Cards on the table: I very much enjoyed reading the Hunger Games books and while I liked the first film enough to give it a good review, I thought it had a number of frustrating problems, most notably its assumption that everyone who saw the film had read the book, so it felt like the film skimped on important background details (They also completely bungled the romantic triangle element, so the ending lacked emotional impact, but that’s another blog post). Anyway, the second film in the trilogy looks like it has addressed both of those issues as well as opening the story out into a broader seeds-of-a-rebellion thriller.
Now that Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) have survived The Hunger Games they are essentially celebrities, but both Katniss’s rebellious gesture (the three fingered salute) and her Mockingjay badge have been taken up by the down-trodden people as symbols of resistance, leading President Snow (Donald Sutherland) to decide that she has to be eliminated.
To that end, he forces Katniss to compete in the 75th Hunger Games, where the contestants are drawn from all the previous winners (i.e. experienced hunters and killers). I like how the trailer subtly echoes the trailer for the first film, including some of the same shots and reversals of others (e.g. Katniss being led away) and ending with the same moment of Katniss emerging onto the Hunger Games battlefield and immediately taking off (only this time she’s plunging into water).
There’s much more of a sense of her being torn between Peeta and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) this time round too, with brief shots of Peeta declaring his love for her and Gale dedicating himself to the resistance.
There’s also a glimpse of new cast addition Philip Seymour Hoffman (as Plutarch Heavensbee) and I’m already looking forward to his scenes with Sutherland. There seem to be some added touches too, such as the holographic attack simulators. I’m also hoping Elizabeth Banks gets more to do this time round, although she’s almost completely absent from the trailer.
The trailer also cleverly teases the reveal of Katniss’ Mockingbird-themed outfit, which looks like a pretty cool moment. So, yes, officially excited, although I still don’t think they should be splitting the final novel into two movies. At any rate, the film opens here on November 21st. May the odds ever be in your favour and all that sort of thing.