Editor Showdown: Debating the Amount of Time in the Catching Fire Arena
WARNING: THIS WEEK'S EDITOR SHOWDOWN CONTAINS CATCHING FIRE MOVIE SPOILERS. DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF FOR SOME REASON YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT YET AND WANT TO REMAIN SPOILER-FREE!
OK, now that we've had a whole week to digest everything that is the EPICNESS of Catching Fire, there's one area of the movie that myself (Amanda) and my cohort, Kaitlin, would like to discuss: Did they spend enough time in the Quarter Quell arena?
I (Amanda) think they adequately covered that aspect of the book, while Kaitlin would like to have seen a little bit more action and detail in the arena. Let's discuss, shall we?
Amanda, Editor: First of all, OBVIOUSLY I would have loved if every single detail from the book was shown on the big screen. Seriously, I probably would sit through a 17-hour long movie that was an exact reenactment of the book, but that's not how movies work. That being said, I think the depiction of the arena on the big screen was perfect.
OK, yes, the beginning part dragged on just a tiny bit, and I was pretty anxious to actually get into the arena. However, I've read Catching Fire twice (and have seen the movie twice) and even though I knew everything that was happening, I was still completely riveted. I was quite literally on the edge of my seat. Everything about the arena was so intense, I don't know if I could have handled any more.
Francis Lawrence did an impeccable job of bringing the arena to life and making it a character in and of itself. He made a great point about not going too in depth with character deaths in the arena in a recent Vulture interview, where he said: "Yeah, but I have to say, quite honestly, I've never been really that interested in gore anyway. I'm more interested in the emotional impact of an attack than the actual gore."
Couldn't have said it better myself. Bravo, Francis! (And the rest of the cast too.)
Kaitlin, Associate Editor: I loved, loved, LOVED Catching Fire, way more than The Hunger Games. Heck, maybe even more than life itself. (Too far?) However, if I had to make a complaint, it would be that there wasn't enough time spent in the physical arena.
Although I agree with Amanda that you can't ever have an exact reenactment of a book on the big screen, I believed that there was far too much time spent getting from the beginning of the film to the Game itself. Instead of spending time in practically every district, as well as depicting President Snow's (albeit, cute) granddaughter, we should've been brought to the training room quicker, then the Quarter Quell.
It's not that we didn't get enough of the scenery or a look at the creatures — because everything from the poison fog to the howler monkeys to the Jabberjays was sheer perfection — it's that the biggest details from the characters' storylines were cut short. In the book, we're not supposed to be totally aware of Johanna's allegiance until the very end. But in the movie, because there was a limit to how much of Jena Malone's character was shown, it feels like they just made her likable from the get-go rather than develop her deeper characteristics. And forget about Finnick. Besides asking if Katniss wanted a sugar cube, you can barely tell that Sam Claflin's alter ego uses his rugged handsomeness to his advantage. Instead, he's an ally from the moment they reach the Cornucopia. I wanted more sexually-manipulative Finnick!
My final point is that the deaths were barely acknowledged inside the arena. They were super-quick; too quick if you ask me. They didn't need to be gory kills, but they should've been more concrete. I can barely process what happened with Gloss and Cashmere! The only death I appreciated was Mags' because she sacrifices herself exactly how I pictured from the novel to the movie. Again, I'm a complete Hunger Games fangirl, but it would've been nice to see more of the Games. It is called The Hunger Games after all.
What say YOU about this topic? Were you happy with the way they conveyed the arena on the big screen? Or would you have liked to see more? Start the debate in the comments section!
MORE on Catching Fire, plus spoilers from Mockingjay!