Run time: 146mins

Director: Francis Lawrence

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Jena Malone and Sam Clafin

Synopsis: Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.

When it was released last year The Hunger Games, from director Gary Ross, instantly became one of the hits of the year.  This second helping of the post-apocalyptic, dystopian sci-fi fable, based on the Suzanne Collins trilogy of novels, has opened to record attendances everywhere.  It is also available to view in IMAX.

At the end of The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) made a suicide pact with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) which forced Panem’s tyrannical President Snow (Donald Sutherland) to back down. Now Snow is determined to regain the upper hand. Since Katniss has become a beacon of hope to the impoverished people of District 12, Snow begins by deviously manipulating public opinion against her. But he then realises that other winners pose a similar threat in their own districts, so when the 75th Annual Hunger Games are announced, there’s a rule change to make this the most brutal fight to the death ever. Only previous victors can compete, which means Katniss’s ordeal has only just begun.

As the resourceful heroine, Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone, Silver Linings Playbook, Hunger Games) shines, ably abetted by such luminaries as Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci and Woody Harrelson.

In a recent interview in the Guardian, veteran star Sutherland said that he hoped young fans of the Hunger Games would be inspired to seek political change and a better society.  A lofty aim for a film that is not really the standalone it claims to be and is quite hard work if you are unfamiliar with the franchise or the books.

Images courtesy of Lionsgate