Ok, now that we’ve gotten to watch the full Hunger Games trailer a couple hundred times (what, you haven’t?) and had time to digest it, I think it’s time to get down and dirty with it. I’m going to go through it frame by frame and try to pick out exactly what’s going on in each shot and what we can learn about it. This is also the time to *gasp* do some nit-picking and point out anything that doesn’t quite jibe. I think we all have to come to terms that as excellent as this movie is shaping up to be, it can’t be perfect. Everyone has different visions of what the characters and settings should look like, sound like, and act like. With that said, I think this trailer was pretty much as near perfect as possible! It has certainly helped calm a lot of concerns among fans that things are being done right and that this will be a movie we can be proud of. For your convenience I’ve embedded the trailer again here so that you can follow along.
1. The first shot introduces us to District 12 . It’s more rustic than I had originally imagined. Personally, when I think futuristic post-apocalyptic setting, I think of more concrete, dead vehicles scattered, maybe some unusual technology. If this was a post war North America, though, in a mining colony, this is probably a lot closer to what it would look like. I think the big thing to remember is that the Capitol wants to keep everyone under control. The only technology the districts have is what the Capitol will allow. They probably cleared the area of any modern remnants other than what they control.
2. The fence. Of everything in the trailer, for some reason, the fence bothered me the most. I always imagined it as being much taller, much more industrial and opposing. This looks like a simple cattle fence. I suppose that’s all they would need to get the job done, but it still didn’t fit with how I had thought it should look – what about you? And if that’s the worst thing about the trailer, I think we’re in pretty good shape!
3. Gale and Katniss . I know it’s already been said, but their conversation seems to come so naturally. Just like they are the old friends they should be. Liam Hemsworth was the one casting choice that I was somewhat unsure of at first. I still don’t think he quite looks like the person I imagined, but so far he seems like a great Gale, and that’s the most important thing. The chemistry is there, but doesn’t seem to be overdone, which I am thankful for. A lot of things in the trailer don’t look overdone, which really helps make everything come together in a much more real way.
4. Katniss hunting. Just a quick shot (no pun intended), but Jennifer Lawrence seems comfortable with a bow, even if the previous screen-cap showed her holding it a bit oddly. I’m going to keep with my theory that she was in the midst of pointing out her target, which is why her hands were off. If there is one thing that Katniss needs to do, it’s shoot a bow with confidence.
5. The hovercraft. This is possibly when they see Lavinia running from the Capitol, later to become an Avox. Though this doesn’t actually happen in the first book, timeline wise it could fit into the first movie. It might also be something along the lines of extra peacekeepers coming in for the Reaping, or something generic like that. It’s really hard to get a very good glimpse of the hovercraft here, but worth noting is how loud it is. Unless I am misremembering, aren’t the hovercraft described as being completely silent? Someone help me out here?
6. The Reaping. We already had a glimpse of all the potential tributes in their best clothes. It’s nice too see it all as one scene now. I know a lot of people wanted to see the Reaping in the trailer and I think they made a good choice by putting it in. It is especially important for those who don’t know the story ahead of time. I really like that already we are seeing the large television screens. Television, broadcast, and propaganda, are all so important to the story, I expect to see things like this everywhere. We also get a nice shot of the Capitol’s seal hanging on a red banner.
7. Effie. Maybe not as pink-haired as expected, but still amazingly creepy, out of place, and Capitol-esque. Her accent, too, is spot on to what I heard in my head. Sort of British, but not quite. She wasn’t quite as “flouncy” as I had imagined, but the Reaping is a very formal occasion, so there is plenty of time for that later on.
9. Peacekeepers. Just like Effie, they look completely out of place, making a striking statement of who is in power here. Great uniforms that are not too futuristic that they look goofy.
10. Prim. We all knew that Willow Shields was going to make a wonderful Prim, and she doesn’t disappoint. Her emotion is so innocent and real. Not a lot more to go on at this point, but she is more a symbol and catalyst at this point than anything else.
11. Prim is Reaped. One of the most important parts of the story, this is one of those do or die moments that either makes or breaks the entire thing. If the audience doesn’t feel the helplessness and desperation that comes out of Katniss’s love for her sister, the whole point of the movie falls flat. I think it’s enough to say that no matter how many times I watch that scene, I get shivers up my spine and I know I will feel it even more when I see it in the theater eventually.
12. Peeta. Josh Hutcherson has a talent of showing you exactly what he is thinking or feeling, just with his eyes. In just that first glimpse he looks first confused, then despondent, and then resolved, in three blinks of an eye.
13. Only one comes out. Gale and Katniss again. That line sums up so much, and has so much weight. Another good choice for the trailer.
14. The Train. One of the few CG elements in the movie. So far, it seems like the computer graphics overall could use a little polish, but there are still months left to do that, and for the most part it is only going to be the pickiest of us that would complain. The design of the train is interesting in that it has a great, slightly futuristic, but still recognizable bullet design, as well as looking like a luxury hotel inside if the brief glimpse of a chandelier is any indication.
