‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown: The Clips Are Coming!

‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown: The Clips Are Coming!

Feb 22, 2012

Hunger Games IMAX Banner

Well, they better be. We’ve been knee deep in Hunger Games promotional material for quite some time now, but we’ve still yet to see a single clip and, as stellar as the posters, trailers and TV spots are, it’s those clips that will tell us most about the quality of the full feature.

There’s a lot to consider when releasing a film clip as a piece of promotional material. First and foremost, you don’t want to spoil anything. So far, Lionsgate’s marketing department has stuck to a smart plan of not revealing much material from the actual Games and I’d like to bet they’ll stick with it. Now, that doesn’t mean that everything before the big arena countdown is fair game. Katniss and Peeta’s epic opening ceremony outfits? Considering we’ve already seen the duo pre-ignition, that could be a moment to go with, but it’d certainly lessen the impact of what could be one of the film’s most mesmerizing scenes should a fiery clip steal the chariot ride's thunder beforehand. While we’ve already seen quite a bit of material from the Capitol, we’ve yet to catch an expansive view of the population. An entire region of people with crazy hair and colored skin? That could really blow a viewer away in IMAX.

Regardless of what Lionsgate does go with, Gary Ross’ directing ability will be under a microscope. Well, Ross’ work as well as the work coming from a number of other key crew members, but, let’s face it, all the fingers will eventually point at Ross. It’s tough to judge camera work when it comes to a trailer. The cuts are quick and definitely not suitable for a scene in a feature. However, when looking at an actual clip, you can get a sense of exactly how Ross’ coverage plan might break down. What’s he doing with one-on-one conversations? Is he working with just two solo shots on his actors? Are the editors cutting between the two with abandon or are they using his cuts to hit particular beats and maximize the power of certain lines of dialogue and reactions? And then what about the more active moments? Will Ross frequently resort to handheld camerawork to create unease?

So far, so good for The Hunger Games, but before the full film reviews start rolling in, it’s these incoming clips that will give us the best impression of the quality of the film. With just about a month to go until the big March 23rd release, those clips will likely arrive any day now, if not this very week. Lionsgate seems to have a thing for tying their biggest promotional unveilings to major televised events – the MTV Video Music Awards and the Super Bowl. Could Oscar weekend ring in the film’s first clip? I’m betting on it.

That begs the question, what should that first clip be? Hunger Games fandom unite!

Rue in The Hunger GamesLee of TheHob.org
There are so many scenes that have an emotional impact and those are the ones I look forward to seeing: Rue’s sacrifice, the internal strength of character we see in Thresh and, the one I most look forward to, the startling image of Katniss in her Girl on Fire dress. This costume symbolizes her awakening - an internal recognition of her as "the girl on fire" that ultimately impacts how she reacts in the final scene with Rue and life in the arena overall. I think Jennifer Lawrence is going to be a major star from just that one moment and I'm just hoping we get close-ups so you can see Katniss' fear, resolve and defiance. If Gary Ross puts a close-up on her, we'll get to see it all; we'll see, through the camera lens, what is happening to her on the inside.

Crystal of Mockingjay.net
Since we’re so close to release now, I think Lionsgate feels comfortable enough to begin to bring out Katniss and Peeta together. They’ve focused a lot on the reaping, some of the interviews and the pin story, but we’ve only just barely gotten a glimpse of the two of them together. I’m predicting a short clip of their rooftop conversation from the trailer, starting with Katniss finding him there and talk of what's to come the next day. I don’t think they’ll end it in anger as it did in the books, but cut off with Katniss’ now famous line, “I just can’t afford to think like that.” It’s a chance to show them together while still conveying the dark message of The Hunger Games to any of the audience new to the story. So while some might argue that they wouldn’t want to highlight the love angle to avoid further comparisons to Twilight, I think this scene wouldn’t give that impression at all. It would focus on the seriousness of their situation and the terror that they’re about to face while still providing fans with a taste of Katniss and Peeta.

Katniss and PeetaMelanie of HungerGamesMovie.org
I am hoping to see a cave scene clip with Katniss and Peeta, and not because there is some steamy lip action. Admittedly, I do want to bear witness to that, however, I am truly looking forward to seeing how Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson portray their characters’ chemistry for each other. How Lawrence will show Katniss expressing her ‘love’ to the naive Peeta, while also convincing us, the audience, it is an act for the Capitol, will be a testament to her acting ability. Actually, I hope to not see any kissing scenes prior to it being on the big screen, as there is more behind the kiss than girl likes boy. I am hoping, in any scenes shown, that the camera action will be smooth and not jerky. Yes, I do want to feel like I am with Katniss in the woods, but I do not enjoy feeling like I am on a ship in the middle of an ocean being tossed about. Either way, being able to see more scenes from the film gives us more clues on the quality of work put out by those in front of and behind the camera.

