The Hunger Games Trailer: Analysis and Opinion

Posted: November 15, 2011 in Movies
Tags: , , , , , ,

I had no intention of writing this blog post when I woke up this morning. I was well aware that the trailer for The Hunger Games was going to debut today, but writing an analysis just never crossed my mind.

But I can’t leave this alone.

This trailer looking amazing. Incredible. Epic. Astounding. Marvelous. Enter whichever profound and awe-inspiring adjective you can think of, and that is how I feel about this trailer. I’m a huge fan of the books, and I was both a little nervous and very excited when I found out that they were making them into movies (four of them, no less). About 99% of my fears have vanished since seeing this trailer.

So, let’s break it down.

(I use Hypable.com for everything. So should you. Check out the trailer here. Check out 104 high-res stills here. They even have a Hunger Games podcast here. With that being said, I’m using this one to analyze the trailer, because it is easier for me to pause and look at the times.)

[PLEASE NOTE: This post contains spoilers. If you haven’t read the first book, I suggest you do so before reading this. I won’t have any major spoilers pertaining to the second or third books, just in case someone hasn’t made it that far yet. But continue on at your own risk. I assume no responsibility.]

The first few seconds of the trailer shows Katniss jogging through town and slipping under the fence and into the woods. Jennifer Lawrence looks absolutely perfect for the part. The braid is so iconic to Katniss’ character, and Jen pulls it off beautifully. We hear Gale’s voice saying, “We could do it you know. Take off, live in the woods.” These are important words that Katniss reflects back on in the future, and I’m glad they made it into the movie.

Katniss replies, “We wouldn’t make it five miles.” I’m surprised by her tone of voice: it is exactly how I imagined it. In my opinion, Katniss always wore a mask. She was careful to conceal her emotions. She’s a realist. She’s matter-of-fact. All of this comes through in Jennifer Lawrence’s acting.

At around the 0:15 mark, Gale throws a stone to displace some birds and Katniss takes a shot at them. Her aim is perfect, of course. And you can tell she’s happy with her shot – she actually smiles! Katniss rarely does this genuinely – most of the time she smiles for the Capitol and her audience, not because she wants to. You can tell she’s at peace here in the woods, with Gale, hunting.

But that doesn’t last long.

Almost instantly her smile is cut short by a hovercraft in the sky. Is this from the scene where Gale and Katniss see the boy and girl in the woods before they are captured? In the book, that’s a flashback, but it doesn’t appear to be so in the trailer. This doesn’t bother me though – it makes no difference, and for the sake of the movie it makes a lot more sense to keep the plotline linear. Trailers are often cut together to give certain impressions that might not be correct, so this assumption could end up being wrong anyway. If this isn’t the part where they encounter the Avox-to-be, what do you think it represents?

At the 0:27 mark we see the Lionsgate symbol, followed by a group of people walking into the center of town where the Reaping will take place. I love the look of District 12 already – the colors are muted and everyone is wearing white or pale blue. It gives it an overall washed-out feeling, and you can just tell that this is not a wealthy area. Already it is in contrast with the bright greens of the forest we just saw.

Speaking of contrast, check out Effie in that bright pink get-up.

We hear her saying, “Welcome, welcome. The time has come to select one courageous man and woman for the honor of representing District 12 in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.” You can hear the excitement in her voice. This is also where we get our first look at Effie in the trailer and…wow! I’m both delighted and a little startled. She’s covered head to toe in pink: dress, nails, lipstick, eyes, earrings, and hat. It’s very much how I imagined she would look. Except…she’s a lot older than I thought she would be. I always imagined Effie as an early-thirties sort of woman, with light skin and a youthful demeanor. This Effie is pale (like, vampire pale), with a gray-white wig, and she is a little more aged. I think pink hair would’ve been too much, given what she is wearing, but her face is shocking nonetheless. Is that such a bad thing, though? The inhabitants of the Capitol are strangely dressed to the point of being grotesque, and I think Effie falls right in line with this. She looks alien compared to the rest of them.

We see Katniss and Prim making their way toward where the Reaping will take place. Gale and Katniss look at each other and it makes me wonder what they could be thinking about at that moment?

At 0:43 we see Katniss comforting Prim. Katniss tells her little sister that her name won’t be chosen – Prim’s name has only been entered in once. The odds are definitely in her favor.

Or not.

