The rules have been written, the arena is set and — despite a casting process so highly publicized that the surrounding debates nearly broke the Internet — the Tributes for the second film in “The Hunger Games” franchise are ready to get busy on the hotly anticipated sequel to last year’s dystopian blockbuster. Principal photography for “Catching Fire” began Monday in Atlanta, kicking off the long countdown to the movie’s November 22, 2013, release.
Thanks to the best-selling and widely read source material, fans of “The Hunger Games” have a good idea of what to expect from the big-screen adaptation of the books they love, at least in terms of the basics: setting, characters and plot. But with more than a year before its release, and with a new director at the helm, there’s a lot that could happen with “Catching Fire” — and no shortage of hopeful speculation, wild wish lists and terrible fears for the end result. What are we hoping for, dreaming of and freaked out about as the sequel takes shape? Read on!
Director Gary Ross proved himself exceptionally loyal to “The Hunger Games” source material when he gave us the series’ first film — going so far as to collaborate with author Suzanne Collins — and we hope Francis Lawrence will be similarly true to the books as he brings “Catching Fire” to life. But Ross also knew when the cinema offered important, useful opportunities to deviate from his source material, and this movie needs the same touch: namely, by forgoing the extended flashbacks to book one and dishing up more character development in its place. The relationship between Katniss and Gale, for instance, got short shrift in the first movie and needs more attention on this go-round in order to spotlight and encapsulate the heroine’s conflict — not between this guy or that guy, but between the safety of her past and the uncertainty of a revolutionary future. Also: more behind-the-scenes glimpses of President Snow at his evil best will make him a more compelling villain.
Knowing more or less what will happen in “Catching Fire,” the only place for unfounded speculation is all about the how of bringing it to life. And without giving away too much, it’s the settings where we’re pinning our most no-holds-barred fantasies: the arena for the 75th Hunger Games, and its peculiar traps and tricks, could be an extravaganza that blows its predecessor out of the water. And if there’s one thing we know about Lawrence, it’s that his background in music videos shows that he has the artistic vision to make this movie heart-stoppingly, jaw-droppingly awesome from a visual standpoint.
Like anyone who loved the books, we are seriously scurred of seeing a favorite scene get lost in translation or a favorite character get chopped. And when it comes to the latter, the risk of a movie-ruining mistake is bigger than ever before; the alliances that form in the Quarter Quell arena are vital to both the emotional core of this story, as well as the larger themes of the franchise. Or, in other words, if the other tributes don’t get enough screen time, “Catching Fire” risks being nothing more than another flat action flick with no soul instead of the portrait of a nascent revolution that we all know it could be.
What are your hopes, dreams and fears for “Catching Fire”? Tell us in the comments!
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”
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