Maybe you've got a friend who's really into the Hunger Games and is dragging you to see it on opening night even though you never bothered to see the first one, or maybe you just have a terrible memory and can't recall what happened in the first movie because it was A YEAR AND A HALF AGO and they've kept us waiting for SO LONG. Whatever your reason for needing a refresher, we've got you covered:
The Hunger Games takes place in the nation of Panem
It's a post-apocalyptic version of North America, which is divided into districts and ruled by an ultra-posh capitol located in what was once the Rocky Mountains. Katniss, our protagonist, lives in District 12.
Panem is controlled by President Snow, notable for his blood and rose scented breath
In addition to being a generally terrible dude, President Snow holds the annual Hunger Games, a competition in which 2 "tributes" from each district fight to the death.
The games themselves take place in a specially designed arena, full of traps and terrible danger
The arenas are designed by the gamemaker, Seneca Crane, who has also designed himself a delightful beard:
We don't want to spoil anything, but the arena for the 75th Hunger Games is sure to work like clockwork.
Katniss and Peeta of District 12 win the 74th Hunger Games, planting seeds of rebellion in the mistreated districts
The symbols of the rebellion are the three-finger salute, and the mockingjay (the bird on that pin in all the trailers). You could probably make a drinking game out of every time you see one of them (three sips for the salute, anyone?).
You'll want to keep an eye on Katniss' entourage of supporting characters: Effie, Cinna, and Haymitch
Effie Trinket is the District 12 escort and the person in charge of naming the tributes for each annual Hunger Games. If you're playing that drinking game, you may also want to chug your beverage when she says her signature line, "May the odds be ever in your favor!"
Cinna is Katniss' stylist and the man who makes her the "girl on fire." You'll know when you're supposed to drink for Cinna.
Haymitch is a former district 12 victor, and current advisor to Katniss and Peeta. He's also a drunk. You should probably take a drink every time he takes a drink.
Katniss Everdeen slowed down sounds an awful lot like Will Ferrel
That's not relevant to the plot or anything, just, you know, FYI.
You need to decide if you're team Peenis or team Kale before arriving at the theater
The love triangle between Katniss, fellow tribute Peeta, and childhood best friend Gale is critical to the story. If you can't loudly proclaim you want some Peenis (Peeta and Katniss) or know you want to munch on some Kale (Katniss and Gale), you might as well stay home. If you're wondering why anybody would ever want her to end up with Gale, consider that you're about to see him spend this whole movie taking care of Katniss' family while Peeta whines at Katniss on their victory tour.
Be prepared for at least one person in the theater to say Battle Royale is better
Just because the late 1990s novel turned movie has a similar story, doesn't mean we need to discuss it at every Hunger Games event. Be ready to ignore and/or glare daggers at this individual on behalf of Hunger Games fans everywhere.