Release Date: November 22
Director: Francis Lawrence
Rating: Not Yet Rated
The oppressive powers that be of the Capitol, humiliated from the outcome of last year's Hunger Games, use a loophole to bring Katniss and Peeta back this year to battle a group of the game's previous winners.
What We Know:
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Huctherson) have returned from the 74th annual Hunger Games and now, thanks to the improvisational showmance angle which saved their lives, these pseudo "star-crossed lovers," have become beloved national figures.
However, it seems that the results of the games, was more of a black eye on the face of the Capitol and the corrupt President Snow (Donald Sutherland) than we thought. Now, the safety of District 12's winning tributes, nay, District 12 itself, depends on their maintaining the lie that their love is genuine; the only way for the butt-hurt bureaucrats behinds the games to maintain some level of credibility. That arrangement works okay with Peeta, who has genuine feelings for Katniss, even with aspiring boyfriend, Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) still lurking about.
Despite the couple's cooperation on that front, their infraction would still not go unanswered. With the 75th Hunger Games upon them, the opportunity for the Capitol's revenge would come in the form of something called the Quarter Quell: A "twist" injected into the games every 25 years. In this case, it has called for the return of victors from past Hunger Games. (A gimmick that may have been lifted from Survivor, but whatever...)
Seeing as Katniss and Peeta are the only people from their district who fit the "winners" category, it appears that they are in for back-to-back reapings, forced to take on an all-star edition of the torrential tournament of terror. This time around, their competition consist of, among others, the charismatic trident-towing Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin), the cunning and conniving Johanna Mason (Jena Malone), the deadly District 1 dominator, Gloss (Alan Ritchson), and some much older contestants like Beetee (Jeffrey Wright), Wiress (Amanda Plummer...and don't call her "Honey Bunny"), and even Finnick's 80 year-old mentor, Mags (Lynn Cohen).
Things seem bleak for the alluring archer and the bread-chucking body-painter. However, it soon becomes apparent that not all of their fellow cast of competitors are here to play their roles as kid-killing quislings. Amongst them lie what may be the seeds of a rebellion; one that was ignited, in part, by the concocted-couple's actions last year.
Also filling the cast are returnees, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Willow Shields, Toby Jones, and Stanley Tucci.
(Sam Claflin as "Finnick Odair" seemingly taking an interest in Jennifer Lawrence's "Katniss Everdeen.")
What We Expect:
Replacing the first film's helmer, Gary Ross, is Francis Lawrence, who brings directorial experience from films like I Am Legend, Constantine, and Water for Elephants. However, don't look for any stylistic deviations. This second film, (which will be followed by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay parts 1 & 2 respectively in 2014 and 2015,) will certainly follow the formula of the first film with little resistance. Yet, this entry will also likely be defined by a transition to a dramatic change in tone.
The first film managed to establish the reaping, the games, etc. and presented what seemed to be microscopic levels of resistance to the fascist forces of the drama-inducing despotic dictatorship who control the games. However, the primary goal of our heroes in The Hunger Games was survival, both by brute force and audience politicking. Now, our protagonists will be empowered for the first time and realize that they're not alone in their desire to end the madness of their oppressors.
From this point on, the series becomes about the overall battle against the Capitol's brutal, aristocratic, rule. This will be the point where our heroes discover that they are not as helpless as stunts like the Hunger Games itself were designed to make them feel. Indeed, the title, "Catching Fire," (which was NOT named after a really good Bob Marley album,) will, much like Katniss' combustible couture, become symbolic of a phenomenon destructive to those forces, quickly spreading like flames in places where there was once nothing but fear.
Be sure to check out more of G4's 2013 movie previews throughout the month of January.