Having been selected at the annual Reaping as the Tribute to compete for District 12 in the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) came through her first Games. ‘Catching Fire‘ is the second Hunger Games movie and begins with Katniss and her fellow survivor Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), taking part in a Victory Tour of the Districts. Katniss has a part to play but she won’t abide by the rules; she deviates from the prepared scripts and planned appearances, revealing a rebellious streak which soon makes her a symbol of hope for the repressed people of the Districts. As a threat to the Capitol, she must be eliminated in the next Games, the 75th. But Katniss has allies, both within the arena of the Games and beyond. Can her compatriots ensure her survival?
This is a full-on action movie, with thrilling, unexpected plot twists and futuristic special effects. The Tributes crashing through the rainforest to escape an encroaching cloud of poisonous gas, which gains on them with every panicked stride, is the stuff of my nightmares. Vicious mandrills, dehydration and electric shocks all conspire to defeat the young warriors, but from my seat in the living room, I was rooting for Katniss and Peeta at every turn.
There is something at the heart of this dystopian story which terrifies me; the possibility of it all, world politics and corrupt power coupled with money and weapons, dividing us all into factions, haves and have nots. One part of me knows it’s a story, but if I were to believe at least some of what is written and reported from militarized societies in the world today, Suzanne Collins and her imaginative ilk may be more prophetic than we care to acknowledge. Best not to think too deeply, just enjoy the movie!
(Whilst the books form a trilogy, the final instalment has been divided into two films. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was released on 20 November 2014 in the UK and is still showing in some cinemas.)