The Hunger Games

jawajohnny
jawajohnny Posts: 143
edited November 2011 in General
The first full trailer for "The Hunger Games" is out:
http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/lions_gate/thehungergames/
For those of you who don't know, this is the basic premise (taken from the plot summary):

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which "Tributes" must fight with one another until one survivor remains.
When her little sister is selected for the games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers in her place. In the arena, she is forced to survive against the elements, cruel obstacles, not to mention some very vicious fighters.
I've read the first book in the trilogy... and I think it's fantastic. Being extremely dark and gritty, it's not your typical "young adult" fare. In fact, if the film version were an exact replica of the book... it would without a doubt, be rated R for violence. The film version will be PG-13, but still the entire premise is that only one person can come out of the arena alive, so they can only tone down the violence/gore-factor so much.
While the trailer only shows footage from about the first third of the book, and therefore doesn't actually show ANY footage from the actual "games" (except for the start of them at the end of the trailer), I think it captures the essence of the books pretty well, and does an excellent job of establishing the story. I was initially disappointed with the casting of 20 year old Jennifer Lawrence as the 16 year old Katniss, (I was hoping for someone a bit younger, like Hailee Steinfeld or Chloe Moretz, who are both 14), I have to say I think she can pull it off. While I was initially concerned that she didn't look the part (blonde hair!), I think they've now got her looking pretty close to how I imagined Katniss to be. The supporting adult actors are all perfect for their roles - Lenny Kravitz, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci.
One of my two concerns about the movie are the male leads - Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson. While they look okay in the trailer, it remains to be seen whether or not they have enough acting ability to pull it off.
My other concern, is that the studio is going to turn this into a Twilight-esque love story --- which the book is absolutely not. Judging from this trailer, they're not, so that's a very good sign.
So yeah, aside from a few iffy CGI shots (which I'm sure will look a lot better by March), I think this is an excellent first trailer that is very faithful to the book. What do you guys think?
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Comments

  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    edited November 2011
    I won't say much as I dislike the hunger games premise, but I think it looks to be a solid movie technically, although I'll likely never see it simply because I don't like the idea of the plot. Oh and the some of the characters seemed a tad cartoony...
  • Aculag
    Aculag Posts: 708 Just Starting Out
    edited November 2011
    So it's Battle Royale but with a fantasy/cartoon/teen romance twist? I couldn't stop laughing after seeing Elizabeth Banks' makeup and costume, and it just got worse from there. Maybe it's because I'm not familiar with the book, but I can't see myself watching this.
  • RodyPolis
    RodyPolis Posts: 612 Just Starting Out*
    So I finally get to see what all the hype was about! So, why are there so much hype for this movie? Did Hunger Games revolutionize the book industry while I was too busy not reading?
    Anyways as far as the movie looks it seems like it could be pretty good. I like the concept of it all, although I can already tell there are some cheesy villains in there :( Nothing I hate more than cheesy villains.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited November 2011