15. The Capitol. Not a lot is seen of the city, but it looks massive enough. It also has a very military type look to it from the outside, despite being the lap of luxury. Appropriate given that it survived and went on to rule after multiple wars
16. Cinna and makeup. The scene where Katniss is being helped to make an impression is quite stark and jarring. I had thought of it as being a more intimate setting with just her and her style team, but it really is effective to see all the tributes being worked on at once in a hospital-like environment – it reminds me that they are all there to be killed, not to be thought of as people. Cinna has only a small moment here so I can hardly comment. I can’t say anything negative about what I see of Lenny Kravitz’s portrayal so far, but I can’t say a lot positive either. Hopefully we get to see him really shine in the next trailer.
Now is when we start getting a LOT going on.
17. The Interview and Caesar Flickerman. Stanley Tucci with a blue ponytail. He looks every bit the flamboyant host. The dress Katniss is wearing is not quite as dramatic as I would have imagined, but this is probably a case of what sounds good on paper comes out cheesy in film so they needed to tone it down a bit. Still, stunning.
18. President Snow. Appropriately chilling. Donald Sutherland has a great air about him that says he is in charge, fears nothing, but is constantly living in fear of something to be afraid of. I have a feeling he is going to end up being a memorable villain as the story progresses.
19. The Girl on Fire. Here is the chariot scene, so fast and small, if you blink you will miss it. So I caught it for you:
I’m glad they didn’t reveal too much, while still giving us a great idea of what it is going to look like. I also love the futuristic opera glasses, so to speak.
20. The Tributes. The training room looks perfect – do you agree? This is also our first look at all the tributes together. We get glimpses of Cato, Clove, Rue, Thresh, and the rest. The officials look on from their lofty seats. This is also our first glimpse of just how violent the games are going to be, with heads being severed, bodies being smashed, and spears impaling – and then we see Rue.
21. Peeta. Just wanted to point out that he looks snazzy in that interview suit and Stanley Tucci looks like he is having a lot of fun with the role.
22. Haymitch. The trailer needs more Haymitch. I know Woody Harrelson can play a great eccentric functional drunk, and all we get is a bit of (important) advice. For those who don’t know who Haymitch is, though, that part could be a little confusing. I’m not sure about his look, but so far we’ve only seen him as the cleaned up Capitol version of himself. He will surely be more surly in other scenes.
23. Peeta and Katniss. I am glad they are not going an obvious “they will become love interests!” route with what they have shown of the two so far. It’s obvious that they have very different ways of thinking as shown with the conversation on the roof.
24. Archery. Again, Lawrence really looks like a pro with the bow, which is great. Her form seems spot on (archery experts, please chime in) and she shoots with great confidence. I just hope that the bullseye shot we see is not somehow replacing the apple from the pig’s mouth. That would be a shame if they cut that.
25. Seneca Crane. That is some beard!
26. The Mockingjay. The all important pin makes it’s appearance, but from Prim instead of Madge. From what I’ve heard, Madge is not in the movie, which is disappointing, but it at least still makes some sense to have Prim give her the pin. We won’t know for sure until later though, trailers can be misleading and scripts can change.
27. Rue’s Death. “But that wasn’t in the trailer!” you might say. I beg to differ. As Katniss gives her three fingered salute, I think it is very likely that the crowd in front of the screens is blocking Rue’s body from our view. Another chill down your spine moment. Another great use of the ever present media – especially in this case when it works against the Capitol’s advantage.
28. 3…2…1… The countdown is a perfect way to end this trailer. We get to see the games from the point of view of others – something we know is going on but never get to see in the books, and it really brings to life the way everyone is forced to watch and how it is all a big game for those putting it on, but not those playing it or forcing themselves to cheer for a winner. Cheering for a winner is cheering for 23 other children to be murdered.
29. The Bloodbath. The beginning of the games is the end of the trailer. Franctic, crazy, and it leaves you wanting more right away because you know what’s about to happen even if you have never read the books. A quick note: While the backpack Katniss picks up does not appear to be bright orange, I did catch some orange on the front of it. I think another case of translating something to screen without it becoming distracting. I think it works.
30. Overall. I think this trailer is, honestly, one of the better trailers I have seen recently. It sets up the story, brings life to the characters, suggests some intrigue, and even pulls at all sorts of emotions in a very short amount of time. It also did all these things without giving away the entire movie and every key scene! While a few things bugged me a little, I didn’t see ANYTHING that makes me worry about where the story was being taken, or how this movie is going to end up. March can’t come soon enough!
Now what about you? What did I miss in my re-cap? What are your thoughts on the trailer and all we’ve seen and learned from it? Favorite part? Anything you hate? Discuss!