The first Hunger Games film was a solid piece of cinema, but nothing exceptional. The filmmakers kicked it up a notch for this one. The premise is, of course, a little doofy, but at least believable. Since Katniss and Peeta were winners of the 74th Games, and became so by outright defying the Capitol, now, the Panem rulers have to maintain the celebrity of these winners while not letting their (really Katniss’s) symbolism of defiance infect the other Districts and foment a rebellion.
The answer? A new and improved Games. All the players are former winners! Yay! This gives them license to bring in some young, good-looking folks (Jena Malone, Sam Claflin) but also some older folks (Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer), which is a nice change of pace. Also added to the proceedings is the newest Gamesmaker, the awesomely named Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman).
This film has the same basic structure as the first: a million hours of set up, and ten minutes of Games. Okay, I’m exaggerating. But I still felt like the Games weren’t as interesting as they could be. Though they are better than the previous film. And the finale is way more interesting, leaving the Mockingjay films the option to do almost anything. Personally, I can’t wait.
Donald Sutherland was in Catching Fire with Liam Hemsworth. Liam Hemsworth was in…