Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson return to play Katniss and Peeta, the two winners of the 74th Hunger Games in this sequel to the hugely successful Hunger Games film released a few years ago.

For those unfamiliar with the source material the Hunger Games films are based on a trilogy series of books by  the American author Suzanne Collins. The first book was written in 2008 and the story borrows elements from Greek Mythology and also Roman Gladiatorial combat. It also bears a few similarities to Koushun Takami’s Battle Royale which also involved teenagers being forced to fight each other to the death in an isolated location. Battle Royale was also turned into a popular movie directed by Beat Takeshi and it become a cult hit. Movies involving people being hunted in an isolated area as part of a game have always been popular but also a rarity. The genre first became popular when a film adaptation of The Most Dangerous Game aka The Hounds of Zaroff was made by RKO Radio Pictures in 1932. The story was first written as a short story by Richard Connell in 1924. It was about a man who washes up on an isolated island after surviving a shipwreck. The man is then hunted by a Cossack aristocrat who sees the hunt as a sport or contest. The film version starred Joel McCrea, Leslie Banks and Fay Wray and was made before the Hayes Code.

Movie fans who have not yet seen the first Hunger Games movie or read the book should definitely check them out. This review of the trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will contain some spoilers regarding the first movie in an attempt to recap the events leading up to the sequel.

The Hunger Games
is set in a post-apocalyptic world and the story takes place in the nation of Panem which is where North America used to be. In Panem, a big city called The Capitol has control over the rest of the nation and the wealthy people in The Capitol live a privileged life. The people living outside the city suffer a hard life of poverty and are ruled over with an iron fist by the man who controls The Capitol, President Snow ( played by Donald Sutherland.)

As punishment for a past rebellion against the Capitol, in which a 13th district was destroyed, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected by an annual lottery to participate in the Hunger Games. The Games are a contest where the teenagers have to fight each other to the death. Katniss and Peeta are from District 12 and they were chosen to represent their district in the 74th Hunger Games event. The game is only meant to have one winner but Katniss and Peeta who are the last two contestants left in the game refuse to kill each other. They are made joint winners of the event but their defiance did not go unnoticed by President Snow. Snow fears that their victory may inspire the oppressed people living outside The Capitol. They may start to believe they can rebel against the powers that be and see Katniss and Peeta as symbols of that rebellion. This puts their lives in danger as President Snow decides they are too dangerous to be left alive. He plans to discredit them by making them darlings of Capitol society. He hopes doing this will alienate their supporters in the districts who will be tricked into believing that their champions have sold out or abandoned them to the rich world of The Capitol. If this ploy works Katniss and Peeta will then be killed by Snow and the oppressed people in the districts will not care about them.

This diabolical plot is the main focus of the story in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Many of the actors from the first movie return including Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth and Stanley Tucci. Philip Seymour Hoffman also appears in the film as an aide to President Snow and he is a welcome addition.

The story is very interesting and it will be cool to see how Katniss and Peeta can survive. Will they be able to inspire the people to revolt and fight their oppressors? The trailer does give the viewer some details and food for thought. If Katniss and Peeta escape The Capitol and seek refuge with the people of the districts then President Snow’s plan will fail. The people may decide it is time to fight and a revolution will begin. In the trailer the two protagonists appear to have escaped back to District 12 and well armed security personnel from The Capitol have followed them there. This should make the situation rather volatile and the people in the District will be keen to protect their heroes. The whole situation is like a powder keg waiting to go off and the confrontation between the Capitol and the Districts is liable to be an explosive one. The other winners of the previous Hunger Games contests are also now a target for President Snow as he sees them all as symbols of hope to the Districts.

The action in the film takes place on a larger scale compared to the first movie which had the main event isolated in a small woodland area. The trailer does a good job of illustrating this and showing how high the stakes are. The trailer is well structured and it gives away just enough information to make people interested but without spoiling too much. The editing is nicely done and the trailer contains a nice balance of action and drama.

The series takes place in a world devoid of fancy technology and special effects which adds a sense of realism. The story is also compelling and should feature enough drama to captivate audiences when the film is released.

Fans eager to see the film can catch it at cinemas when it released on November 22nd. Enjoy the trailer and let us know what you think.