The Hunger Games: Catching Fire picks up in the semi-immediate aftermath of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark's (Josh Hutcherson) dual victory (read: survival) during the 74th annual Hunger Games. Much to the chagrin of the Capitol, revolution now stirs in the hearts of citizens from the poorer districts of Panem - inspired by Katniss' desperate act of defiance, which was only meant to help Peeta and she to stay alive in the arena.
President Snow (Donald Sutherland) hatches a series of machinations to not just expose Katniss as a faux-revolutionary, but also eliminate her as a threat once and for all. There are several new players joining in the Games in/outside the arena - including newly-appointed Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and former Games champion Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) - but will they be of help to Snow in stomping out the (metaphorical) fire? Or might some of them join Katniss, as she become a leader in the rebellion against the oppressive Capitol?
Several high-resolution and non-watermarked versions of previously-unveiled Catching Fire images have been released online, in addition to another photo of Katniss in the film (via EW). Feel free to click through and inspect them at your leisure, in the gallery below:
[Click for Full-Sized Version]
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All things considered, the overall production design and values for Catching Fire - encompassed by the costumes from Trish Summerville (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and additional sets/props designed by Philip Messina (The Hunger Games) - look slick and eye-catching on their own terms, even given the noticeable aesthetic similarities to past films in the dystopian sub-genre (notably, the Hunger Games franchise's cousin The Running Man).
Having said that, the Quarter Quell uniforms haven't been to the liking of many Hunger Games book fans; not to mention, Claflin as Finnick is very much a wild card choice - seeing how the actor has yet to leave a strong impression in a blockbuster setting (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Snow White and the Huntsman). He's one of a few new casting selections that have book fans wary, only because we all have little more than the actors' appearances to go off right now (read: how well they fit their assigned character role).
Fortunately, some of the people working behind the camera - including director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) as well as screenwriters Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and Michael Arndt (Oblivion) - inspire more confidence right away, when it comes to Catching Fire turning out well - as does the footage shown in trailers so far. At the end of the day, that's the difference-maker: how all these costumes and sets look in motion (the same goes for cast performances).
Are you feeling excited or wary about The Hunger Games: Catching Fire right now? Let us know in the comments section.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens in regular and select IMAX theaters on November 22nd, 2013.
Source: Lionsgate [via EW]