November 14, 2011 2:52pm PT by Lauren Schutte
'The Hunger Games' Trailer: 5 Instant Observations While Watching
On Monday, the official trailer for Lionsgate's rendition of the first novel in Suzanne Collins' popular Hunger Games trilogy was released. And, while fans will have to wait for more insight into the book's love triangle, which was largely ignored in this two-and-a-half minute teaser, there is much to be gleaned from the clip.
1) The film will adhere strictly to the novels. If this first trailer is any indicator, there should be no risk of a Hunger Games devotee uprising due to variations between the book and movie. The footage, which runs in chronological order, starts with Katniss and Gale at their lookout point, just as the first book does, continuing on to the Reaping, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta's (Josh Hutcherson) time in the capitol, before closing with our first view of the arena. One notable difference seems to be the upping of Gale's (Liam Hemsworth) presence in the film. In the novels he's only present during the beginning and end, but judging from the trailer, the audience will get to see what he's going through while Katniss is in the area, something readers didn't get to experience in the novel.
2) District 12 looks less gritty than its written counterpart. Fans got their first views of the supposedly most-bare-bones and neglected of Panem's districts, and the depiction seemed to have bit of a Hollywood sheen on it. Yes, the Reaping's participants were all dressed in monochromatic outfits and seemed to be standing among rubble, but everything else was a little too pretty for a coal-mining town. The books describe everything as having a fine layer of dust over it, but the trailer showed a brightness in the woods (which looked positively lush), the buildings and the dresses of District 12's inhabitants. Probably the darkness didn't translate well on film.
3) Was that the forest or the arena? The trailer opens and closes with shots of scenes in the woods. In the beginning viewers are watching Katniss and Gale in their real-life sanctuary, the forest outside of District 12's non-functional electric fence. At the end, the trailer shows the film's heroine in the supposedly man-made woods of the Hunger Games arena. But, the scenery sure does look a lot alike. The film was shot in North Carolina, but, producers may have used a little too much of the area's natural aesthetic to make the arena believable as a Capitol creation.
4) The leading men have a long way to go to reach Twilight-guys level of fan obsession. There are Twi-hards and Twi-moms ... will Hunger-hounds and Hungry-mothers be next? It's hard to tell. Aside from the initial uproar over Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner's castings as Edward Cullen and Jacob Black in the Twilight franchise, the leading men have inspired screaming hysterics since well before the first film's premiere. Both Hutcherson (Peeta) and Hemsworth (Gale) have been around well before their Hunger Games castings. Because of their lack of obscurity, it is unlikely that either will suddenly incite riotous behavior. Fans seem to be in love with the story more than the players, which was reflected in this first trailer. Neither leading man's hunk-factor was relied upon too heavily.
5) Did Jennifer Lawrence capture Katniss' essence? Fans have seen Lawrence dressed as the book's heroine in photos, and previously-released video clips that showed her running, but this is the first time Hunger Games devotees have heard the actress truly embody the heroine. I was struck with how well fed Katniss appears to be...when coming from the starving District 12. It seems that the movie version of the story is focusing on it's leading lady's strength rather than her frailty.