Watch: Full Trailer For 'The Hunger Games' Is Mostly Convincing

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by Oliver Lyttelton
November 14, 2011 9:25 AM
14 Comments
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If a trailer's going to bow on "Good Morning America," it feels like you're safe in making some assumptions on the content of that trailer. Something frothy, we would imagine, in the vein of "New Year's Eve" or "Eat Pray Love," perhaps. At the very most, something from the latest Disney film, bearing in mind that ABC is a subsidiary of Disney. Not on our shortlist? A violent, dystopian sci-fi film about children made to fight each other to the death for the benefit of the general public. 

But it says something about the phenomenon that "The Hunger Games" series has become that the clip's debut on the morning show wasn't just happening, but it was hyped for days in advance. The young-adult novel trilogy managed to be both a bestseller and fairly critically acclaimed, in comparison to competition like "Twilight," and Lionsgate's film adaptation, written and directed by "Seabiscuit" helmer Gary Ross, has quietly become one of the most anticipated films of the year in certain circles, so fans of Katniss Everdeen & co ate their corn flakes in front of their TVs this morning.

For the uninitiated, the series is set in a post-apocalyptic future, where every year, two children from each 'district' are selected to go to the capital and fight against each other in the titular bloodsport. One young girl, Katniss ("Winter's Bone" star Jennifer Lawrence) takes her sister's place in the games, and becomes a figurehead for many, even while she becomes one point in a love triangle between fellow District 12-inhabitant Peeta Meelark (Josh Hutcherson) and old friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth), while Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Toby Jones, Wes Bentley and Lenny Kravitz all figure into the supporting cast. 

The trailer hit Apple (embed via JoBlo) at about the same time as its TV debut, and it's looking... well, fairly decent. It's clearly a world-building clip, setting up the characters and situations while skimping on the action, but that's about what we'd expect four months out (and hopefully signifies a simllar character-led approach to the film itself). The performances look strong too, with Lawrence, Hutcherson and Hemsworth all looking likely to stymie fan doubts (although we say that as newcomers to the series), and certainly standing well above the "Twilight" trio. In that they have facial expressions and are able to give line readings.

What we're not quite sold on is Ross' take on the futuristic dystopia; somewhere between "Gattaca" and "Speed Racer," it's sort of distinctive, but the Lady Gaga-by-way-of-"Aeon Flux" look of Banks and Tucci, and Wes Bentley's indescribable facial hair, could risk coming off as silly at great length. And, while we're sure that the goods are being kept under wraps for now (and it's refreshing to see a trailer that doesn't give everything away), we do hope that the games themselves involve more than people running through a field.

Whether the full can live up to/surpass its trailer remains to be seen, but Lionsgate are certainly hoping that it can, as they're planning a full trilogy, with the second installment, "Catching Fire," already scheduled for release in November 2013. But first things first: "The Hunger Games" will hit theaters on March 23rd, 2012.

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14 Comments

  • K. N. | January 27, 2012 1:19 PMReply

    I'm not too enthusiastic about the casting. As far as physical appearances go, Lawrence is neither "olive-skinned," "gray-eyed," or even a natural brunette. Unless her acting is solid, I'm not a fan.
    I'm also surprised that they finished filming so quickly. I hope they didn't skimp on details too much. Maybe Hollywood was eager to cash in on this series?

  • L | November 16, 2011 3:32 AMReply

    Well, it was certainly promising, but I'm still keeping a wary eye on this film adaption. Hunger Games will either flop miserably or succeed wildly...it will probably make a lot of money, however. I'm liking the music & Effie Trinket (of all things.) The casting seems solid, (still not sure about Josh Hutcherson and to some extent, Jennifer Lawrence), & the script seems faithful to the book. Then again, Suzanne Collins was heavily involved, so fans are sure to be happy with continuity etc. I'll be in theaters March 23, of course.

  • Glass | November 15, 2011 5:27 AMReply

    lol, Wes Bentley's beard design reminded me of... http://img.spewf.com/2010/05/Douche-Bag-14.jpg

  • approve | November 14, 2011 5:38 PMReply

    Josh still looks like a little kid next to Jennifer (and makes her look bigger than she really is). Apart from that Peeta casting fail the trailer was pretty good and accurate to the books including the wigs. The guy playing Gale is better than I expected, good casting there. I expected the Capitol to look more superficially glamorous but I like what Lionsgate did. I liked that the trailer stopped right before the bloodbath begins so much to look forward to.

  • Kim | November 14, 2011 4:41 PMReply

    Okay Jennifer Lawrence screeching out that she'll volunteer sold it to me. I mean that to me is what this whole thing is about. Sure there's the whole "rise against the man!" but to me it was always about how Katniss protected her sister. Maybe it's the PMS, but that line had me in tears.

    And maybe it's just Gale the character in general, but even in the trailer (as in the books) I want to punch him in the face. I wanted to hit him even before the last book.

  • Jessie A | November 14, 2011 3:20 PMReply

    I'm a big fan of the books and I gotta say I'm impressed with this trailer. The characters are strong and it looks as though the action sequences (starting around the end of the trailer) are going to be filmed really well. It seems to stay faithful to the novel but I'm also curious to see how "gory" they are able to make it considering the books didn't hold back - I don't want it to come out jokey.

  • Katie Walsh | November 14, 2011 12:15 PMReply

    @ Kevin, your comment makes me proud.
    As a fan of the books, this looks pretty damn faithful. Trust, after that running in the field, it's an all out bloodbath. Not sure how they are going to portray that in a PG-13, but I'm feeling optimistic about this.

  • Surro | November 14, 2011 10:57 AMReply

    To be fair, the outlandish appearance of the people in the Capitol is true to the books. Physically, I still think Lawrence and Hutcherson are wrong but the acting looks fine and it's a much better trailer than I expected. I still don't see how this is going to work as PG-13 with all the violence and death perpetrated by children. Not interested in the sequel as the series goes to shite after the first book.

  • rotch | November 14, 2011 10:48 AMReply

    Well, this looks pretty solid!

  • KT | November 14, 2011 10:31 AMReply

    Looks as terrible as I thought it would.

  • Anne | November 14, 2011 10:21 AMReply

    The characters that live in the Capitol (e.g. Banks, Tucci, Bentley) are described as having ridiculous, outlandish outfits and appearances, so really they are just staying true to Suzanne Collins' text.

  • Johanna | November 14, 2011 10:10 AMReply

    Yes! Yes! Yes! OMG ‘The Hunger Games’ is going to be huge! I can’t wait!!! I’ll be going on opening night with all my girls! Woooo! :)

  • a | November 14, 2011 9:46 AMReply

    The hyping and anticipation for this movie has been the opposite of "quietly"

    A teaser for the teaser premiered on MTV.

  • Kevin | November 14, 2011 9:33 AMReply

    Holy wig festival! Nic Cage would be proud.

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