Sara of The Hunger Games Examiner
One scene from The Hunger Games movie I'd love to see a clip from is just before the chariot ride. We've already seen photos of Katniss and Peeta in their "Girl (and Boy) on Fire" outfits before they're actually set on fire, and the clip could cut away before Cinna actually lights them on fire. That would give fans a huge treat, set up a major desire to see the film, and offer up a taste of the movie without giving away anything major. I think it would be a very savvy marketing move on Lionsgate's part to release a short clip from that scene. It wouldn't give away any new imagery, but would give us a longer look at dialogue between Katniss, Peeta, and Cinna while whetting our appetites for more.

The ReapingSavanna of The Hunger Games Fireside Chat
I know that we've already seen bits and pieces of it in the trailers, but I really hope that we'll get to see an extended clip from the District 12 reaping. It's important that not too much be revealed in advance of the film's release, but at the same time, Lionsgate needs to reach an audience that might not be familiar with the books at all (a difficult concept for us hardcore fans to grasp, I know). The reaping introduces us to Panem society, the Capitol, and the Games without spoiling the rest of the story, and it's such a gripping, suck-you-in moment; I can't imagine a non-fan watching it play out without saying to him or herself, "I have to see this!" The reaping also features many of the main players in The Hunger Games, so I can see a portion of it being used to accompany TV interviews with Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Willow Shields, and perhaps even Paula Malcomson or Liam Hemsworth.

Tanvi of Hunger Games Network
The peeks we’ve had so far have all been the same with some variations, which is kind of good. As a fan, I know what’s happening, but it’s not as exciting for the non-fans. Taking both views in mind, I’d appreciate a little more from the Tributes’ introduction, especially Rue, because, she is a USP (unique selling point) of the first movie - and Seneca Crane. But just a little. Please don’t throw spoilers at me! Apart from this, the best thing that Lionsgate could do to explain what the movie is all about to non-fans is more voiceovers from President Snow. The new TV spots included more of that and, in my opinion, it was a good move. I want to steer clear of the actual Games though. Let one part of the movie be entirely chaste for the theatre audience. For example, one of my favorite trailers in recent times is still for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. There was so much in the clips yet the movie felt fresh.

The ReapingElena of HG Movie Site
I put a lot of thought into what scene in The Hunger Games I am most looking forward to. I took into consideration my favorite parts of the book and also the scenes we've already seen in the trailers and TV spots. In the end, it all comes back to The Reaping. The Reaping is what sets the entire series into motion for me. When I read it for the first time, I was overwhelmed. There is so much emotion jam packed into this relatively short scene, we meet more key players in the series with the introduction of Haymitch and Effie, and we are afraid for Katniss, Prim and Gale. Even though I know what's going to happen in the end, I hold out hope every single time I read it that someone else's name will be pulled from the bowl. When I imagine seeing the full-length scene on the big screen for the first time, I know my stomach will be in knots and I intend to come prepared with a box of tissues.

Kait of Victor’s Village
I'm really hoping for a clip of the confrontation between Katniss and Peeta after he announces his love for Katniss to the Capitol audience. The scene should be fierce and extremely awkward all at once! Plus, it will have to set the tone for the "faked" love connection between the two once they're in the arena. Jennifer and Josh are top-notch actors, so we can't wait to see how they play this one out!

Peeta on the TrainLindsay of HG Girl on Fire
The movie business has changed with the growth of the internet. It feels like you see an entire movie in clips and previews before you step foot in the theater. I have absolutely loved that we have not seen more than a few seconds of scenes in the arena, and those are only the moments at the very start of our characters' journey inside the arena. My hopes for any upcoming clips are not for what we get to see, but what I hope they don't show. I'm hoping upon hope that no more of the arena footage is revealed. I want to see it all brand new in the theater and experience the devastation of those scenes (the cave, Rue, the Cornucopia) without having been spoiled with bits and pieces of them beforehand. If I must provide something I do hope to see in clips, it might be a glimpse of the Hob, or perhaps more of the train ride to the Capitol showing some of the tension between Katniss and Peeta.

While we wait for the first clip from The Hunger Games to arrive, there are a few items to check out to pass the time. Sticking with the clip theme, how about this paradoy clip from The Second City? Then, if you missed it on Monday evening, Adam and Savanna of The Hunger Games Fireside Chat were kind enough to have me join the show yet again. You can check out the full recording right here and also be sure to enter their Oscar pool right here. There’s some great Hunger Games goodies up for grabs!

Lastly, are you from New York City? Want to spend The Hunger Games’ midnight opening with me and the wonderful ladies of The Hob? They’re hosting a special screening at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14. Tickets cost $18 a piece and not only do you get access to the screening, but two raffle tickets for some fun prizes, too. And, even better, a portion of the proceeds are going to WhyHunger. Click here to check out all the details.

And, after you snatch up some of those tickets, why not buy more? Hunger Games ticket sales begin today!

The Hunger Games Countdown runs here on Movies.com every other Wednesday. There are 29 days until the release.

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