Based on the first trailer for Catching Fire, Lionsgate is following the same publicity roadmap they established with the first Hunger Games movie. The spot — which played during last night’s Movie Awards — focused almost exclusively on the early chapters of the book, with nary a single image of fancy jumpsuits and gorgeous tropical death arenas. But the trailer had plenty to chew on for fans, with a peek at a couple iconic scenes — and a couple decidedly-not-in-the-book scenes, too. Let’s dive in and take a look. (Note: I’ll avoid any major spoilers. But c’mon, kids, just read the book, it’s good for you.)
We begin with Peeta and Katniss on their Victory Tour, waving hello to the citizens of Panem. Peeta looks mildly disgusted, as usual. Katniss is rocking some dark this-time-it’s-personal sequel hair.
Meanwhile, in a stately room in the Capitol, franchise baddie President Snow watches Katniss and mulls the new state of affairs. “She has become a beacon of hope for them,” he says. “She’s not who they think she is. She just wants to save her skin.”
Fans of Catching Fire will recognize that this scene marks a significant departure from the books. The Hunger Games novels were all told from Katniss’ present-tense perspective, and the various machinations of figures like President Snow was always kept distant and mysterious.
Here, though, we get a full scene between Snow and Plutarch Heavensbee, the new Gamemaker played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. “I agree she should die, but in the right way, at the right time,” says Plutarch. “We don’t have to destroy her. Just her image.”
It’s interesting to see that the movie is letting the audience in on their plan pretty early. “Show them that she is one of us now,” says Plutarch. “They’re gonna hate her so much they might just kill her for you.” And then the two evil rich guys laugh and laugh and throw caviar in each other’s faces.
Meanwhile, on the tour, Katniss and Peeta are getting a better look at the other Districts of Panem…
…and, more to the point, they’re seeing how their success (and the implied rebellion of their self-sacrifice) has kickstarted an ideological revolt among the downtrodden citizens. “The Odds are Never In Our Favor,” says a piece of graffiti. Expect to see that on T-shirts at freshman orientation this fall.
Katniss and Peeta journey to District 11, known for its agriculture and for the fact that it’s only slightly less poverty-stricken than District 12. This was the home of dead tributes Rue and Thresh (and, in the first Hunger Games movie, the site of an uprising.) Here, the citizens flash Katniss a District 12 salute. It doesn’t end well.
But enough about the poor citizens in the outer Districts! Ace handler Effie Trinket is on hand, modeling what appears to be the corpse of a glam-rock sheep, to lead Katniss and Peeta into a Capitol party. Katniss sort of looks like Mermaid Cleopatra. Peeta looks like the toughest bouncer in a Munchkin nightclub.
Beloved TV personality and dystopian-Seacrest Caesar Flickerman reports live on the Capitol party.
Meanwhile, back in the monochromatic environs of District 12, Katniss hangs out with some old familiar faces. Surely you recall Gale, the rebellious young boy-of-the-forest? “People are looking at you, Katniss,” he tells his childhood friend. “You’ve given them an opportunity.” That Gale sure is charismatic. Shame that he’s so tragically ugly.
Katniss’ younger sister Prim seems to have gotten the rebellious spirit, too. “You gave me a chance…to do something,” she tells Katniss. I can’t recall a scene like this occurring in the book. (Prim was always a background character, although she had a larger part in Mockingjay.) But this does cement one of the key themes of Catching Fire: The idea that Katniss has become a symbol for something, and the simultaneous fact that Katniss badly doesn’t want to be a symbol for anything.
Also, expect to see the bloody Mockingjay on T-shirts at freshman orientation this spring. So many T-shirts possibilities. And we haven’t even met Finnick yet!
A couple interesting shots from the trailer show off much more of District 12 than we saw in Hunger Games. Gotta love that hot-hot sequel cash! Katniss and Gale run into town, with what appears to be a couple oil derricks in the background…
…while this image shows an expanded vision of The Hob, District 12’s market bazaar. Don’t get too attached to it, though. President Snow’s policies don’t tend to favor small-business owners.
A kiss between Katniss and Gale, who is kind of like Peeta — if Peeta were a wild centaur hunter from the forest with great abs. But I ask you: Can Gale bake bread? No he can not. Although he can probably kill a sabre-toothed tiger with his bare hands.
This is the same image, but I asked our photo team to brighten it up a little bit. Purely for research purposes.
One of Catching Fire‘s most terrifying scenes gets teased at the end of the trailer, with Gale accepting a Mel Gibson-worthy torture session from the newest Head Peacekeeper of District 12.
This serious-looking fellow is named Romulus Thread. He is not to be trifled with. (Fun fact: Thread is played by Patrick St. Esprit, who plays a rebellious soldier in a different bleak future on NBC’s Revolution.)
Katniss faces down Thread’s gun after receiving a lash. “Go ahead,” she tells him. “Make my day,” she implies.
Peeta and Haymitch step in to help out, but as the trailer ends, President Snow mutters that he has plans for all the old Victors. “Because of her, they all pose a threat,” he says darkly, planning something devious.
Fellow Hunger Games fans, did you spot anything else in the trailer? Are you excited for the new movie? Anxious to get a look at Johanna Mason? Wondering if anyone will play Young Haymitch? Preparing yourself mentally for your first look at Beetee and Wiress?
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