The Hunger Games Full Trailer – Detailed Review

| November 15, 2011 | 25 Comments More

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:

Flaming Chariots - Katniss and Peeta

Girl on Fire

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!


Category: Movie

Comments (25)

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  1. Bluto says:

    #24 – I think the trailer jumped from Katniss hitting the bullseye to the image of the shocked gamesmakers, and left out the shot that hit the apple in the pig’s mouth.

    If so, that would be smart editing on the director’s part; leaving a surprise for those who haven’t read the books.

  2. Bluto says:

    #27 – You’re so right about the three-finger show of respect. That has to be from the scene where Katniss shows district 11 that she knows where the bread came from.

    Good call!

  3. Blue says:

    I wish we saw the Cornucopia!! That would have made it better because I feel like it is a key component to the games. But in the book, I think when Katniss picks up her pack, it wasn’t close to the Cornucopia so it should still be in there.

    I really, really like how Jennifer Lawrence is not wearing any makeup. It gives her more of a gaunt appearance and I think it is great to see a real change when she goes to the Capitol. She really gets into the character and it is amazing!!

  4. Hunger GAmes Crazy says:

    It was so good! And of course we cannot be picky now. :)
    And at #5, Yes. The hovercraft is supposed to be silent. BUT WE CANNOT BE PICKY! 😉
    I really loved her hair curly! So what if there was no briad? And the red dress? was that the interview dress? I love her hair there too! But I thought it was in a braid… oh well!
    Cinna seemd mean! maybe that was just me. HOPING HE IS NOT!

  5. Sierra says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t comment on the whistling at the end….Rue’s song?!?!? A friend pointed it out to me and I was like OH MY GOSH! I totally hadn’t thought of it! 😀

  6. alex says:

    I absolutely loved the music. I think that xylophone thing in the background really gave it a futuristic touch. I loved how jennifer wasn’t wearing make up in district 12 and I LOVED EFFIE … I thought that she would be a little more … human? in the movie but I LOVED how she was portrayed sooo creepy

    haha, so excited for the movie.

  7. Charlotte says:

    Just one thing: When Cato (or was it another tribute?) trained for the games, did you see Crane’s face? That was one of the things that really gave me the chills! It was as he was really enjoying having such a violent tribute in the games, so it would be more interesting.

    My favorite part was Rue’s death, although it’s not really in the books. Kat’s salute to the people of D12 was just so moving. I also ‘enjoyed’ the reaping. Prim’s face when she got picked (you could really see she was trying to keep it together, keep it strong), Kat’s face when she screamed her name, Peeta’s confused and devastating face when he got picked and they both recognized each other and especially Gale’s face when he carried Kat away. That was so heart breaking!

    Okay, I’m done.

  8. Hamilton says:

    Sierra – I didn’t mention Rue’s song at the end because it had been talked about so much already when it was at the end of the first teaser. You are able to download it from itunes as well.

  9. Ellen says:

    I have to agree that I’m so glad they didn’t just give away the entire movie in the trailer. I think that’s incredibly lazy, and this was much more dramatic, ending with the very beginning of the Games. I loved it! And thanks for the screengrab of the chariots/girl on fire I wasn’t sure what that was (It just seemed like Katniss had a weird hairdo, haha).

    Every new photo or footage of Josh makes me like him more and more as Peeta. Oh, and I really loved the MUSIC. I think it did a great job of underlining the emotion and ramping up the tension and anticipation without being over-the-top and in-your-face.

    Unlike, say, the first couple Harry Potter movies, I think this clearly has the makings of a great movie in its own right. Can’t wait for March!

  10. Amanda says:

    Okay what drove me CRAZY was the bowls at the reaping. 1. they were so small they didn’t look like the held that many slips of paper.2. they werent fancy at all i mean for the capital they were so plain it really bugged me

  11. J says:

    i dont like her interview dress it doesn’t look like one of Cinna’s extraordinary designs and i think she also doesn’t look like 17

  12. MyHungerGames says:

    I’m not sure, but I think the noise you can hear from the hovercraft is the wind it’s generating as opposed to the actual machine. Will be interesting to see.

