Suzanne Collins’ second bestselling novel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has been adapted for the screen by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and Michael Arndt (as Michael deBruyn, Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3) with Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Water for Elephants) taking over the franchise reigns from Gary Ross. This thrilling, emotional and all-round superior sequel further develops the fascinating world of Panem and the narrative’s primary themes and situates our brave heroine Katniss Everdeen (portrayed by Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence, the girl on fire literally) within a politically-charged period of Panem’s history where she finds herself once again a beacon of hope for civilians and unwillingly assigned a vital role in the shaping of their future. This is again dependent on her survival through the 75th Annual Hunger Games.
Catching Fire commences with Katniss and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) at home in District 12. On the eve of their televised and celebrated Victory Tour throughout the districts, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) visits Katniss and challenges her to continue to convince Panem that her defiance in the 74th Games was out of love for Peeta and not with the intention to inspire rebellion against the Capitol and the barbaric annual event. The lives of her family, and the man who has truly captured her heart, Gale (Liam Hemsworth), are threatened if she refuses compliance.
When Snow senses an uprising, despite Katniss’ best attempts to protect her family, he hires master game designer Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) as any ally, who suggests they add a new rule for the Games honouring the Third Quarter Quell – that contestants be reaped from the existing pool of victors. Katniss and Peeta find themselves once again representing District 12, aligned against some disgruntled (some highly skilled, others aging) former victors. With Panem on the brink of rebellion and the Capitol losing sight of the power they have long presided over, will their primary means at keeping order be the key to their undoing?
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