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The first official clip from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire landed just a few hours ago, handing over the spotlight to hunky corner of the love triangle Liam Hemsworth for his appearance on Jay Leno. Now today we've got yet another clip, and this one is actually right in the middle of the action, featuring a tense fight between Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) in the midst of their Victory Tour, which is best described as the worst road trip of all time.
To explain what's going on here requires a bit of heavy lifting, but here goes-- the scene comes early in the film, when Katniss and Peeta are touring the entire country of Panem by train, participating in ceremonies at every other district, which also sent kids to fight in The Hunger Games and didn't get to see their kids come home. In this scene, in the agriculture-heavy District 10, Katniss and Peeta have just seen a ceremony interrupted by a symbol of rebellion from the audience-- a rebellion that's been emboldened by Katniss's decision to keep Peeta alive at the end of their Games. The peacekeepers, a.k.a. cops, don't take kindly to rebellion, so what was supposed to be a stiff and proper ceremony-- which included Katniss and Peeta sharing some of their winnings with the families of the District 10 kids who died-- has turned violent.
Katniss and Peeta are in the awkward position of being propaganda puppets for the government, as victors of The Hunger Games, but also responsible for the bloody rebellion that's taking over the country. It's a fascinating contrast and one that makes the early, slower passages of Catching Fire intriguing, as if this dystopian young adult world has suddenly turned into a paranoid 70s thriller, where the government is always listening (that's why Haymitch is yelling at them in a musty attic) and every decision has to be perfectly calibrated. The Catching Fire twist is that a big part of the political ruse requires Katniss and Peeta to be in love, a fairly lame invention by author Suzanne Collins (that only gets sillier as the series goes on), but the kind of thing that keeps "Teem Peeta" and "Team Gale" T-shirt manufacturers in business, so who's gonna stop it?
The action in Catching Fire comes when Katniss and Peeta wind up back in the arena, but those scenes have only been hinted at in the marketing so far. WIth just a few weeks to go until the November 22 debut, Catching Fire is using the same tactic as The Hunger Games, keeping most of its action-- and violence against fairly young people, it's worth noting-- under its hat. Given how well that worked out the first time, I'm not gonna question it.