  13. elizabethdo7 says:

    #5 the book actually says that just before the hovercraft appeared there as a high pitched note from some kind of bird. so i guess the hovercraft itself was supposed to be silent, but OH WELL! also on #23 i think that scene with peeta and katniss talking OH MY GOSH it was soo the way i imagined it. and peetas voice sounds just like i thought it would. Although katnisss voice sounded a little to grown up for my taste dont you think?? Anyway this movie is going to turn out excelent!

  14. Ivon Morales says:

    i agree with you on the fence, i though it would be more menacing, more like a chain link fence then just wood and some barbed wire. i loved the ending, the countdown gave me goosebumps and i cant wait till it comes out in theaters <3

  15. Amber says:

    * I concur, hovercrafts are supposed to be silent! I do think it will be the scene with Livinia.
    * I loved Sutherland as Snow, but kinda wished they’d made his mouth look more puffy. That visual always stuck with me from the book.
    * Cesar didn’t look quite as bizarre as I’d imagined, I thought the makeup would be more dramatic. But I LOVE Stanley and am confident he will be fabulous.
    * I thought there should have been more children in the reaping. I was imagining a whole lot more kids- but maybe we’re not seeing it all.
    * I was expecting the Capitol to be a whole lot more colorful! I kept thinking of it described in Mockingjay about all the pastel colors and glass and just imagined something like what we saw but technicolor- like Disneyland’s Main street or something,
    * I am dying to see more Haymitch! I think this role was absolutely made for Woody. I must say that I expected the hair to be cropped or crazy long- not inbetween.
    * The Fence. I was expecting something similar to Jurassic Park! But I guess keeping in mind the poverty of 12 not to mention the leniency compared to 11 for example…
    * Katniss’ dress- if it is the twirling dress, I hope there are more special affects to come.
    * The only thing that really irritated me about the trailer was Katniss’ demeanor on the chariot and in the Cesar interview. Isn’t she supposed to be giggling like an idiot? She looks more stunned than anything, But again, it was a miniscule clip, so there’s no doubt more to the scene than we’ve seen.

  16. Chris says:

    I agree on the fence height… In Catching Fire Katniss is supossed to climb on a huge tree to be able to cross it… But overall, I think I stays faithful to the book which is the most important thing

  17. Cyd says:

    They forgot the gong in the beginning of the games!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Artemis says:

    Hellooo, resident archer here. The trailer does indeed look much more legit than the screencap sneak-peek. Her form is pretty good, but for the wrong kind of bow. You only anchor under your chin when you bow has a sight ( a little pin that helps you aim) otherwise the height difference would mess up the shot. When shooting barebow, the most accurate way to sight would be to draw back to the cheekbone or right next to your eye.

    But I like how they put more thought into the archery aspect of the movie.

  19. Emma says:

    I must say that this re-cap pinpointed everything I was looking for! Hamilton, you are amazing with words. I believe we think a lot alike. Oh, I don’t know how I am going to wait. I can’t seem to shake my obsession. I will never get tired of watching this trailor. It was just so well done. This trailor was different, emotional, and definitely gut-wrenching. May I just say, I adore these books, and I am so extatic about the movie! Each of the actors and actresses are fabulous, and I am literally shaking with excitment every second. And thank you for taking the time to discuss this, Hamilton. I am very thankful to be able to freely talk about The Hunger Games.

  20. RebeccaB. says:

    I thought it was great. I also think it’s quite ridiculous of ourselves to pick at the slightest things. The fence could’ve been taller, the hovercraft should’ve been silent, the reaping’s bowls, Madge not being in, no gong, ect. We can’t complain, you know.

    We should be glad we’re getting a film at all — and be grateful that only minor details were cut. Overall, this stays faithful to the book. We couldn’t expect the movie to be a live-action version of the book, page by page of pointless details. Let’s just be happy that we’re getting a Hunger Games movie and sequels.

