Michelle Douvris ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Movie Editor
The first The Hunger Games: Catching Fire trailer had some pretty big shoes to fill. For one, it would be the first look at the sequel to the The Hunger Games, a box office smash hit and spring release that took in more cash domestically than any Harry Potter or Twilight film. The trailer would also be a glimpse at what Francis Lawrence is bringing to the table after The Hunger Games director Gary Ross left the franchise. Would the new director be able to apply his science fiction background from I Am Legend and his ability to extract emotional depth from actors displayed in his romantic drama Water for Elephants? It would also showcase Jennifer Lawrence back in her signature Katniss braid, in her first role post-Academy Award winning role.
To put it simply, the teaser trailer did not disappoint. Lionsgate’s brilliant marketing team took a similar approach to their campaign for the first film by highlighting mostly exposition and leaving out the real meat of the movie: the Hunger Games themselves. But while we don’t see some of the most beloved scenes from the book in this trailer, what we do see is some pretty impressive stuff.
The trailer focuses mainly on Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) return from the 74th Hunger Games and the conflicts that arise as she becomes the symbol of a rebellion against the tyrannical Capitol. Instead of discreetly returning to her home in peace after the Games, she is forced to embark on a tour with fellow victor Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) where she learns that resentment has been brewing in the twelve districts. The trailer sets up the narrative with a conversation between President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and new Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee (new addition Philip Seymour Hoffman), two conniving characters portrayed by two highly esteemed actors.
From the two and a half minutes we’ve been shown, there are some clear differences from the first film that are evident. It appears that Francis Lawrence has abandoned previous director Gary Ross’ use of shaky, unsteady camera shots, instead opting for a more stylized look. The costumes have also drastically improved, thanks to Girl with the Dragon Tattoo costume designer Trish Summerville. The special effects and set design seem to have seen some positive changes as well, and the actors seem to have a little extra something this time around. (Not to say that the cast wasn’t commendable in the first film, but perhaps in this installment they have more dramatic material to work with.) This trailer shows promise for a sequel even better than the original, and all I can say is that these next seven months are going to be a very long wait. Hopefully Lionsgate will whet our appetites with much more promotional material until The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hits theaters and IMAX November 22nd.