The Hunger Games trilogy is one of my favourite book series. It’s based around the future earth, where the all powerful Capitol, forces children from the surrounding districts to fight to the death in punishment for a long ago uprising. The first film, The Hunger Games, was released last summer, and now the teasing trailers are beginning to emerge for the second in the series, Catching Fire.

The whole trilogy centres around Katniss Everdeen, a 17 year old girl from the coal districts, who enters herself as ‘tribute’ into the fight for survival in order to save her younger sister. The story is equal parts battle for survival and love triangle with the two elements interwoven throughout the series. Essentially if you crossed Japanese horror classic Battle Royale with whiney teen lovestory Twilight, this trilogy would be their lovechild. But while the Twilight love triangle focused on a moany teen with an inability to decide between two deeply flawed men, the Hunger Games places an incredibly strong female protagonist at its core.

The first film in the series sees Katniss keeping her family alive through hunting with handsome male, ‘just a friend’ Gale, before being glammed up and thrown into the arena to fight alongside Peeta. When Peeta confesses his love for her, she uses it as a weapon to save both her and Peeta from being slaughtered for the Capitol’s entertainment. At the films end they are both alive, having earned their survival much to the distaste of the capitol’s leaders.

…Katniss has unwittingly become a symbol of rebellion…

Catching FireThe second film will be picking up the story where the first left off – Peeta and Katniss have survived the Games and now need to pick up their lives again, but everything has changed. The Capitol is out to wreak revenge on them for managing to survive the system. Katniss has unwittingly become a symbol of rebellion and made herself a target to be destroyed, while the downtrodden districts begin to rally against the Capitol leadership. Having confessed her love for Peeta to appease the cameras, Katniss now needs to keep up pretences if she has any hope of survival.

Things are already bleak before the final blow – a special 75th anniversary edition of the Hunger Games means that both her and Peeta will be going back into the arena to fight…

…Jennifer Lawrence makes for an incredibly understandable Katniss…

ID_D24_10474.dngThe books are compelling – and the adaptation of the first film was well done, if a little lacking in places. Friends of mine who haven’t read the book found the film confusing and ill-explained in places, as some key details from the books were skimmed over to save time.

Casting wise Jennifer Lawrence makes for an incredibly understandable Katniss, while Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth played the contrasting love interests, and Woody Harrelson the tough-love mentor.

…the sequel might have more of an ensemble cast feel…

ID_D35_14123.dngAll of the key cast are reprising their roles in the sequel, while Phillip Seymour Hoffman comes onboard as the creator of the games. However a change of director means there might be a slightly different feel to the overall storytelling…

The trailer suggests that we may see more of the Capitol in this film. While most of the first film was focused on the games itself, this one looks like it might set-up more of the complicated way the Capitol operates, the tensions within the different districts, and the impact the games has on the friends, family and audiences outside of the arena. While the first film (and book) focus strongly on Katniss’ personal battle, the sequel might have more of an ensemble cast feel, with both the male leads and various other characters having more screen time.

…this film feels as though it will be on a grander scale…

ID_D14_05930.dngThe trailer looks impressively glossy and shoots of the Capitol have been created with big budget effects. While the first film felt intimate, with handheld camera and an emphasis on the gritty home district where Katniss was raised, this film feels as though it will be on a grander scale. The battle is no longer just the tributes trying to survive but the wider impact on the people of the districts and capitol. The love story takes a back seat to more adult themes of survival and leadership. 

I’m incredibly excited to see this film. The books are so well paced, and develop so well between each book that they are easy to devour in a few sittings. Each book builds upon the themes and events of the last one. Catching Fire looks to be a grander, bigger budget affair than its predecessor The Hunger Games, but at least as exciting.

Hopefully the finer details of the book will have been worked into the adaptation, but if not there’s still time to read the original, or at least watch the first film in the series, before Catching Fire hits theatres on November 22.

 

 

About The Author

Graduated Bristol UWE with a degree in Media Practice - since then I've been working in TV and travelling as much as possible. I'm a bookworm, I watch a lot of movies, and I have a major addiction to baking.

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