    So it's Battle Royale but with a fantasy/cartoon/teen romance twist? I couldn't stop laughing after seeing Elizabeth Banks' makeup and costume, and it just got worse from there. Maybe it's because I'm not familiar with the book, but I can't see myself watching this.
    Hmmm.... I haven't seen Battle Royale... but from what I hear, that comparison isn't very accurate aside from "kids killing each other". The rest of the scenario is totally different. I would say there is no fantasy/cartoon/teen romance at all. Maybe a slight hint of sci-fi, but that's it. Like I said... if the book were translated word for word to the screen... it would be rated R. Basically, it's a post-apocalyptic dystopian society, where the evil government makes the kids fight to the death every year, while the country watches on TV. It's dark, gritty and violent. There is a romantic subplot, but it's not typical, and plays out very interestingly over the course of the games. But for the most part, it's a tale of determination and survival... and a pretty intense one at that. It's dark, gritty, and violent. And by violent, I mean arrows getting shot through necks, skulls being bashed in, and pus exploding out of nasty wounds. The trailer doesn't show any of that stuff because they're pretty clearly trying not to show any footage from outside the first act of the movie... but it will be there in some shape or form. It will obviously be toned down to meet the PG-13... but there's no doubt it will still be intense. I mean... there are 24 kids in the arena, and only one can come out alive.
    Also... regarding Elizabeth Banks' character --- she's supposed to look ridiculous like that. She's a constant point of ridicule among the other characters.
    [quote="RodyPolis"]So I finally get to see what all the hype was about! So, why are there so much hype for this movie? Did Hunger Games revolutionize the book industry while I was too busy not reading?
    Anyways as far as the movie looks it seems like it could be pretty good. I like the concept of it all, although I can already tell there are some cheesy villains in there :( Nothing I hate more than cheesy villains.[/quote]
    Yeah... they kind of did revolutionize the book industry. Basically, it's one of the bigger smash hit series since Harry Potter. I won't say it's the new Twilight, because The Hunger Games is actually good, whereas the Twilight books are laughably bad. Not to mention the dark and graphic nature of the books make it more adult-skewing than most "kid's series". I'd definitely recommend reading it.
    Where you're wrong Rody... is that there are no cheesy villains... in fact, in at least in the first book, there are no true "villains" at all. In the arena, it's every boy/girl for themselves --- so the main villain is the government that put them there.
  • RodyPolis
    RodyPolis Posts: 612 Just Starting Out*
    edited November 2011
    So that lady with the over-the-top make-up, and that guy with the ridiculous mustache aren't gonna be cheesy villains? Good to know. I watched the trailer again and it hit me a little better than the first time. Looking forward to it.
    As long as they're a lot of deaths, a lot of twists, and cool montages I'm game! Lol
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited November 2011
    Yeah... Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks with the wacky costume and hair) is basically the "escort" of the tributes for District 12. Basically, she just picks the two names out of the jar, and then takes them to the Capitol for the games. Sort of like a manager, if you will. Definitely not a villain, as she wants to see Katniss or Peeta (the tributes from her district) win.
    Then the guy with the crazy mustache... I think is just one of the gamekeepers. Basically, they observe each tribute's training session, and assign them a score. The scores then help people determine who they'll sponsor or bet on. They also are in charge of designing the arena and dictating the rules of the games. They decide what extra obstacles and conditions the tributes face in the arena. In that sense, they're sort of the villains, as they're manipulating the games behind the scenes. But the only time you see them onscreen is in the training sessions.
    EDIT: Yeah... taking a closer look at the trailer, that is one of the gamekeepers.
  • I haven't read the books, but I will say my daughter (14yo) and her friends really like them. This was one of those books that once the first kid read it they were all like "you've GOT to read this!" They make up District identification passes for themselves and one of them has a badge they wear at school.
    So I guess a movie was always going to happen!
    I do hope it is good... I loved "The dark is rising" series as a kid and was horrified by the movie version a few years back. I didn't even recognise it from the movie trailer. :(
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited November 2011
    How big is this movie going to be? When have you guys ever seen the major news networks reporting on fan/critical reaction to a movie trailer? All I can think of is Star Wars Episode I, the first Harry Potter film, and now The Hunger Games:
    CBS News, CNN, and other networks are reporting that the reaction to the trailer is extremely positive.
    Apparently, the consensus is that the acting, cinematography, costumes, and production design are all spot-on. Since I've only read the first book so far, I wouldn't yet consider myself a true fan who knows exactly how this world and it's characters should look... So it's very encouraging to me that both the fans of the series, and the critics like the trailer. It's looking more and more likely to me that this will be the next "Harry Potter" rather than the next "Twilight".
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    edited November 2011
    rather than the next "Twilight".
    See, I got a Twilight vibe from this trailer, am I the only one?
  • Aculag
    Aculag Posts: 708 Just Starting Out
    edited November 2011

    See, I got a Twilight vibe from this trailer, am I the only one?
    I'm pretty sure that's what they were going for. Even if the movie is nothing like Twilight, the marketing will still try to make people think it is, because Twilight-esque sells, unfortunately.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited November 2011

    I'm pretty sure that's what they were going for. Even if the movie is nothing like Twilight, the marketing will still try to make people think it is, because Twilight-esque sells, unfortunately.
    Oh, yeah... I have no doubt that financially, they'll market this as the next "Twilight", and really play up the romantic aspects. That said, the movie will be absolutely nothing like Twilight, chiefly because the source material is actually good. Just compare the main characters --- Bella Swan is a depressed, mopey teenager who falls in love with a vampire because he's a vampire. Katniss Everdeen volunteers for Hunger Games in order to save her little sister from certain death... and therefore must fight to the death herself if she ever wants to see her family again. No "tween romance" there. :)
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    edited November 2011

