Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies.
Since I’ve been a little lax with the Trailer Tuesdays lately, and I haven’t seen as many movies in the theater due to some family health issues, I’m going to try to post a trailer every day for a full week (starting with the one yesterday). Conveniently, the first teaser trailer for the awkwardly titled The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was released today, and it’s a juicy one. Take a look at it below and read on for my thoughts.
The trailer opens with a shot of the Capitol of Panem, which morphs into the logo for Capitol TV, looking appropriately ominous.
We listen as President Snow (Donald Sutherland) addresses the people of his country, saying, “Since the dark days our great nation has known only peace. Ours is an elegant system, conceived to nourish and protect. Your Districts are the body, the Capitol is the beating heart. Your hard work feeds us, and in return we feed and protect you.”
He’s accompanied by words that flash up on the screen: Unity, Prosperity, Sacrifice. As the camera pans out we see that he’s not alone. The noble Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) stands beside him, both of them dressed in white, staring off into the distance. Snow’s speech becomes more sinister as he continues, “But if you resist the system you starve yourself. If you fight against it, it is you who will bleed. I know you will stand with me, with us, with all of us, together as one.”
He’s clearly addressing a specific group of people, issuing a warning to anyone who would dare stand against the Capitol. I won’t spoil what’s coming for those who haven’t read the book, but I imagine most people who saw The Hunger Games: Catching Fire can guess whom that group includes. Snow ends his speech with “Panem today, Panem tomorrow, Panem forever,” a line delivered by Katniss in Catching Fire during her and Peeta’s victory tour, but where Katniss made the line sound fake and forced, Snow makes it sound like a threat. As the trailer ends, Peeta looks right at the camera, perhaps trying to communicate more with his eyes than can simply be inferred by his presence alongside Snow.
I’m a big fan of this teaser, which is often a tricky thing for a film sequel to put together. I think it’s a clever way to set the mood of the first part of the two-film finale, and to show in a simple speech what’s at stake, without giving much away. It will be interesting to see if this clip makes it into the film, or if it was just created for this trailer. While Peeta does appear on Capitol TV in Suzanne Collins’ book, he doesn’t appear alongside Snow giving a speech. The first two films of the series did a good job of staying true to the meaning and feeling behind the books without feeling the need to strictly adhere to every plot point, scene and line of dialogue from them. The director of Catching Fire, Francis Lawrence, is returning for the final two films, but they’ll have new writers in Danny Strong (Jonathan from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and also an accomplished screenwriter) and Peter Craig.
One thing that I think is really cool about this teaser is that Katniss doesn’t appear anywhere in it, yet her presence is still felt. (Doubly cool considering the popularity of Jennifer Lawrence.) We can sense that Snow is in many ways talking both directly to her and about her, but he never mentions her name nor do we ever see her. I know a lot of people didn’t like the book Mockingjay, in particular the way Katniss was handled, so it will be interesting to see how the film deals with those criticisms. Mockingjay will most certainly have a bigger scope than either of the previous films, as we leave the Hunger Games arena behind and get to see more of Panem as a whole. This is reflected in the various posters featuring citizens of the districts you can see at the bottom of this post. They’re all very visually striking, highlighting each District’s contribution to Panem, even if they don’t give the casual viewer a good sense of Mockingjay’s story.
What do you think? Did this little tease make you eager for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1? Can we all agree just to call it Mockingjay like the book? What do you think of the trailer not showing Katniss/Jennifer Lawrence at all? For those who have only watched the movies and not read the books, were you surprised to see Peeta with Snow? Which of the posters below is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!