Lions Gate via Everett Collection
It's quite a rare thing; a film adaptation that surpasses its book counterpart. But The Hunger Games: Catching Fire does it quite handily. Now, I mean no disrespect to the books; I'm a huge fan of them as well – in fact, one of the things I appreciated about this movie was its faithfulness to the books. But a handful of tweaks here and there (along with some great casting, performances, and directing) brought this movie to the next level, and here's a few reasons why:
6. A lot of the acting in this film takes material from the book and elevates it into something really special – for example, Katniss' speech to District 11 is lovely to begin with, but when you have extremely talented actress Jennifer Lawrence delivering it? You've got a theater full of crying audience members in the first 15 minutes of the film.
5. Gale gets his public flogging for protecting an innocent, rather than for poaching a turkey. I think we can all get behind this change.
4. Adding in a lascivious Haymitch to the infamous Johanna/elevator scene was a touch of genius. As was the wink and the "let's do this again sometime."
3. The changes to the interview scene were all great – it gave us a chance to fall in love with Johanna and Finnick even more. Plus, in the book, Johanna only asks Caesar "if something can't be done about the situation" – it's the movie that granted us her emphatic "F**K THAT!"
2. Allowing Effie to say goodbye to Katniss and Peeta made for an unexpectedly touching scene.
1. The convoluted plan that (pretty much) everyone but Katniss and Peeta are in on is clearer in the film – in part, this is due to the added scenes between President Snow and Plutarch Heavensbee. Plus, having Finnick be the one to remind Katniss of "the real enemy" (at arrowpoint, no less) was a great dramatic touch that helped things come full circle.
BONUS: I think we can all agree that Sam Claflin is more handsome than we ever could have imagined Finnick.