The Hunger Games was dubbed "the new Twilight" prior to the arrival of Gary Ross's debut instalment on the big screen last year. Yet the film's slick depiction of a post-apocalyptic society in which the "dandyish" 1% thrill to the bloodthirsty televised battles of a group selected from the downtrodden general populace made for surprisingly enticing material.
Now the first full trailer for sequel Catching Fire has been released, debuting last night at the MTV Movie awards, with recent Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence once again front and centre as Katniss Everdeen. Having survived the deadly arena and really narked off the powers that be in the first movie, our heroine now finds herself preparing to be paraded round the various districts of Panem while the mean old Capitol bods work out what on earth to do with her.
Suzanne Collins's 2009 sequel novel spent far too many pages justifying its own existence, so fingers crossed Francis Lawrence's film will avoid making the same mistake and put Everdeen back where the action is as soon as possible. The trailer nicely teases the decision by chief bad guy President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and new sidekick Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to introduce a special supergames – named the "quarter quell" – in which victors from the past 25 years or so compete again in an ultra-nasty, extra-vicious new arena until the last one is standing.
One area where Hunger Games has mirrored Twilight is in studio Lionsgate's decision to rush the follow-up into production while appetite remains strong, a move that saw Ross walk away from the series last year. Whether Hunger Games now follows that other young adult saga into a series of insipid sequels remains to be seen. But it doesn't bode well that producers have already moved to split the final instalment, Mockingjay, into two parts.
On the other hand, Lawrence is a more-than-competent director and Catching Fire has the much-hyped Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) alongside Slumdog Millionaire's Simon Beaufoy as screenwriters. That's two Oscar-winners to concoct one teen-aimed sci-fi romp. If Katniss can defy the odds and escape the dreaded arena once again, how hard can it be for them to deliver a decent part two?
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk