The full-length ‘Hunger Games’ trailer: dirty enough or still too pretty?

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One of the overriding complaints thus far about The Hunger Games promotion is that the actors, as featured within promotional stills, don’t really appear to be starving, near-death subjects of Panem. They look too clean. Too airbrushed. Too healthy. Too Hollywood. Further worries arose with a series of lackluster character posters and a Vanity Fair spread that looked like pages ripped from a J.Crew catalog. Although Jennifer Lawrence, who portrays Katniss, attempted to distance this adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ acclaimed trilogy from Twilight Saga, the comparisons were inevitable. Not to mention those people (who may not have even read the books) who insist upon comparing Hunger Games to Battle Royale without a trace of irony. Bitches, please.

Fans of the books should now prepare to have all hope restored, for Lionsgate has released the first full trailer for The Hunger Games. The trailer does an excellent job of both satisfying fans of the source material as well as offering an altogether thrilling presentation of the story’s framework for those who haven’t read the novels. It also only details the first half of the story so as not to spoil too much of the action. Check it out, and then we’ll discuss:

CB and I both agree that this trailer looks fantastic. The voiceover by Donald Sutherland (as President Snow) gave me chills, and the grittiness of District 12 stands out in stark comparison to the clinical feel of District 1. The three leads (Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth) all fit the bill here, and the love triangle is significantly downplayed as well, which is the exact opposite of what I feared would happen. The supporting players all get their moments as well, with Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz at their mentoring best, and little Rue (Amandla Stenberg) peeking around a corner to break our hearts. While I’m not entirely satisfied with Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket (I thought she’d be a bit more vivacious), that’s not a huge complaint. Overall, this trailer is solid and should do a bang-up job at driving holiday-based interest for The Hunger Games before its March 23 release.

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Movie stills courtesy of AllMoviePhoto

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53 Responses to “The full-length ‘Hunger Games’ trailer: dirty enough or still too pretty?”

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  1. rissa says:

    so excited for this. i love the casting

  2. jen says:

    looks SO GOOD!!!

  3. Sososososo excited about this one. I cried a little when watching this, as it looks so perfect. Also love that the love aspect isn’t front and centre at all. I just finished reading the trilogy, and one of the things I loved about it is that Katniss seems very much like she would happily be without either of them, Prim is her true love, not Gale or Peeta.

  4. WattsUp says:

    I’ve wasted half my morning at work watching this over and over and over.

    The reaping scene? TEARS, genuine tears and chokey-throat feeling.

    Is it March 23 yet?

  5. Gretchen says:

    I. CAN’T. WAIT. I want it nowwwwwww!!!

  6. Ol'Miss says:

    I agree…my son’s and I cannot wait to see this!! The books were awesome!!

  7. Rachael says:

    Absolutely love this trailer. It is fantastic indeed. I have certainly shared your concerns that the stills from the movie thus far have involved everyone looking much too clean … but seeing the trailer has decreased that fear significantly.

    One thing I take issue with in this article though, is the description of the character posters as “lackluster”. I’m not sure who was saying that, but it wasn’t anyone I was talking to. I thought they were very nice. The Vanity Fair issue left a lot to be desired, but the blame for that lies on VF.

  8. Heatheradair says:

    Since the franchise will *inevitably* continue to draw all sorts of twilight comparisons, I’ll just defend this (actually worthwhile) series by saying that it’s the “thinking fangirl’s opportunity to get excited about a YA adaptation.”

    I am wondering what people who HAVEN’T read the books think about the trailer? Exciting? Confusing? Meh?

  9. mia girl says:

    The scenes from the reaping were great. Best though was Lawrence’s reaction just as her platform begins to move her into the arena.

    I actually liked Banks…also wish we had seen a little more from the supporting characters.

  10. Adrien says:

    Can’t wait.

  11. Shannon says:

    Yay, this looks amazing! Much better than the impression I got from what they released before. I can’t wait to see how they portray the battle arena :)

  12. WillyNilly says:

    Ya, if I hadn’t of read the books, I would probably be lost in the trailer. But I got chills and I was really impressed with the set design so far. Totally thought they were going to go low budget and it looks decent.

  13. Reece says:

    So, so happy right now because of this. So. Happy!

  14. Mimi says:

    Tributes UNITE! This is going to be AWESOME! @heatheradair, totally agree with you. These books are so much more substantial than most of the other YA series’ out there. Can’t wait!!!

  15. nina says:

    Meh. The Hunger Games is such a blatant but watered down YA rip-off of Battle Royale, I don’t get a lot of the praise it gets from readers. Stephanie Meyers totally ripped off Roswell with Twilight, but THG totally lit-jacked Koshum Takami, down to the littlest details, and I’m over people acting like it’s such a great work of YA lit as a result:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-T7yPJVvXw

    ps: Read BR and love the movie. Read THG, liked the first two books enough, thought the last book was a disappointment. But still think it’s a blatant rip-off. So, yeah, want that out there before I get a bitch, please.

  16. Aly says:

    I had major reservations, but after the trailer I’m stoked again.

  17. jh says:

    Heatheradair,

    I haven’t read the books, had never heard about the hunger games until today, the trailer seems awesome though and I know waiting till march is killing some of you but it made me a little happy ’cause I’ll have time to read them before the movie comes out. x

  18. RobN says:

    Interesting that everybody seemed to go ape-s over the trailer for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo because it gave away too much story, when it was really just a million quick edits, while nobody seems to care that this trailer gives away a huge chunk of the story.

  19. Esmom says:

    @Heatheradair, I think based on the trailer people will want to see the movies even if they haven’t read the books. They do a nice job of setting up the story with no prior knowledge necessary.

    I for one didn’t care for the books at all but powered through all of them because of my book group (I was in the minority in my dislike). At the time I thought they read like screenplays so news of the film adaptations came as no surprise at all.

    We had fun in our book discussion trying to imagine who would play the movie roles, although we are too old to know enough about who the real contenders might be so we were mostly imagining young versions of older actors in the parts, lol. For example I imagined a young, beefed-up Brad Pitt as Peeta. The guy playing him seems OK.

    As for Gale, I imagined him as darker-skinned, it was described as “olive” and onscreen it doesn’t look olive to me.

    I think they did OK with the grit and grime factor, but you’re right they don’t exactly look starving. Could be grimmer overall.

    L. Kravitz as Cinna is brilliant, he really brings the character to life. And is it me or does J Lawrence look exactly like a young R Zellweger?

  20. LittleFATMe says:

    Girl I was like, damn I got the chills with that voice over – so I am glad you got them too!

  21. jermsmom says:

    Loved the books, love the trailer, can’t wait for the movie. When I first read the casting I thought it was pretty dead-on. Like Esmom said, it was a bit hard for me with the younger cast simply (in my case) because the older I get the more younger actors seem to melt together for me! *sigh* My only issue also lies with the casting of Gale – I also invisioned someone a bit darker, both in skin tone and in character. I get sort of a “Glee” vibe from this guy…

  22. T.C. says:

    The trailer just gave the basic storyline, the money is the actual hunger games which they smartly left completely out of the trailer. Smart. So happy there is no love triangle shown but got to say the guy playing Gale is just as hot as I pictured. Is it bad to want Katniss to end up with movie Gale? Movie Peeta is doing nothing for me while looking like Katniss’ baby brother, I miss Peeta’s pretty blue eyes from the books. Guess dwarf Josh Hutcherson couldn’t be bothered with getting blue contacts.

  23. jermsmom says:

    awww, I adore Josh! How can you not love him after Bridge to Terabithia and Little Manhattan??? I thought he was perfectly cast for the part of Peeta!

  24. jess says:

    The movie will do well but it will not be as big as twilight.

