Now that Thor: The Dark World is swinging his big ol’ hammer around the box office, next up on the mega-blockbuster schedule is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the second film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ post-apocalyptic, young adult trilogy. If expectations and anticipation are any indicators, this is going to be big, like all-time big. Early projections put the opening weekend numbers at somewhere in the $150 million range, which sounds ludicrous. We’re exactly two weeks away from the November 22 release—if you don’t count preview screenings and late night shows—and we have the first two clips from the film to whet our appetite.
Both clips follows a similar pattern, with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) finally realizing and coming to terms with the realities of her victory in the Hunger Games, especially as it relates to her own continued survival, and that of everyone she loves. Gale (Liam Hemsworth) looks upon this seething rebellion, just manifesting in the twelve districts of the nation of Panem, as an opportunity to finally throw off the chains of their oppressors. Katniss, on the other hand, doesn’t want to bear the weight of that responsibility, of inciting people towards what may ultimately be their deaths. Nothing good will come from those ominous military vehicles rolling in at the end.
In this clip you’re also starting to see the signs of something that looks remarkably similar to post-traumatic stress disorder in the heroine. She lived through a brutal, harrowing ordeal, and both saw and had to do terrible things in order to survive. Her experiences haunt her, changed her, and will color her character through the remaining films in the franchise. If you’ve read Collins’ books, you know how this will look.
Clip number two comes from Katniss and Peeta’s (Josh Hutcherson) victory tour, and further drives home the point that her problems aren’t going to go away anytime soon. As Haymich (Woody Harrelson) says, they’re never truly getting off this train. You see it on her face that Katniss finally understands that President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and the Capital own her as much, if not more, than they did before.
In the story this realization has a huge impact on Haymich as a character, as well as Katniss and Peeta. They, and you, come to recognize that he’s not just a drunk old asshole because that’s who he is, no, he’s still dealing with the fallout from his own victory, not to mention being a mentor. Every year he has the unenviable task of training two young people, only to watch them be slaughtered for entertainment. Most of us would have a hard time with that, and his response is to crawl into a bottle and distance himself from the rest of the world in every way possible.
And don’t forget, The Starving Games also opens this weekend.