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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 04.15.13] action drama dystopic

If the first trailer for Hunger Games: Catching Fire is any indication, it looks like Lionsgate made a great decision in Francis Lawrence for the last three instalments of the Hunger Games franchise.

Though a fan of the first two books, I was disappointed by the pretty but vacant first entry into the franchise which, from the beginning, felt like a toned down version of Suzanne Collins' novel and though it hit all the right marks, it just didn't have the heart I was expecting. Ross didn't return due to the tight turn around of the production schedule leaving Lionsgate to bring on Constantine and I Am Legend director Lawrence who seems to have found little trouble taking over the reigns and if anything, really seems to be capturing a grittiness that was missing from the first movie. And all this from scenes before the characters ever get back into the ring for the Capitol's new baby: The Quarter Quell. After all, when you're afraid of revolution, just kill the revolutionary. Or try to.

The sequel picks up as Katniss and Peeta head on a victor's tour of the districts before returning home and setting up shop in the victor's area of town except as they make their way through the districts, it becomes clear that the pair have become a symbol of revolution to the people of Panem so the leaders put together special games which are designed to kill off the majority of the surviving victors but as expected, things don't go according to the Capitol's plans.

Everyone's back for the sequel, including now Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, though she's not the only actor with that distinction to make an appearance here with the addition of Philip Seymour Hoffman, while Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland all return.

Catching Fire opens November 22nd.

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