  25. crys737 says:

    I’ve been praying and praying that they dont screw up the movie. Lets hope this trailer is a sign of good things to come!!! :)

  26. sassenach says:

    Movie Peeta is a big fail failure. He looks much younger than Katniss.

  27. Cali says:

    I wanted to love it, but I don’t. Parts of it look good, but didn’t blow me away. I’m afraid to see the movie. I love the books so much and i don’t want it ruined for me like twilight was.

  28. Lini says:

    It’s perfect. No, It’s BEYOND perfect. Everything is exactly as I imagined it or even better.

  29. Lauren says:

    Never read the books, but the trailer looks interesting. So… does the little girl go into the games? Or the older girl took her place? I was confused on that part….

  30. Lini says:

    To Lauren: The little girl’s older sister Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) takes her place in the games, because she knows she’s got a better cahnce of surviving (she’s older, stronger and a really good hunter).

    I really recommend the book, it’s amazing!

  31. kimberly says:

    it’s too hollywood. LOVE LOVE LOVE the books, but will not go see this movie. Hated the preview it’s too shiny and full of sparkles aka Hollywooded up. I mean no one cares about hollywood people anymore, so they really need to let directors and writers do their jobs to make great movies!!!

    they ruined the story, but hollywood execs always ruin good stories.

  32. Rololito says:

    OMG why is no one losing their mind over Wes Bentley?! I know the character is minor, but he looks awesome and so glad to see him back in movies again.

  33. jermsmom says:

    @Rololito – honestly, when I was watching the trailer and saw Wes my first thought (it was a side shot) was “WTF?? Dave Navarro is in Hunger Games???”

  34. di butler says:

    Some of you don’t seem to realize the guy playing Gale is Miley’s main squeeze and IRL blondie Aussie Liam Hemsworth.

  35. mooshi says:

    This is GLORIFICATION of the nazis.

    How in the bowels of HELL do anyone of you think this series is “cool” in any way?

    Have you all gone mad? I am ashamed of all of you………

  36. Rachael says:

    @Rololito – Totally agree, Wes Bentley looks great.

  37. Rachael says:

    @mooshi – Umm … what?

  38. Romia says:

    Oh look. Another book/movie/television series intentionally created (with appropriate age-based language and realism) and geared toward tweens and teens, with an overwhelmingly “adult” audience ready to claim the new fandom as their own.

    F’g tragic. Johnny D, you are so spot on, my man.

  39. Sophie says:

    Don’t like the trailer. I loved Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone, but I imagined someone smaller/skinnier/scrappier to play Katniss. I also imagined the whole setting to be a lot grittier. Gayle, especially, looks too well kept.

    Peeta looks just as wimpy and undesirable in the movie as he came across in the books.

  40. Mrs. Odie 2 says:

    I wonder how they will make children murdering each other watchable. Some things work in a book, but are too rough for a movie (thus the lack of appeal for The Road).

  41. Mooshi says:

    Mrs. Odie “I wonder how they will make children murdering each other watchable.”

    This is my point. We are stepping WAY over the line to some seriously damaging psychological programming when we show a series with CHILDREN forced to MURDER each other in cold blood.

    This is hands-down the most disgusting thing I have ever seen hollywood do.

    You all enjoy the world your kids are gonna live in. Its going to look a lot like this.

    Anyone who lets their kids watch this or read this stuff needs to rethink whether they should even be a parent.

  42. Becky says:

    Mrs. Odie, Mooshi: I don’t think so. Young adults are too sheltered these days and do not understand that bad things CAN happen to kids at the hands of malevolent, greedy adults. It happens every day IRL. Leave your rose-colored glasses on for your kids, but I am definitely allowing my kids to read this series when they are old enough. And what’s wrong with adults reading YA fiction? Shouldn’t adults be reading it before their kids anyways?