  21. Cyd says:

    -Haymitch has the merchant look, not the seam look he’s supposed to.
    -Prim is supposed to have blue eyes not brown.
    -Also if it was supposed to be the Lavinia being captured scene, aren’t they supposed to be already on a rock outcropping when the two show up with the hovercraft.
    -Effie is supposed to be in a spring grass-green suit for the reaping.
    -I’ve always thought Snow was bald.
    -Didn’t they (usually) let the tributes pick their own training clothing
    -They aren’t supposed to practice their skills on each other.
    -Why are some tributes wearing different colored jackets??? That golden hue would stand out anywhere in the arena’s forest environment.
    -Aren’t the reaping balls supposed to be pink for girls and blue for boys???
    That’s all I’ve been able to find, for now.

  22. Eds says:

    omg. wat happend to the fence? #_# ,,the fence (among other things) symbolizes Capitol’s control and power and here we have a cow’s fence :(

    Katniss doesnt look 17 but who cares! I still like her anyway ^_^
    I imagined Dustin Hoffman as Pres. Snow
    I need more haymitch plx plox

  23. PEETA! says:

    the music when you see the three fingers and when Katniss is going up in the glass tube. that made me shake and my palms seweat.
    I was disappointed about the cornucopia because to me, it looked cheesy. they are all WAY too close together and there was nothing near katniss like how they said the plastic was three feet in front of her. It was just a grassy plain. to me, there was no substance there. and what waup with some of the jackets being gold???? they couldn’y be carrers because that would defy the whole purpose of the careers. the capitol isn’t really supposed to know who or what careers are and so if they put them aside in gold jackets, that would make no sense.

  24. PEETA! says:

    also, the book says effie has a green suit on and in the movie, its pink. And katniss says that her and peeta are the only identical tributes in the training center and when in the trailer, they all look exactly the same

  25. Jordan says:

    I really cannot wait for the movie, I’m bouncing in my seat right now just thinking about it, it’s going to be my favorite movie of all time, I just know it. But, of course, being the Hunger Games fanatic I am, I have to nit-pick the differences of the book and the trailer.
    2. I agree with a lot of people on the fence thing. I saw it is a huge chain-link type fence, because the barbed wire doesn’t seem as meanacing as the books (or, my mind) portrayed it as. But, it does fit with how D. 12 shoukd look.
    5. Yeah, the hovercraft was supposed to be silent.
    6. The reaping was okay. It fit how i pictured it.
    7. Effie – she needs more color in her hair, but I think the accent is perfect.
    15. The Capitol didn’t seem as bright as I thought it would be. It sounded more colorful. Where’s all the color? But, it did fit the decsription of being a BIG and POWERFUL city.
    18. President Snow… is just weird to me.
    19. This is probably one of the smallest things anyone could notice about the whole entire trailer, but… she isn’t smiling. They were supposed to be smiling and waving, acting nice to the crowd, blowing kisses, that sort if thing. It was in the secong book where she got to be all stoic and I-hate-you-all-why-do-you-torture-us-so. It just really annoys me that she isn’t smiling… but, you only saw one fraction of a second, so I can’t make any jusdements.
    22. Grr… wasn’t Haymitch supposed to have the Seam look, with dark hair and grey eyes? Woody Harlson still looks like how I imagined Haymitch, but not. Anybody understand that? I clearly see him as Haymitch, he seems perfect for the roll, but it’s still different.
    25. Seneca Crane… if I was a guy, I’d totally shave my beard that way. :)

    The countdown/bloodbath scene gave me chills. Probably my favorite part form the whole trailer. Also, Rue’s song at the end. :):)

    All in all, I still couldn’t stop squeeing at the thought of this becoming a movie. I’ll say it again, this most likely will be my favorite movie of all time, I just needed to let it all out. Can’t wait for the 23rd!!!!
    Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.

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