Movies and TVThe Hunger Games: Everything You Need to Know Before Mockingjay - Part 2
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Directed by Francis Lawrence. Produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik. Written by Simon Beaufoy and Michael deBruyn. Release date: November 22, 2013.
After the overwhelming financial and moderate critical success of The Hunger Games, it was decided - if it wasn't already - that its novel sequel, Catching Fire, would be made into a film, too. A new director, Francis Lawrence, was brought in; he would helm the final three movies in the series. The film was even more financially and critically successful and established The Hunger Games as one of the best young adult adaptations ever.
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence): The film's protagonist. She volunteered for the 74th Hunger Games, and was a co-winner. Possible love interest of both Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne.
Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson): The co-winner of the 74th Hunger Games, and possible love interest of Katniss Everdeen.
Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth): Katniss Everdeen's best friend and possible love interest.
Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson): An alcoholic who mentored Katniss and Peeta in the 74th Hunger Games. He returns to that role in Catching Fire.
President Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland): The ruler of Panem and the Capitol. The series' antagonist.
Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks): The Capitol-assigned chaperone of the District 12 tributes.
Cinna (Lenny Kravitz): Katniss' stylist and confidant.
Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci): The Master of Ceremonies and commentator for the Hunger Games.
Claudius Templesmith (Toby Jones): Commentator for the Hunger Games.
Primrose "Prim" Everdeen (Willow Shields): Katniss' sister. Initially chosen as District 12's tribute for the Hunger Games, but her sister took her place.
Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman): The Gamemaker of the 75th Hunger Games.
Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin): A contestant in the 75th Hunger Games who teams up with Katniss and Peeta.
Johanna Mason (Jena Malone): A contestant in the 75th Hunger Games who teams up with Katniss and Peeta.
Beetee Latier (Jeffrey Wright): A contestant in the 75th Hunger Games who teams up with Katniss and Peeta.
After becoming co-winners of the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, President Snow has discovered that their defiance has begun to cause riots and rebellions in the various Districts. In hopes of quelling these acts, he tells Katniss to make all of Panem believe that she did not do it out of defiance and that she really loved Peeta. The co-winners are going on a media tour. It isn't successful.
Snow decides that the 75th Hunger Games will see previous winners taking place. Katniss and Peeta are once again to take part in a Hunger Games. Katniss decides that Peeta will win, and she will do everything she can to ensure that happens. She does not know that Peeta has made a similar pact, but with far more people.
At the games, Katniss aligns herself with several different people, who all have vowed to ensure that she wins. As the contestants begin to fall, it becomes clear that more than a few people want Katniss to survive. But why? Because she represents a defiance of authority and a hope that her winning will allow the Districts to rise up and overthrow the Capitol.
This time, though, there is no co-winner. In fact, there is no winner at all. After only a few contestants remain, Katniss attaches an electrified wire to an arrow and fires it at the force field surrounding the battlefield, causing a power failure. An aircraft takes her and a few of the other combatants to safety. It is here where she learns that Haymitch, Beetee, Finnick, Plutarch, and Peeta planned for this and are now preparing a full-scale rebellion against the Capitol and Snow. They are heading to District 13, which was supposedly bombed, but has instead moved underground. Her family is already there, and Gale is also safe. Peeta, however, was captured by the Capitol. District 12 has been destroyed by the Capitol as a result of the defiance during this year's Hunger Games.
Is It Any Good?
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the best of the films thus far, proving itself to be a refined version of its predecessor. Its stakes are higher, it has more drama, and it hits its themes harder. Its action was shot more competently and the action itself is more enjoyable. It does feel like a "middle film," in that it's mostly just setting up for bigger and better things later, but since the ride is so fun, that hardly matters.