To give some pretext, my experience of seeing The Hunger Games last year was one of crushed optimism. The initial trailer kind of hooked me. I liked the look and the potential social commentary they could have been mounting, but then the film did everything it could to confuse me, the uninitiated. That role of having not read the books before seeing the films is one I intend to keep up, if only because we need a dial for how they work as films, rather than banal translations of the books.
So even though I’m bracing for the kind of fandering (fan-pandering) that made the first film so inaccessible, I was a bit intrigued by the first trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Water for Elephants director Francis Lawrence may not be the man the series deserves at the helm, but he seems to be a better fit than Gary Ross was. The costumes look more genuinely glamorous, it actually looks like a dystopian future now, and any film could always do with a little more Philip Seymour Hoffman, even if he’s unlikely to be much more than a low-level supporter.
The staggering incoherence of the first film will always be there, and this series will likely continue to exist simply for the fans of the books. What didn’t work in the first film may very well continue malfunctioning, like the utterly unbelievable romantic stakes at play. I’m already bracing for another opportunity wasted, but at least the core fans will dig it. Take a look at the trailer here and then come back to star the conversation in the comments.