I had completely forgotten how much I love this film, I actually think I loved it more than the first one (which is impressive for a sequel), its tougher, scarier, grittier and more heartbreaking than the original. I loved that the first half was not in an arena but showing Katniss, Peeta and Gale coping after the first Hunger Games and how they respond to being sent back in again.
The arena is much more brutal and horrific than the first with blood rain, deadly smoke and evil baboons. There were more characters to get your teeth into and many hints to the 3rd book (3rd and 4th films) that only readers of the book will understand (makes be feel abit smug when watching it to be honest!).
I'm totally one of those annoying people who sit there with a smug face, reminding everyone who will listen that I've read the book! I was pleased at how well they kept to the book in Catching Fire, they just played around a bit with the timeline and missed out one of my favourite moments which pained me.
There's a scene in the book at the party which in the book happened after the names had been picked for the Quarter Quell, where Katniss is dancing with Plutarch (I think) and he whispers in her ear, 'It begins at 12'. This was the major clue for the Quarter Quell arena and would have been an awesome inclusion in the film.
I loved the build on the characters from the first film, such as Cinna and President Snow but the additional characters added this time round really gave it more edge. Jena Malone's, Johanna Mason was amazing - ideally at the beginning you are supposed to hate the character but I loved her and the impact she had on Katniss. She seemed to be the only character that could get a rise out of her, which gave Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss more depth.
Jennifer Lawrence as always was amazing and stole every scene she was in. She made the character more tough this time round but also showed more vulnerability than has been previously touched on. The scene where Katniss isn't allowed to say bye to her family and the scene when she's hit by the Jabberjays in the arena were heartbreaking to watch and admittedly I cried a little on the plane.
Catching Fire was brilliant and I'll definitely be watching it again just before the third film comes out. I'm a bit nervous about the third book being split into two films though, and I hope it allows them to do justice to the book, and not to just make as much money as they can.
I would without a doubt recommend this to anyone, preferably after reading the books and watching the first film but definitely a must. Everything was bigger and better, from the arena to Effie Trinket's hair and eyelashes.