There were changes from the book to the screen but they work. Granted, it has been since the summer of 2011 that I read the book but the material was still fresh in my head.
Director Francis Lawrence takes over in the director’s chair from Gary Ross while screenwriting duties belong to Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt. The choices they made in the adaptation are completely defensible (True, there were differences in the first film, too, but they were not life-shattering). It moved the story along and at a quick pace–I did not look at my watch once and had a feeling that the film was coming to an end at the moment it did.
Director Lawrence brings a smart and smooth direction employed by a script that is enriched with a deeper exploration of those thought provoking themes of the franchise.
Returning actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones, Willow Shields, and Paula Malcolmson.
Newcomers: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Lynn Cohen, Jena Malone, Amanda Plummer, and Meta Golding.
The film starts as Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) returns home following the win of the 74th Annual Hunger Games with fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). They must soon leave their families and friends to embark on the Victor’s Tour of all the districts. Katniss realizes that a rebellion is starting to ensue but President Snow and the Capitol are very much still in control as preparations are made for the 75 Annual Hunger Games, which happens to be the 3rd Quarter Quell. The 75th Games may very well change Panem forever.
The film ends on a cliffhanger to pave the way for the first of two Mockingjay films.
RUNNING TIME: 2 hours, 26 minutes