Does The Trailer Help or Hurt: 'The Hunger Games'

Does The Trailer Help or Hurt: 'The Hunger Games'

Mar 23, 2012

I never watch a trailer until after I’ve seen the movie, and I also attempt to avoid as much news as possible. Then I compare what I knew, to what you knew. Let’s find out if what we see in the trailer is what we get, and if there is any advantage to going in fresh. (There will be spoilers.)


What I Knew: This film is not about ordering every item on Wendy's Value Menu and seeing if you can finish it. That much I knew. OK, I knew a little more. Jennifer Lawrence is the star, but you could also talk me into it being that girl from True Grit. Lenny Kravitz, and Josh Hutcherson (who used to annoy me, but not lately) are also in this flick. I had friends who read the book (it's cute that people still do that) and understood this: in "the future" kids are chosen to fight. The winner gets food. I also knew the book's fan base was being compared to the "Twilight" fan base. In the effort of full disclosure, I also saw two seconds of the preview, and knew someone was upset. I believe her exact words were "Nooooo."

What You Knew: We see two young, dark-haired, attractive teens sneak off into the forest. At least now we know why this was compared to "Twilight." More importantly, Lawrence can shoot an arrow. She's our hero. Elizabeth Banks is in some wacky pink makeup (which contrasts the otherwise "1984" style) and at this point, you don't know if she's from another planet or just acting like it. Lawrence volunteers for the Hunger Games "as tribute," and away we go! This flashes onscreen: From The Best-Selling Epic Novels. The bright lights, the big city and the fashion take center stage. Donald Sutherland shows up to give us a better understanding of the competition, and Woody Harrelson shows up with hair. There's a three-finger salute, if you know what I mean (I don't) and the final countdown to start the Hunger Games begins.

Does the Trailer Help or Hurt: How great is it that they only give you three seconds of actual game footage? That is very impressive. Especially because this is a long film and the majority isn't during the games. Most trailers are sprinkled with scenes from the third act. They just can't help it. Heck, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance shows you the final kill scene in its trailer. Not The Hunger Games. It is unfortunate they include Lawrence's character volunteering. That was a nice twist when I saw it for the first time. Not only that, when Harrelson says, "Make sure they will remember you," the trailer doesn't blow what actually happens in that scene. Again, impressive.

Here's the problem though, even after watching the movie and trailer, I don't feel like I totally "get" this world. I'm not saying you should try to watch every trailer/preview out there, but when watching The Hunger Games it does feel like "chunks" are missing. Reading the book before seeing the movie might be the way to go. This is true especially with a few death scenes the audience seemed very attached to, whereas I didn't feel that strong connection. Going in fresh might not have provided the maximum enjoyment for The Hunger Games.

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