After weeks of moaning about how Lionsgate is turning The Hunger Games into the next Twilight via the story’s love triangle, the studio makes a greatly appreciated turnaround and puts the focus on Katniss Everdeen in the film’s teaser trailer. Before we even get into the trailer details, the hype about this 30 seconds of footage was absolutely incredible. Even as someone left powerless by Hurricane Irene, I got a full play-by-play of the action at the VMA’s via Twitter leading up to the big reveal. As much as MTV has going on during that production, this year’s show certainly belonged to The Hunger Games.
So, how about those 30 seconds? Sure, a teaser trailer is a short trailer, but it’s more than 30 seconds. A TV spot is 30 seconds. Thankfully, the final running time, minus the Lionsgate logo and the black frames, clocks in at about 50 seconds of material. But who really cares about the seconds? It’s the actual footage and the promotional power that count.
While some may label the shots of Katniss walking through the woods as meaningless, this portion is key to establishing a vital element of the games – you’re always being watched, whether it’s by another tribute or the Gamemakers. The handheld shooting style and framing choices suggest that this is not just a frolic through the forest for our heroine; she’s being hunted. This shot selection puts us right alongside the lead character, something that’s not only vital to establishing a connection with a character in any movie, but something that’s particularly noteworthy here as it alludes to the fact that the movie version will still be Katniss’ story. Even better? This teaser really does prove Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. Not only does she surprisingly look the age, but there’s a fluidity to her movements while dodging the fireballs that nearly mimics what I imagined while reading the book.
The one element that throws me off is the choice to go with Gale’s voice-over. Personally, I prefer music to intrusive voice over and here its usage is particularly sensitive because I get the feeling it might be a stepping stone to story alterations that allow for Gale’s larger role in the first tale. Then again, this is only speculation and Gale could wind up being restricted to voice-over at a certain point in the film. Regardless, as a standalone piece, his words are drowned in the far more striking score and imagery.
As a fan, I’m thrilled with the teaser trailer. It brings a particularly exciting and memorable scene from the book to life in the best way possible. However, there’s no denying that this clip runs the risk of alienating those unfamiliar with the source material. For those who know nothing about the story, all they get here is that it’s about a girl running through the woods, occasionally dodging fire. I suspect Gale’s voice-over was Lionsgate’s attempt at exposition for the newcomers, but it’s just not strong enough to get the job done. Again, for me, this is a fine step forward for the film, but Lionsgate’s next move with the promotional campaign should be a play for the masses, while still honoring the hopes of the fans.
Clearly my opinion isn’t the only one out there and our fine friends from the Hunger Games fan sites around the web were eager to chime in and give their takes on the latest piece of promotional material.
We really like hearing Liam Hemsworth/Gales's voice over; it shows that even though Gale isn't in the games, he's still a huge part of Katniss' life. As for Lawrence as Katniss, we had no doubt she'd be fantastic, but it's great to see her looking so natural running through the woods with a bow and arrow. Then that ending - where the arrow shoots into the pin coupled with Rue's four-note whistle. It gives us goose bumps. We're dying for more! Given the nature of a teaser, we didn't expect to see too much, especially since they are still filming, but what we did see was amazing. We do wish, however, that they'd hint more at the story for those who never heard of the book or movie, just to get them more intrigued to find out what it's all about. But this teaser definitely has us even more curious than we already were to see what Lionsgate would show us next!
Sheila of HG Girl on Fire
First, I will say the teaser trailer was definitely just a tease of the things to come. In my mind, I had imagined getting a visual image of some of the other cast members like Effie, Peeta, Haymitch and Cinna, but, unfortunately, this was not meant to be. However, what I did get is some real insight into how Gary Ross is shooting this movie, and, I have to say, the cinematography is just beautiful. I could almost feel the eerie and dangerous vibe of the arena, I got a sense of Katniss' fear and her survival spirit, and I especially love Gale's voice in the background telling Katniss that she is strong and can hunt. It’s like seeing the pages of the book come to life and my heart sped up a bit in excitement. So, while I wish I could have seen more, overall I was happy with my first glimpse into the movie and expect great things by the time the full trailer arrives!
Tanvi of Hunger Games Network
The Hunger Games teaser trailer lived up to its hype - such a tease! And I mean that in a good way. Unlike what some are saying, I think it’s perfect for the first tease, considering they're still filming. It reminds me somehow of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince's first teaser with just one scene and voice-overs. Now the main trailer - whoa! The music is good and they slipped in Rue's whistle. I like the look of the arena immensely! Gale sounds great; I've always supported Hemsworth and I think his inclusion here is perfect. Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t just look like Katniss; she is Katniss. She looks so driven, so perfect. As she shoots the arrow, you can see how her face turning from an animalistic determination to regret. I really can't wait for the whole thing!
