to Katniss telling her how she wants to volunteer when she grows up just like her, you were able to see the pain and the pity on her face. The way they handled the pregnancy storyline was also well-done, where we as the audience were able to see both the manipulation behind Peeta’s words and the effect it had on the Capitol audience believing it.

    The look of the movie was astonishing, the costumes mind-boggling, Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson really got to get into their characters this time around (I didn’t expect them to include the scene where Katniss drinks from Haymitch’s bottle, but it happened, and it was one of my favorite scenes in the whole movie: “Come on, Haymitch,no decent person ever wins these games.” “No one wins these games, period.”).

    Overall it was an extremely intense movie experience, one which I can’t wait to repeat as soon as possible. 🙂

    • mse says:

      Box Office UPDATE: As expected, the weekend box office gross was a bit overestimated, the numbers in the US clocked at 158.1 million. That means that the movie is behind both The Dark Knight Rises and The Dark Knight opening weekend-wise, but that’s still a pretty amazing achievement in that regard. 🙂

    • I don’t think the beach scene was cheesy at all (and I don’t think it was cheesy in the book, either). My only disappointment is that the kiss wasn’t passionate enough (although it was better than all the other kisses in the movie). It was a nice enough romantic kiss, but didn’t quite have the intensity of two desperate teenagers who know they are probably going to die soon, nor would anyone just looking at it think “and this is where Katniss starts to feel erotic desire”.

      There are other scenesand lines in the book (mostly by Peeta) that are somewhat cheesy, like “Most of my nightmares are about losing you…” or “I just want to freeze this moment”- I’m glad that they cut those out.

      Josh/Peeta was wonderful in this – even better than in the book, due to the non-cheesiness. The pearl was natural and non-cheesy, as was Peeta saying “no one needs me”.

      My main disappointment with the movie is that they didn’t go outside of Katniss’ POV a bit more, and show things like the bloodbath, the bombing of 12, what’s going on with other Tributes in the last moments of the Games, including the Peeta/Brutus fight, and the reactions in Panem after the Arena was blown; I was hoping that they would show the outbreak of the revolution/war rather than tell. Although I did love the scene of Katniss blowing up the Arena, the closeup of her face, and the other closeup in the last scene.

  • discotia says:

    Quick theory I have regarding Peeta’s locket: Well my thinking has always been that you never see District 12 members, even the victors, or anyone in Panem with handheld personal cameras. I imagine they don’t even exist anymore. Snow would not want people embracing their families and friends and holding on to tender memories of the past, he wants them working towards the future. With that logic, the only cameras in Panem are those that the camera crews use for the Games.

    They changed things up a bit in the movie. Effie was the one responsible for procuring the locker for Peeta. That being said, I imagine she was the one who obtained those images and got them printed out and put into the locker for Peeta before we see her giving it to him. This is just my theory, but one that I think makes sense.

    • discotia says:

      In reference to the fact that so many people are confused as to why the pictures in the locket are from the Reaping, i think this could be a possible solution.

  • Tyler says:

    What an emotional and intense film! They got so many things right with this movie. They did an amazing job showing how terrible the Capitol is to the districts. For example the scene when Romulus comes into 12 and you see all of the peacekeepers destroying the Hob and terrorizing the people. Also when they don’t let Katniss say goodbye to Prim, was really effective. And did anyone notice that choral piece used thorughout the film?! For me, music is a huge contributor to emotion and whenever they used that, I got goosebumps. For the added Snow scenes, they were a brilliant behind the scenes look and Plutarch, at the end, when he tells Katniss that she is the Mockingjay was great! I love the on screen chemistry between Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, and Effie and Jennifer Lawrence was at her very best! This film has been on my mind all weekend and I can’t wait to see it for a third time this coming weekend!

  • John says:

    I really loved the movie. I thought it was miles better than the first in every aspect. The only problem I had with it and the only complaint I’ve seen from most people, is the way they handled the Gale/Katniss relationship. I thought they made it way more romantic than it was in the books and that extra kiss was completely unnecessary. It bothered me a lot tbh. Other than that I was really satisfied with everything else.

