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I volunteer to forgo sleep

by on November 22nd, 2013

Standing in line at the movie theater last night, I had two thoughts:

  • A lot of these kids are going to be tired at school tomorrow.
  • I’m going to be tired at work tomorrow.

Some things, however, are worth the sacrifice – and I was willing to forgo a few hours of sleep to be among the first to watch the latest installment of The Hunger Games trilogy: Catching Fire. After all, I lost plenty of sleep reading the books.

Movie adaptations are hit-or-miss in my world. There are some I love (Harry Potter franchise, for example – I loved learning how to finally pronounce Hermione’s name) and others that nearly make me hate a book I once loved (The Time Traveler’s Wife and One for the Money). Because I nearly always read the book before I see the movie, I can take comfort in telling myself “The book was better” when the movie falls short. Unfortunately, some people only watch the movie and, if it’s really bad, they’ll probably never read the book.

Fortunately, Catching Fire is one of those rare adaptations that stays true to the book. I had few complaints after watching The Hunger Games, but halfway through Catching Fire, I knew this movie was superior to its predecessor. Favorite characters return – Katniss and Peeta, of course, plus Haymitch and Effie – but we also get to meet previous tributes and have a better look at what life is like for a victor.

It’s not good. As Haymitch tells Katniss during the Victory Tour, she’ll never get off the train. As a victor, she’s now a mentor for future tributes. Her life is no longer her own, but The Capitol’s. She’s a pawn in a dangerous game. One wrong move … well, we all know how imposing Donald Sutherland can be in real life. As President Snow, he gives new meaning to evil. Part of me wishes the movie – and the book, for that matter – had explored the victor life further, but Snow has a world to run, so let’s announce the Quarter Quell and get to the action.

And it is action-packed. Unlike the first movie, we don’t see the tributes in the training center for long. Once the games start, it’s go-go-go until the end – and what an ending! I don’t know how I’m going to make it until the first part of Mockingjay is released on Nov. 21, 2014.

It’s going to be a long 364 days.

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