Effie calls Prim’s name and she begins to make her way toward the stage. Katniss runs after her, but she’s held back by the Peace Keepers. Can I just take a second in the middle of this extremely tense scene to comment on them? From the neck down, they’re pretty much what I imagined them to be. I thought of them as having fairly plain white uniforms, but I never imagined the helmet. I’m not sure if that particular detail is in the books or not, but my imagination just never included it. I don’t mind it, but it just makes me think of RoboCop.

Katniss screams for Prim, then immediately volunteers to take her sister’s place. From what I’ve read of this part in the movie, JL’s acting is superb. If this snippet is spot on, then I think I’ll be shedding a few tears during this part.

Around the one minute mark we see Gale hauling Prim away while Katniss is marched up to the stage. Effie calls out Peeta’s name and he joins her with tears in his eyes. I love that shot of him because I know exactly what is going through his head: “No, not Katniss. Not the girl that I love!” It’s amazing how you can just read those thoughts on Josh Hutcherson’s face. And on Katniss’ face, you know a similar thought is going through her head: “No, not him. Not the boy with the bread. Not the one person in my life that I owe a debt to.”

At 1:12 Gale tells Katniss that they just want a good show. And Katniss (using obvious exposition for our non-HG obsessed fans) informs him that there are 24 tributes and that only one will survive.

At 1:18 we see the train speeding through the forest, then Peeta gaping out the window as the scenery passes by.  We get an overshot of the Capitol, then a close up of Katniss in a dressing gown.

The shot at 1:22 is an interesting one. All of the tributes appear to be lined up on tables, each with their own assistants and an array of beauty products. I believe in the book they each had their own room, but, again, this is not an important detail. We do seem to get our first look at an Avox though, as there is a boy with red hair making his way to one of the tables. I can’t be certain that’s what he is, but it would be cool if it was!

We see snippets of Katniss getting her hair brushed out and the hair removed from her legs. We hear her say, “So, you’re here to make me look pretty?” Cinna replies, “I’m here to help you make an impression.” I’m definitely Team Lenny-Kravitz-for-Cinna ever since I saw the poster of him that was released a couple of weeks ago. He just looked exactly how I pictured Cinna – exactly. It was spooky. Here, though, I’m a little torn. He still looks the part, I think, though it is hard to make out his eyeliner. His voice, though, is was throws me. It’s a deep, gravelly, powerful voice, and I always imagined Cinna being a lot more soft spoken.  Not weak, but quiet.

At 1:28 we get a glimpse of Katniss spinning around, lead by Caesar Flickerman. It is so fast that I almost missed it. Then we get a wide shot of Caesar and Katniss standing on stage after her twirl. I always pictured Caesar with shorter hair, but I like the ponytail. And I love Stanley Tucci, so I have no complaints there. He looks oddly amazing with blue hair…

At 1:32 we have some random guy standing up – oh. Oh! Oh, wait. That’s President Snow! I missed him the first couple of times I watched the trailer, but when I saw the screenshots I noticed the white rose in his pocket. I pictured Snow a lot thinner and weaker looking, but as long as the dude is scary intimidating I don’t have any problems with what he looks like.

We hear him making his annual speech: “And so it was decreed that each year the twelve districts of Panem shall offer up in tribute one young man and woman between the ages of 12 and 18 to be trained in the art of survival and to be prepared to fight to the death.”

During this monologue, we get a brief shot of the parade, but it was very difficult to make anything out. They have some really super opera glasses, though! The next shot includes at least half of the tributes. I can make out Peeta and Katniss on the left and Rue near the center. I assume the boy next to Rue is Thresh. I believe Cato is in the center on the far right with his arms crossed. I’m not 100% sure who the other tributes are, but if anyone has any guesses, I’d love to hear them!

We get a sneak peek at Rue spying on Katniss and Peeta, and I can see exactly why Katniss takes a liking to her. She’s so tiny and sweet looking. She does remind me of Prim, and I know that seeing her death scene is probably going to make me sob uncontrollably in the theatres.

Around the 1:40 mark we see the tributes training. Marvel throws a spear – quite well, might I add – and Katniss runs over some obstacles. We also see some sparring. Haymitch tells Katniss, “This is the time to show them everything. Make sure they remember you.” I always imagined his voice to be a lot gruffer, but his hair and general appearance didn’t quite throw me off as much as it did when his poster came out. But I’m 100% behind Woody Harrelson as Haymitch. He could’ve been speaking Japanese, and I would still believe he would knock this role out of the park.