  • Debbie says:

    The movie was fantastic. I want to single out a couple things that stood out for me:

    I loved how they never let you forget the fallen from the first film. From the moment when Katniss shoots the turkey and it turns into Marvel, to the giant images of the fallen tributes during the tour, to the painting of Rue by Peeta after his final evaluation. (If I recall correctly, that was covered up in the book.)

    There were so many heart-rending scenes that were expected and they delivered on all of them, but the one with surprising impact for me was the death of the morphling. Josh played that scene so beautifully. if Katniss didn’t fall in love with Peeta at that moment, I sure did!

    Also want to say I was NOT on board with the Francis Lawrence choice and now feel like a complete idiot for feeling that way.

  • Laura Weber says:

    I loved the movie. The acting at the ending was amazing. The look on Gale’s face said it all! I was left with a feeling something was wrong when I left though, and figured out later that it was that Finnick was WAY too calm at the end. In the book he is losing it and suicidal. Sam could have totally pulled that off. I loved the scene where Plutarch flees the capitol, but the trade-off is the ending didn’t have the shock value it does in the book. My husband who hasn’t read the books wasn’t at all surprised to see Plutarch there.

    The animation at the end was fantastic! Major props to the folks who made it at Ignition Creative! It made me so excited for the next installment and ready to take on the capitol!

  • Charlotte says:

    I loved the movie! It was so emotional (it was the most I have ever cried in a movie). My favorite new character was Mags. I loved how so much of the dialogue was straight from the book. The things I missed most from the movie were Plutarch’s watch and Katniss throwing the berry juice on the dummy as she’s leaving. I wished they did not add on to Gale’s line at the end. The actors did such a great job with line delivery especially with Joanna’s “they can’t hurt me line.” I loved the mockingjay at the end.

  • Jordanne says:

    I really loved the movie. I teared up when Mags died..and pretty much throughout. It was so beautifully performed and created. Also when peeta and katnis separated at the tree I felt my heart break because that is the last time we’ll see Peeta before he comes back highjacked.

  • I LOVED CATCHING FIRE, IT WAS AN AMAZING ADAPTION OF THE BOOK. I thought it was fast paced especially in the arena scenes but I understand that was going to happen when you adapt a book in 2 hours and 26 mins. Now to list some of my favorite things from the movie (not in order) 1. The beginning when Katniss shoots the turkey and it turns into Marvel. It was a really clever way of telling us that Katniss was suffering from PTSD. 2. The victory tour stop in District 11 was obviously super emotional and it made me tear up. 3.When the girl in the victory tour tells Katniss she want to volunteer when she’s older because of her inspiration of Katniss I thought that showed perfectly that not everybody in the Districts view the Games as bad thing. 3.” PANEM TODAY. PANEM TOMORROW. PANEM FOREVER. ” those lines really haunted me because it shows how screwed up the system is in the Capitol and if nobody does anything about it then the Games will just continue forever. 4. I think Katniss and Gales relationship really blossomed as did character development. And we get a hint into Mockingjay knowing that Gale wants to fight back. 5. Effie totally grew out of her Capitol mentality as can be inferred by the amount of emotion she shows after the reaping. Even though it could have been sparked by her actually caring for Katniss and Peeta or because she knows the 2 people that brought her to the top will die.

    To save time and not write an essay here ( which I totally could) I think Catching Fire was an amazing example of how a book should be adapted into a movie and Francis Lawrence totally proved himself. It was jam packed with emotion and exact scenes from the book and I cant get enough. Watching ti for a third time this week XD

    Another topic question I have is do you think Lionsgate is rushing the making of Mockingjay 1 and 2 ?, because it’s only like a year to part 1 . I just really love this series as we all do and I would hate hate for them to rush these movies just for money.

  • Michael says:

    Just thought that I would add some comments to this long great thread.
    As with Emily above I was not BLOWN away with the movie but that was kind of expected after such a build up for us superfans. It was a great movie and as Francis Lawrence has repeated so many times also very faithful to the source book. It was certainly focused on Katniss all the way. It did feel a bit rushed and I am hoping that with the next two we can get a happy medium between Gary Ross’s film making that approximated the source material and this edition which is perhaps too literal a translation.

