This Friday, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will be released on DVD/Blu-ray disc for tributes in the United States and Canada. Thanks to Lionsgate, we got a copy of Target’s exclusive 3-disc DVD/Blu-ray combo which includes a Bonus Disc with three behind the scenes featurettes and a gorgeous book-like package. The “book” comes in a clear plastic sleeve with the Catching Fire logo and bird on it. Slide the book out and you have the image of Katniss surrounded by red flames.
The first spread features Katniss and holds the Blu-ray disc, which features over 2 hours of special features including a 9-part behind the scenes series called Surviving the Games. I believe this series is included on all Blu-ray discs except the Walmart version.
The next spread features Peeta and this sleeve holds the DVD disc. This disc looks identical to the Blu-ray and features Katniss. It also showcases one of Prim’s lines from the trailers.
Turn the page over and you’ll find Finnick, along with the quote that both he and Haymitch say to Katniss. This sleeve holds the Bonus Disc, though the disc in the photo is incorrect. I’d put the bonus disc into my PS3 and simply put the DVD disc into this one for the photo. The bonus disc features the flaming mockingjay of Catching Fire.
Turn the final page and you’ll find Gale Hawthorne, along with a variation of President Snow’s line to Seneca Crane in the first film.
Although I haven’t yet watched all of Surviving the Games (it’s a ton of awesome behind the scenes content!), I did finish watching everything on the Target bonus disc and since you can get Surviving the Games on the standard Blu-ray, I’ll focus on the content unique to Target’s edition. Below you’ll find the back cover of the book.
The Bonus Disc is split into three parts: Alliance, Friend or Foe, and One Vision. Alliance focuses on the old cast coming back together. They talk a lot about how well they work together and what it was like to be under a new director. The thing that struck me the most from this particular feature was the interview with Francis Lawrence and Nina Jacobson. Francis talked about the complications of the love triangle and how important it was to the story in general and going forward into Mockingjay.
A lot of people who recognize my name from the fandom may remember that I take issue with quite a few things in the first Hunger Games film, including the treatment of the love triangle. I’ve always felt that Suzanne Collins was able to accomplish something unique with Katniss, Peeta, and Gale in that her triangle felt like a genuine dilemma and something that was realistically central to determining the fate of Katniss Everdeen.
Sadly, this didn’t seem to translate very well into the film and when Catching Fire came out, I was extremely pleased to find out that Francis Lawrence had done an impressive job of shoring up the triangle faults of the first movie. Listening to Lawrence and Jacobson talk about the evolution of the characters and why the love triangle is so key to their emotional development and overall character arc, I just couldn’t help but be awed at the fact that they get it. I know that sounds silly, since it’s not hard to grasp the deeper meanings of the novels, but Hollywood can so often disappoint and after The Hunger Games it was easy to expect the same.
Friend or Foe brings in the new cast and includes interviews with Philip Seymour Hoffman that really make you feel the loss of him all over again. Hearing how much his fellow cast mates adored him and hearing his own recounting of how he came to be Plutarch Heavensbee was difficult to watch, knowing that he’s no longer among us.
Casting Director Debra Zane is interviewed in this one and both she and Nina Jacobson gave a great retelling of how Sam Claflin was cast as Finnick Odair and how they got their Johanna Mason. The best part of it was the fact that you get to see a couple of reapings we never see on film such as Beetee and Wiress’ reaping. There’s also footage of the reaping of Finnick and Mags, which we only get to see in brief glimpses while Haymitch goes over the victors in the Capitol.
One Vision mostly focuses on deeper discussion of the themes of the books and is a great watch for any fan of The Hunger Games.
You’ll find that some of the interviews on the Bonus Disc overlap with the stuff on Surviving the Games, which can be a little odd at times, but overall the Bonus Disc from Target is a great watch and really gives you firm reassurance that Mockingjay is in great hands. With the beautiful packaging and a free poster with any pre-order, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would buy the regular combo pack since it’s only $3 less than this exclusive edition.
Review of the BestBuy Steelbook and Walmart Double Feature discs will follow in the coming days.