While Haymitch is talking to Katniss, she shoots an arrow and it hits the dead center of the target. We see Seneca Crane – who has, quite possibly, the best beard I have ever seen in my entire life – sit up a little bit straighter. I hope that shooting on target isn’t the only thing that gets Katniss her score of 11. I want to see something a little more impressive thab that, even if she doesn’t end up shooting at the judges like she did in the book.

Peeta says, “I just keep wishing that I could think of a way to show them that they don’t own me. If I’m going to die, I want to still be me.” This is exactly Peeta, and it is beautiful. This is another line that I’m glad made it into the movie – it is the basis for the “treason” we see at the end.

And Katniss says, “I just can’t afford to think like that.” That is exactly Katniss. It’s nice to know that they’re making a lot of her inner dialogue into an outward conversation for the sake of the movie.

We’re hit with a lot of images starting around the 2:05 mark. They are staggered with the words, “The Games Will Change Everyone.” Katniss is walking down a hallway, escorted by PeaceKeepers. Given her outfit, she looks like she about ready to enter the Games. Then we see Prim giving Katniss the mockingjay pin before she heads off to the Capitol. This is a change from the books – Madge is obviously the one to give her the pin – but not one I’m upset about. Madge was a background character, even though Katniss had several interactions with her. From the standpoint of the movie, it just makes more sense for Prim to give her the pin. Katniss comes on a large screen next. It’s nice to know that we’ll be able to see the Games from the audience’s point of view. She is giving the three finger salute, and I can only assume this is after Rue has died. We see a group of people – District 11? – give it back to her and it turns into a very emotional scene (for me, at least). I’m wondering, though – would they really have done it back to her, given the fact that a) this is a District 12 gesture, and b) she can’t see them?

The next scene shows Katniss in the chamber that will take her up to the Games, and you can see the panicked look on her face. Cinna is there, nodding. Was he there in the book? I don’t remember, except for when he was there for the second one.

At about 2:17 Katniss is out in the open, and I literally feel every ounce of her panic and terror. This is it. This is the Hunger Games.

We see her on the big screen again, and I believe we’re back in District 12. We see a shot of Prim. Then a shot of Gale in a meadow. Is he out there because he can’t stand to watch Katniss taking part of the games? That would be beautiful.

We hear an announcer counting down, and it just intensifies all of the panic and terror I’m already feeling. This trailer definitely gets the heart pumping. All of the tributes take off, scrambling for weapons and supplies. I noticed that each district has a slightly different colored jacket, which will help us keep all of the tributes straight when it comes to introducing them during the Games.

The Hunger Games logo – the pin and the words – pops up and we hear the whistle at the end. End of Trailer 1!

The trailer only shows footage from the first half of the movie. I’m not disappointed, because I think that’s a great cliffhanger, but it makes me want to see so much more! The end of the trailer was by far the most intense, and it was so cruel (and smart) of them to cut it at the point that they did. It definitely makes me want more.

But what about the things that weren’t in the trailer? I think this is even more important, in a way. I’m glad that Gale didn’t seem to be as strong of a force as I had feared he would be – I love his character, but I do NOT want this turning into a Twilight-esque love triangle. That’s just not the point of the books. But something else that’s missing from the trailer – Peeta’s storyline. If you’re unfamiliar with the books, at this point you have no idea who he is or why he is important. You have no idea that he’s in love with Katniss. That bit of information would be great to add into the second theatrical trailer, set alongside some images from the Games.

I’ve just re-read my post before submitting it, and I apologize for my odd fascination with people’s voices. It’s a testament to Suzanne Collin’s writing skills, though, that I can hear the characters so clearly in my head. Anything that I said in this post was not meant to be taken as a complaint – just my initial thoughts. I am behind this trailer, the movies, and the actors, 110%. I absolutely can’t wait to see the movie!

March 23rd is just too far away.

(I’d love to hear your own feedback, or see links to your own analysis of the trailer! If you’ve got any additional information, or answers to my questions, please post them in the comments below!)

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Comments
  1. ddog13 says:

    The trailer cleansed my brain of any fears it had of it being a rehashed Twilight. I read the whole trilogy, and I’m so excited. I hope it doesn’t ruin its reputation. My fingers are crossed

    • Karen Rought says:

      I have more fear about the media making this out to be the next Twilight movie. The creators of the films are HUGE fans, and I have complete faith in them. I think they will do an excellent job, and I’m really excited for this film as well. It’s starting to get huge now, but I really think once the movie releases, a lot more people are going to jump on the bandwagon.

  2. […] and I’m here to break it down for you. I did this for the first one, which you can check out here. I’m using the video below for this […]

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