    Some great scenes that underlined Francis Lawrence’s great film making:
    1) The scene with Prim and her mother when they were medicating Gail after the whipping. Prim takes over for a shaking Mrs Everdeen showing that Prim is growing up (foreshadowing MJ). A very quick scene that did not have to be there but FL puts it in to support Prim’s development. PERFECT!
    2) The PTSD moment right near the start with Marvel/Turkey shoot was masterful. Clearly gets us into Katniss’s PTSD head quickly and effectively.
    3) Moving the explanation of the Snow visit from a two part affair (Haymitch first then Peeta) to a group thing in District 11 was also a great move that gave us some dramatic dialogue and shortened our trip through the districts.
    4) Wow the CGI fog was amazing. Even better than I imagined it myself.
    5) Using the train to allow Katniss to see the unrest in the districts was a nice use of the time on the train to give us forward plot movement. Example of Francis not wasting a moment.
    6) Some are not going to support this but the Breaking Dawn Part 1 scene at the end with the camera close up of Katniss was great. It was a cheeky reference to another franchise that worked for me.

    Some negatives:

    1) The tracker removal scene with Johanna was not well shot. I would have liked to see way more detail in this short scene so that we can at least understand what happened which is not that apparent on first viewing. Recall the scene between Katniss and Clove in the arena in THG where we get the two on the ground. Something like that.
    2) The explanation that Plutarch uses to ramp up the vengeful activities in the districts made no particular sense to me but perhaps others can translate it for me and I will understand.
    3) I would have also spent a few more frames on the attack at the cornucopia. You have hired some great actors for tributes and here Francis could have given them a few more frames.
    4) I agree with others here that Sam was a bit too calm in the hovercraft when Katniss storms into the room with Haymitch and Plutarch. He looked like he was on a cruise ship or something.

    These are my impressions after seeing it only once (next viewing later this week for me). I am especially going to focus on the arena scenes as they went by so quickly.

    Can’t wait to hear what our podcast hosts have to say.

  • 4LoveIsStronger says:

    I watched Catching Fire twice this weekend- including 1 time in IMAX! I was floored during both viewings.
    I would also like to ask: Now that you guys have seen the movie, do you think it has a good chance of at least being nominated for an Oscar? What categories?

  • Marce Escoto says:

    Can’t believe I’ll be missing the best episode ever 🙁 The movie hasn’t come out here in Honduras. Unbelievable. Have fun you guys!

    • awwwwww the chat room will miss you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I saw Catching Fire on Thursday during a AMC theater double feature. MY MIND WAS BLOWN! Even though the visuals were incredible, it was the performances and little bits that gave me such a rush! One scene that chilled me to the bone was during the Victory Tour, where the little girl from District 2 hands Katniss a bouquet of flowers and says to Katniss, “One day, I’m gonna volunteer just like you did.” That line sent chills down my spine. Also, the scene where Effie sees Katniss in her wedding dress is just so emotional, I was on the brink of tears. There’s a line where she says, “Come on Katniss, let’s go show them what true beauty looks like.” That line killed me. My favorite OMG, DID THAT JUST HAPPEN MOMENT was definitely Johanna Mason’s interview. I MEAN SERIOUSLY!!!!

  • Isaac says:

    I loved the first film and i wanted to point out that the map of panem shown in the movie, when Katniss peeks into the room in the train, is the exact same map in The Hunger Games adventures!

    • Isaac says:

      I meant to say that i loved this film! (Catching Fire)

  • I really don’t believe that Snow would put his granddaughter as one of the human shields in front of his manor. The scenes with her are probably meant to suggest that he’s just like 99% of dictators in the world: family men protective of their own offspring, but ready to sacrifice everyone else’s children. He put someone else’s grandchildren in front of his manor. Also, she would’ve probably been dead or severely injured if that had been the case, and nobody ever mentions that – they only mention her during the vote, as one of the possible contestants in future Games that Coin wanted to install.

    I think they’ve introduced her in CF not just to show the ‘human’ side of Snow, but also to give face to the children that Coin wanted to send to the Games. Her resemblance to Prim is only going to make the point stronger.

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