The follow-up to “The Hunger Games,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is built on the fiery start that its predecessor had provided. Based on Suzanne Collins’ popular dystopian book series, “Catching Fire” is adapted from the series’ second book. Director Francis Lawrence replaced Gary Ross in this film, and he would continue to direct all the future “The Hunger Games” films. “Catching Fire,” in a bid to do justice to its name, runs away with the flame that the first film had ignited. The return of its superb cast and the addition of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman ensured that the fight for Panem remained a global phenomenon.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) have returned to District 12. But their lives are changed. For instance, they have a better home now. As the Victors, they are allowed certain luxuries. These do not necessarily seem to have made either Katniss or Peeta happy. Katniss, on her part, considered the entire ‘love affair’ with Peeta an act. An act to survive the Hunger Games. She says this to Gale (Liam Hemsworth) while kissing him. Peeta, however, does not seem to have been fully acting. It is clear that Peeta has some feelings for Katniss. He always did, to be honest. And it is not just Peeta who has some feelings for Katniss.

President Snow (Donald Sutherland) harbors a different kind of sentiment for Katniss. One of fear and hatred. Snow visits and reminds Katniss that her action has inspired some sporadic rebellious movements from certain districts. It is of utmost importance to the Capitol that people believe Katniss and Peeta were spared because of love, and their rebellious acts have not been unpunished. Snow makes it clear that failing to do so would ensure the death of everyone Katniss ever loved.


Recommended Read: The Hunger Games (2012) Movie Ending Explained: Are Katniss and Peeta in Danger Now?


So, Katniss and Peeta, along with their mentor, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) start their Victory tour with renewed and energized pretension of love. But it immediately hits a barricade in District 11. The district that started the rebellious acts after their female Tribute, Rue, had been killed in the Hunger Games. Remember, Katniss showed a solidarity sign to the camera after Rue’s death. That three-fingered salute has become the warcry for the uprising. Katniss has not anticipated this, but when she and Peeta make a speech from their heart for the fall of District 11, the three-fingered salute starts to rise. Katniss and Peeta witness the ruthlessness of the Capitol as they spare no effort to quash the smallest voice of dissent.

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) Movie Ending Explained:

Why Did President Snow Call Katniss and Peeta back for the Hunger Games?

After the small-scale insurgence at District 11, Katniss and Peeta toe the line for the rest of their district-wise journey. But that does not pacify President Snow’s anger. His peacemakers (policing department) start to become even more ruthless, and curfews are enforced. Back in District 12, Gale tries to stand up against one peacemaker who was beating an old woman. He is punished with a severe lashing in the town center. Katniss tries to stop it, which brings Peeta and Haymitch to the fray as well. Once again, Katniss’ involvement almost triggered another rebellion. President Snow could feel Katniss’ influence on his people as well.

It becomes paramount for Snow to get rid of Katniss. But, openly killing her would mean she becomes a permanent martyr. That could be the force that frees the avalanche of insurgence, which has been intermittent so far. So, Snow brings a new Gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), to design the latest edition of Hunger Games, which could be used to kill both Katniss and Peeta. So, Plutarch and Snow hatch a plan to masquerade their plan of killing Katniss. They announce that the latest and 75th edition of Hunger Games is only for the previous winners. This ensures that Katniss is automatically selected as the District 12 tribute, as there is no other previous female winner from District 12. Peeta also volunteers over Haymitch.

Why Did the Tributes Sacrifice Themselves to Save Katniss and Peeta?

The Hunger Games Catching Fire - hof
Elizabeth Banks in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

The usual cheeriness of the Capitol’s celebration of Hunger Games seems to have taken a little bit of a beating. The tributes are not necessarily happy to be called back for the Games. The rebellious mood seems to have permeated through the Capitol as well. Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), the fashion designer who made Katniss “The Girl on Fire,” takes a particularly brave step. He designs Katniss’ dress for the presentation, and he goes against what President Snow wished. He does make the wedding dress that President Snow wanted Katniss to wear (as a morbid reminder for Katniss, who was about to marry Peeta to ensure their pretended love is not doubted), but the dress is then turned into a Mockingjay bird. A symbol that has become synonymous with Katniss’ resistance.

Cinna pays dearly for that as the helpless Katniss witnesses him being beaten to death just before she enters the arena of the Games. Inside the tropical forest (this year’s theme for the Games), Katniss and Peeta find many tributes siding with them. It starts with District 4’s Finnick (Sam Claflin), who starts to become their ally. Then, when the group is attacked by a group of particularly aggressive mandrills, one of the tributes of District 6 sacrifices herself to save Peeta. Then some of the other tributes, like Beetee (Jeffrey Wright) from District 3 and Johanna (Jena Malone) from District 7, also align with them. Johanna casually mentions having to keep Katniss alive. This is different from the usual Hunger Games tactics. Katniss and Peeta seem to have some sort of protection from a few of the other tributes.

Is Plutarch on Katniss’ Side?

The reason for that would be revealed at the end. When Beetee’s plan to electrocute the Careers goes a bit awry, Katniss is seemingly attacked by Johanna. But she cuts the tracker out of Katniss’ arm so that the capitol cannot track her. Upon returning to the tree that Beetee was trying to use as a conductor for the lightning to generate electricity, Katniss finds Beetee unconscious. She doubts Finnick at first, but Finnick asks her to remember who the real enemy is. Katniss, understanding the meaning of that, attaches the electric coil to her arrow and shoots that toward the end of the dome that is the arena of the Hunger Games, just when the lightning strikes. This causes the arena to collapse, but Katniss gets injured herself.

Back in the control room of the Hunger Games, the camera goes black as Katniss’ arrow hits the dome roof. President Snow looks for Plutarch, but he is nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, back inside the Games arena, the unconscious Katniss is taken away by a rogue hovercraft. Later, Katniss would wake up and find Haymitch, Finnick, and Plutarch together. They would reveal that a revolution is underway, and Katniss is the beacon of hope for that. Half of the tributes were already part of it, and that is why they sacrificed their lives to save her and Peeta. Plutarch is also a key conspirator of the rebellion and is working against Snow.

Is There a District 13?

However, Haymitch reveals that Peeta and Johanna did make the cut. They got captured by the Capitol. A distraught Katniss attacks Haymitch because he promised to keep Peeta safe. It appears that despite Katniss insisting everything was pretense when it came to her and Peeta’s relationship, she has a strong emotional attachment to him. Later, Katniss is also joined by Gale in that hovercraft. Gale informs that District 12 has been eviscerated by President Snow after she escaped the Hunger Games. Katniss is also informed that they are now heading towards District 13, a seemingly deserted and torn-down district, which would act as the rebellion base. From President Snow’s comments, it seemed District 13 was one of the key districts for the first uprising, which is why it was completely wiped off the Panem map later. It is fitting that that district would become the rebel headquarters now.

Read More: How to Watch ‘Hunger Games’ Movies in Order?

Trailer:

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
Cast of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) Movie: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) Movie Genre: Sci-fi/Action, Runtime: 2h 26m
Where to watch The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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