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You don't even need to be a Hunger Games nerd to know that there are 24 tributes in the arena during each Game. Seeing the first movie is enough to explain it-- there are 12 districts in the post-apocalyptic country of Panem, and 2 tributes from each district are sent to the games to fight to the death, all as a way to remind average people of how powerful and ruthless the government is (it works). Even though the Games of Catching Fire are a bit different, bringing in previous victors to fight instead of average scared teenagers, the 24 contender rule still stands. So why on earth does this banner only have 10 people on it?
Hunger Games Explorer, which has been slowly unveiling this banner over the last week, doesn't have any answers, which leaves me to just reach the obvious one-- "These are the biggest characters and also the most photogenic people." Most of the faces on this banner, which you can see much larger by clicking here, are familiar for one reason or another-- far on the left there's Katniss and Peeta, our familiar heroes from The Hunger Games, and over to the right, there's the much-hyped Finnick, played by Sam Claflin and tragically wearing a shirt in this image. Still, if you want a bit of beefcake, here's a larger look at this Finnick shot:
Other major faces in there include Jena Malone as Johanna, the killer axe-thrower from District 7 who initially loathes Katniss, and Geoffrey Wright as Beetee, the electronics genius from District 3 who, along with his fellow tribute Wiress (Amanda Plummer) helps Katniss immensely in the Games. The giant guy with the spear is Brutus, played by Bruno Gunn, who comes from District 2, known for creating some of the best fighters. He, along with Enobaria, Cashmere and Gloss are known collectively as the "Careers," a bunch of hard-fighting badasses who don't think twice about killing. Of course, our heroine Katniss is also a hard-fighting badass, but in the context of the Hunger Games arena, even a little bit of empathy can set you apart.
This banner has the characters in poses only vaguely different from the character posters like this one released recently, so combine that with the glaring lack of the other 14 tributes and this banner isn't all that helpful. I'd much rather have a mashup of everyone in their finery from the first portraits revealed. Don't you want to see Katniss in her crazy dress and Stanley Tucci's foppish Caesar Flickerman looking like the most awkward family portrait of all time?
Uninspired banners aside, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is still among the most promising giant movies of the fall, promising a little taste of blockbuster season just after we've gotten over all the excesses of summer. You can click here for everything else you need to know about it.