With the continued worldwide success of The Hunger Games, fans are already anticipating the sequel Catching Fire, Screen Rant gives us a list of 5 things they think needs to be adjusted in the upcoming adaptation.
#1. World Expansion
The Hunger Games gave us a good overview of the nation of Panem. We were given a sense of how the districts function in relation to the Capitol, as well as the players involved in the political game of chess that is at hand. The Hunger Games themselves become analogous to the large measure of fear and the small measure of hope that President Snow was using to control the citizens of the districts, and the flashy distractions he utilized to manipulate those who reside in the Capitol.
But in order to keep our interest in Catching Fire there is going to need to be a richer and more detailed exploration into the universe in which the story takes place – both to capture the audience, and because it is primarily the circumstances in the country at large that drive the plot.
The inherent challenge is that Gary Ross made a choice to maintain Katniss’ point of view throughout The Hunger Games, which in some ways constricts the ability to demonstrate the scope of the world. That isn’t to say that we never moved away from Katniss throughout the course of the film, it is only to say that when the film did move away from her it was always with the intent of propelling her story. If Ross cut to President Snow it was because he was talking about something relevant to Katniss. The same holds true for any of the other cut-aways that took place in the film.
There will be an opportunity in Catching Fire to either maintain or break that convention. If the production elects to remain tethered to the first person narrative, then some fairly intricate work will need to be done on the script in order for the audience to both understand and invest in the characters as the events (both in and out of the arena) unfold.
#2. Sophisticated Visual Effects:
The setting for the “arena” itself is far more fantastical in Catching Fire than it was inThe Hunger Games. The woods are replaced by an Island lush with color and filled with horror. The effects work in The Hunger Games was minimal and for the most part worked in the created world, but there were moments that were less effective for many audience members. The CGI on the “mutts” towards the end of the film read like video game characters to many viewers. In order for us to stay connected to the sense of urgency in the games the effects in Catching Fire are going to need to be sophisticated and believable. Many franchises (particularly young adult franchises) “cheat” in this area because they know they don’t really need expensive visual effects to draw in their audience – but Catching Fire is a story that could easily lose us if we don’t stay grounded in the world and connected to the consequences.
#3. Up The Action Ante
The Cornucopia (the area where the tributes first enter the arena) payed off in The Hunger Games. It was a brutal, moving and emotionally effective scene – but we are going to need that tension sustained for a longer period of time in the next chapter. Some viewers craved a more visceral sense of danger in the latter portion of the games. Creating a sense of urgency and legitimate peril is a challenge in a film that has both a known outcome and requires a PG-13 rating. It is a delicate balance, but it is one that was achieved in at least one portion of the first film, and must be created for a longer stretch of time in the second in order to make a return to the Games worthwhile for the viewer.
#4. Develop Katniss
We were introduced to Katniss in The Hunger Games, but if we are going to invest in where the story is taking her we are going to need to see far more of the complex creature that she is in the books. As Gary Ross mentioned, she becomes an unwitting symbol for a revolution. We must come to understand her as a person that has no interest in the finer points of politics, but that just by nature of the circumstances she finds herself in, becomes a leader. Katniss is a girl who has been honed in the struggle for survival and is, by her own admission, dangerous and violent. She is of course also compassionate, has integrity and is unwilling to suffer fools gladly. We need the full scope of her humanity or we will not believe that those around her would naturally follow her lead, or that she ultimately has no desire for them to do so.
#5. Increase The Tension In The Love Triangle
Now this is one that some fans may not want to hear, but the truth is that if this franchise wants to keep its female audience (and believe me, the studio does) then this is an area that will need to continue to be nurtured. Some of the increased romantic emphasis is inherent in the novel but the final outcome will rely on the direction of the film. It will be important that the dialogue and tone capture the emotional essence but doesn’t veer so far afield in the sentiment that it alienates the audience members who tend to be less interested in that aspect of the story. Both Peeta and Gale have a strong role to play in the decisions that Katniss makes throughout the course of the story so the connection that she has with each of them needs to be clear and felt. It is a complex love that she experiences and therefor needs to be dealt with some nuance. Additionally, who she ultimately chooses and “why” reveals a great deal about her character.This is, as fans know, not Twilight where the central focus was the romance. The romance plays a role in The Hunger Games as well as the remainder of the trilogy, but it is not the singular, nor ultimately, most important portion of the tale.
Read their full list and explanations at Screen Rant!