  43. Lalala says:

    I’m another person who does not get the love for this series. I read the first book and had no urge to read the rest. Katniss is such a Mary Sue–she’s perfect in every way and every single person who loves her is a good guy and every single person who dislikes her is evil. Plus I found Cinna’s character to be morally untenable. He works for the Capital preparing tributes for slaughter, but we’re supposed to think he’s a good guy because he thinks Katniss is awesome.

    And I agree with the comment upthread about the weirdness of adults appropriating books aimed at teens/kids. Like Harry Potter fanatics–the series is fine, I’m sure my son will grow up loving the books, but I find it seriously bizarre that grownups are so obsessed with it.

  44. danielle says:

    Trailer gave me chills!

  45. xxodettexx says:

    soooooooo excited for this like i havent been for a movie in a long while! will definitely re-read the book several times before the movie releases!!

  46. Shannon says:

    Wow, if you guys haven’t bothered to actually READ the books, perhaps you shouldn’t be commenting about how inappropriate it is to show children killing children. That is the entire POINT of the books. It’s sick and inhumane, and they show that. It’s a commentary on how far we as a society will go when it comes to reality TV and bloodlust, and how a corrupt government maintains control through oppression and systematic death. The context matters. Calling this Nazi glorification would be like calling Schindler’s list Nazi glorification. Please look into what the plot actually is before whipping out Godwin’s law in record time. Extra points for combining it with the “think of the chiiiildren” trope though.

    @Lalala – you should read the other books. It’ll explain Cinna. And Katniss’ fallibility shows more clearly when she’s put in situations that aren’t life-threatening. Not saying she doesn’t have her annoying aspects, but she isn’t portrayed as perfect throughout the series.

  47. pinns says:

    @Heatheredair, no8, that would be me.

    Sorry to say, the trailer looks a bit silly, and er, like a kids film….complete with silly drunk pink old lady compere – ooo shivers – not!

    Like @lalala no.43, I’m not really sure why adults are actually debating what seems to be a BBC children’s drama. Such screenwriter’s ideas of a ‘menacing future world’ went out in 1985 with Bartertown! We’re too post-modern for it, it was totally laughable in ‘V for Vendetta’.

    You want a genuinely terrifying post-apocalyptic future? Stop reading young adult fiction (it’s not meant for you) and try reading ‘The Road’ (or see the film instead if you must).

    And who’s daft enough to compare this film to Battle Royale? Totally different, not least because BR wasn’t a kids film. Takeshi Kitano in a gym teacher’s polyester sweatsuit, now that was a plausibly scary future!!

    #scuttles off to avoid the hate that will surely follow….#

  48. Vera says:

    I think the only thing that bothers me about the trailer is the people saying it gives too much away. Literally the most it really gives away aside from a brief montage of clips for the actual Hunger Games and a few shots of the outfits and short chats with Gale and Cinna was already laid out on the back of the book in the summary. It says what the Hunger Games are in basic terms and it says that Prim was picked but Katniss volunteered which is the majority of the trailer aside from the scene before the Reaping. Everyone getting their knickers in a twist about it giving so much away must have not read the summary on the back…

  49. kiko says:

    well, i haven’t read the books but i have to say the trailer really looks like it gave a huge chunk of the story.i really don’t see why everyone is so excited about this one..to me it looks like a twilight version of battle royale.i ‘m not trying to insult the fans of he books but thats what i get so far..

  50. BLunted says:

    Meh, I know it’s only a trailer, but dont think this is going to hold a candle to Battle Royale(which clearly inspired it, regardless of what fanbois/girls say)

  51. Ben says:

    Hunger Games ripped off “Survivor” by Walter F. Moudy, and appeared in the May, 1965 issue of “Amazing.” It is about the future and how countries go about solving their differences. Instead of WAR, each party would gather up their best 100 soldiers and put them in an arena filled with various terrain and sorts. The last side to have any survivors would be the winner obviously. What made this unique was that it was all televised with commentary. Anyway, the survivor would be granted immunity in their country and would be able to do anything they wanted as compensation for their term.

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