Kait of Victor’s Village
The first few seconds of the teaser bounced around, showing Katniss walking through the woods from different angles. Thankfully, it slowed down just enough to give fans a real treat! First off, Jennifer Lawrence makes a stunning Katniss. It was great watching her run the gamut of alarmed facial expressions and get down and dirty. It's clear that the teaser was meant to focus on Katniss, so the fireball scene was a great choice because it's filled with action and emotion but still doesn't give anything away regarding other characters. Speaking of other characters, is that Gale we hear? WHERE IS HIS SOUTHERN ACCENT? We'd be mighty disappointed if District Twelve's Appalachian appeal fell by the wayside. Gale's quote itself is a pretty solid choice for a teaser. It's touching without getting mushy or silly. The references to Rue in the teaser are also very welcome. A rustle in the trees? The four-note whistle? They're lightning fast flashes of pure brilliance given the short length of the teaser.
Savanna of The Hunger Games Fireside Chat
Part of me (about 73%) was expecting to be disappointed with the teaser, simply because my expectations – even though I really had no idea what to expect – were so incredibly high. Well, not only was I not disappointed with the footage shown, I was completely blown away! Yes, I cried while watching it. Yes, I screamed when it was over. What did I love about it? Everything! The scenery, the cinematography, the music, Rue’s four-note tune at the end. I even liked Gale’s voice over, which many have labeled as “cheesy.” I thought it added a compelling, human layer to what would have otherwise been just a simple collage of action scenes. As for Jennifer Lawrence, she looks absolutely incredible as Katniss (and so young!), and I’m psyched that we actually get to see her shoot an arrow. If anyone was still worried about her ability to effectively pull off the role, this teaser should silence them forever. I know some were hoping for peeks of Peeta and other various characters, but I think that focusing only on Katniss was smart. She is, after all, the heart of the trilogy. This is a perfect taste of the film for obsessive fans like me who have been clamoring for footage, as well as a great glimpse of the “Next Big Thing” for people who might not be at all familiar with The Hunger Games.
Adam of The Hunger Games Fireside Chat
How do you say you’re a little disappointed when everyone around you is jumping on trampolines and squee-ing with heart-to-the-sky fangirl fervor? I almost want to lie and shout, “WOW!!! That was like … AMAZING!” Please don’t be mad at me, okay? Maybe my expectations were astronomically high, considering I have such respect for Lionsgate and the sensational job they’ve done with casting and authenticity. My hopes for this picture are so high, the word Oscar dances like Prim’s goat cheese in my head. I think they could have really ignited a new crowd with something a little more inspiring than Lawrence scampering through the forest while Gale feeds her cheesy voice-over lines. Why not show us who Katniss is? Go deeper! Diehard fans will be thrilled. People who didn’t know what The Hunger Games is will be intrigued. But this could have been a shock-to-the-system, adrenaline-pumping 30 seconds that caused worldwide uproar. Instead, it gave the most devoted fans – who crave any chance to see snippets of the film – something to gush about.
Crystal of Mockingjay.net
My first reaction was that I just flat out loved it, but after I'd watched it online a few times, I have to admit, I was disappointed there was so little. There are a lot of wasted seconds on forest shots and shots of Katniss walking. That aside, the fireballs look amazing, Lawrence as Katniss looks fantastic, and I really like that we got to hear some of Gale and Katniss' goodbye scene. That’s something I’m really looking forward to in the movie. The best part, of course, is Katniss with her bow. I don’t know if that moment is sped up, but it was crazy cool. The new metal Mockingjay was, as my cousin would say, “amazeballs!” I love that her arrow flew over to spin the symbol and it caught on fire. I'm not a huge fan of Rue’s whistle, as it reminds me of the X-Files too much. I think one important thing to note about the teaser was that it appropriately focused solely on Katniss and her survival. Sure, we got a bit of Gale, but it was only stuff that was relevant to her in the Arena. Hopefully this calms down the people freaking out over this being the next hot teen love triangle blockbuster.
Theresa of Down With The Capitol
There aren’t enough ways for me to express how much I love this teaser. Lionsgate has hit the mark dead on with this small glimpse of the film, and Jennifer Lawrence embodies everything about Katniss. The teaser is perfect because it doesn't give much away and it makes you want more. And, truthfully, isn't that the point of a teaser? It builds excitement in fans and will bring about curiosity for those who have yet to read the series. It also gives just a taste of the feel of the arena, as well as the focus of the film. For those who feared that they might push the love triangle, here is your answer, as this footage is all Katniss. Sure we can hear Gale's words to her, but they are words of encouragement, reminding her of how powerful she can be. The scenes chosen, the musical overlay and then Rue's four-note "Mockingjay Call" at the end, all make for a perfect "first look" at this film. And like a good teaser, it leaves me ready for more.