SDCC '13: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire — Trailer Analysis

Michelle Douvris ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor
The Hunger Games
Yesterday was a “big, big, big” day for Hunger Games fans, as Effie Trinket would say. The first full theatrical trailer for Catching Fire, the second installment in the blockbuster franchise, premiered at Comic-Con and hit the web immediately after. At Comic-Con and on the Net, fans went wild. Here are some things that I noticed about this newly released trailer that give insight into the kind of movie that director Francis Lawrence has made:
The stakes are higher in Catching Fire. Sure, Katniss was fighting for her life in The Hunger Games, but now she’s fighting for something that’s much bigger than herself. The first movie did a great job of introducing us to the world of Panem, but now we get to really delve deeper into this complicated society and the issues within it.
The costumes are awesome. Director Francis Lawrence hired Trish Summerville (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) to take over the costume department and you can see such an improvement just in the two released trailers. Katniss’ wedding dress, the chariot costumes, and the arena outfits all pop on screen while remaining authentic to the books.
There has been a major improvement in visual effects. The Catching Fire team really reaped (ha, get it?) the benefits from The Hunger Games’ massive box office haul of $684 million by increasing the movie’s budget significantly. Gary Ross did a pretty good job with the first movie when it came to special effects, but Lawrence had the extra money to spend on CGI and it really shows. Glimpses of the Capitol as well as Katniss and Peeta’s chariot scene show off a more polished, believable look. It will be really exciting to see what he has done with the arena.
Catching Fire is a film where emotions run high, which offers the cast more opportunities to shine. Jennifer Lawrence has some amazing material to work with in this movie, and this trailer indicates that she really brought her A-game. The expression on her face as she ascends into the arena at the end of the trailer is the work of a true Oscar-winner. Josh Hutcherson is also starting to grow into his role as Peeta, and his strength as an actor is growing consistently with the strength of his character.
Catching Fire introduces plenty of new characters that add dimension to the story. Fan favorites like Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) and Joanna Mason (Jena Malone) will be exciting additions to the franchise and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s role as Plutarch Heavensbee adds an extra dash of Oscar caliber to the star-studded cast. It will be interesting to see how these new characters will play off of the original cast members.
Catching Fire doesn’t hit theaters until November 22nd, but Lionsgate has already kicked their marketing campaign into high gear. Stay tuned for tons of more promotional material leading up to the big release.

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