This will probably wind up being a compare/contrast between the movie and the book. It’s been a while since I’ve read the book, but a few points did stand out different. However, I will do my best to limit the comparisons. This movie, on its own is a wonderful edition to the video saga.
To start, unless you’ve watched the previous movie, it can be more than a little disorienting. You start in District 13’s medical ward with no other preparation. Immediately after the action starts, and doesn’t let up.
Katniss continues to remain true to herself – if you want something done that doesn’t ring true to her, she cannot make it come to life. But, get her heart involved, and the sparks really do fly.
Cage, the semi-rebel leader from District 12 comes into his own in this one as well. He is truly a solid backup for the flaring Katniss, helping to keep her steady and focused. There are times when you want to slap him silly, but that is true with just about anyone. He gets a little more screen time than I expected (or remembered from the book), but he never really outshines Katniss. A nice balance with him. He also manages to push Katniss in the right direction when she has to finally face her own emotions. Something that makes him endearing, and brings his character to life.
The rest of Katniss’ team from the previous movies are represented as well. Though, a few of the more interesting characters are removed. (I know, I know, movies don’t have the screen time to put all 200+ pages of a book out there.) However, the ones that are kept provide a little of the necessary humor relief to keep things moving forward.
As for the action scenes – there aren’t as many in this one, as it is almost all set up for part 2, coming next year. The few that occur, only one has Katniss in it. But, each action scene provides its own realism, which brings the movie up-close-and-personal. An interesting approach to the combat the book glosses over. And, it also brings up the next point – the special effects. Even though the use of CGI has improved greatly, the special effects are outstanding.
Overall, I quite enjoyed the movie. I just wish it could have encompassed the entire book without loosing too much. Just because of that (and, yes, it did end at the natural break point in the book… Still!) I’m leaving only 4 of 5 stars on my scale.
(BTW… for once, the movie and book run about neck and neck in my opinion. Both have their strengths, both have their weaknesses. Now I need to go read the book again, so I can see just what got changed/removed. And, because I don’t want to wait a year to remember/see how everything ends.)