Matt Adcock’s film review: Hunger Games sequel gives me an appetite for another helping or two

“I want you to forget everything you think you know about the games. Last year was child’s play. This year, you’re dealing with experienced killers.”

The life and death Hunger Games are back on the big screen and this time the stakes have been raised even higher – thanks to Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) managing to win the 74th Games along with fellow ‘tribute’ Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson).

Undated Film Still Handout from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Pictured: Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Lionsgate Publicity. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Undated Film Still Handout from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Pictured: Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Lionsgate Publicity. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Alas winning only means that the two victors are now pawns of the corrupt President Snow (Donald Sutherland) who wants to use them to try and quell a potential rebellion.

in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Katniss and Peeta are dispatched on a Victor’s Tour of the districts, but when the people start to see Katniss as a hero they can rally behind, the Capitol prepares to get rid of her by making the 75th Annual Hunger Games a ‘Quarter Quell’ - a special event where the previous winners must now fight to the death.

With the odds stacked against Katniss by President Snow and a new devious Games creator in post in the form of Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman), this Hunger Games may well change the future of Panem forever.

Catching Fire is slickly put together and directed by Frances ‘I Am Legend’ Lawrence and I’ve been told by fans that it adheres very closely to the Suzanne Collins’ bestseller that it is based on.

Jennifer Lawrence has made the role of Katniss her own – and she’s ably supported by the eclectic range of other contestants including Finnick (Sam Claflin), Johanna (Jena Malone) and Beetee (Jeffrey Wright) to name but a few.

There are some great special effects balanced with enough threat to stop the film feeling as if it’s only for teens.

It could have probably done more justice to the brutal elements if given a higher certificate but the director has managed to squeeze a lot of grimness out of the 12a – so it isn’t for those youngsters who might be easily disturbed.

The film flies past even though it is over two hours long as you get caught up in the political power plays as well as the gruesome Games themselves.

Catching Fire being the middle book of the trilogy means that it ends mid action, which will frustrate some – but does mean that you’ll very likely want to come back and see how it all ends in the obligatory two film adaptation of the final book.

Click on the video report to see what some of the stars have to say about the movie