    really play up the romantic aspects.
    I think this movie is going to be a romance regardless of the source material. Look at the trailer. Isn't that truly all we have to go on as far as what will happen in the movie? I know that you wouldn't consider the source material a love story (however it is no matter how you play it, it is either a love story about her love for her sister or her love for that guy, but that is a whole other discussion). Point is, I think this movie is going to sell out to the romantic genre, maybe I'll be wrong, but that is exactly what the trailer does.
    That said, the movie will be absolutely nothing like Twilight, chiefly because the source material is actually good.
    Wouldn't a twilight fan say that twilight has "actually good" source material?
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited November 2011
    How does this trailer establish it as a love story? I really don't see that, at all. It does introduce the two male leads... but I don't see anything (other than their mere presence) that would indicate either one of them having a romantic relationship with Katniss. Just compare this trailer to the "Twilight" trailer, and then come back and tell me that this one is selling the same thing. I certainly don't think it is. That's not to say future trailers and other marketing material won't... because it would be stupid not to exploit that aspect of the film.
    Basically, my point is that "Twilight" is a love story no matter how you look at it. There literally is nothing else to it. On the other hand, "The Hunger Games" is a story of survival, first and foremost. Yes, there is a romantic subplot. Will it be the main feature of the movie? I don't think so, considering Suzanne Collins (the author of the book) wrote the screenplay with Gary Ross, so I don't see them sacrificing the overall story in order to beef up the romance. If the studio wanted to sell out and turn this into a Twilight-esque love-fest, they wouldn't have had the author of the book help write the script.
    Yes, a "Twilight" fan would say it has good source material. But come, on, we all know it doesn't. :P The only "plot" it has is the love story, whereas "The Hunger Games", like any other good story, has a lot more going for it. The romance is just part of the much larger story.
    The fact that everything in this trailer is portrayed almost exactly as in the book, without any "fabricated" romantic twists... is very encouraging.
  • RodyPolis
    RodyPolis Posts: 612 Just Starting Out*
    Gosh that Twilight trailer is so embarrassing to watch. Looks worse than I remember.
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    edited November 2011
    Not one of the Narnia books is a love story yet Prince Caspian was, so I have a feeling this will have a lot more love story in it than the book, especially since the first 15-20 seconds of the trailer is all about Katniss and some guy, (who reminded me of taylor lautner). I mean he suggests they could run away together, so I'm pretty sure that establishes a love story type plot. If that doesn't, him trying to comfort her at 1:17 kinda confirms it for me.
    As far as the Hunger Games trailer goes, once again, it is very cheesy. Look at the costumes, the sets, they just look cheesy to me. They almost remind me of the Speed Racer movie that came out a while back.
    Point being that Twilight fans will like Twilight and The Hunger Games fans will like The Hunger Games, so everything that a Hunger Games fan says about this will be biased by their feelings about the source material, as with a Twilight fan.
  • Looks like a nerdy movie. nerdy but semi cool at the same time ;)
  • fredclips
    fredclips Posts: 228
    I just wanted to update my comment now that I've actually read the book!
    The book was good. I was sick one day and downloaded it on my Kindle to see what my kids were talking about. Finished it that day.
    It is a 'young adult' book, but I did really enjoy it and can see why the kids are hyped for the movie. There does seem to be a lot of violence and death of young children!
    Having read the book the trailer looks very good. It correctly stops before the bulk of the action starts and really doesn't appear to give much away... which is VERY strange for a trailer.
    The scene at the end of the trailer with the countdown and the kids running should be great!
    About the 'love story' side, yes that does exist... but the main character actually doesn't appear that interested in the boys! Nothing like miss 'I love it when stalkers sneak into my room and watch me sleep.'
  • This trailer looks really good. Would you recommend me reading the books before watching the movie fredclips?
    Kahveh
  • fredclips
    fredclips Posts: 228

    This trailer looks really good. Would you recommend me reading the books before watching the movie fredclips?
    Kahveh
    I really don't know the correct answer to that Kahveh!
    The book was very enjoyable young adult fiction. (whatever that means) But I don't think the plot is so complex that you should read the book first to get more out of it.
    Whichever way you go, movie or book first, some scenes are going to have less impact through being spoiled.
  • Thanks for the reply fred ;)
  • fredclips
    fredclips Posts: 228
    My girls went and saw this tonight (with a lot of their school friends).
    I thought I would share their quick review!
    It was good.
    They have both read the book and thought the book was better. (what a surprise!)
    I get the feeling from them that some of the violence was either cut around or avoided by the use of the completely horrible 'close-up-shaky-cam'. (I REALLY hate 'shaky-cam', especially 'close-up-shaky-cam')
    I do think that was bound to happen, this was never going to be a blood-n-guts movie while being based on a YA book. Even if the books are a bit blood-n-guts! :)
    Still they did enjoy it and said their friends loved it. My girls are fairly critical of movies, so that is a good rating from them!
  • Darren
    Darren Posts: 164
    This movie holds about as much interest as Twilight - nothing.
  • fredclips
    fredclips Posts: 228

    This movie holds about as much interest as Twilight - nothing.
    Which is fine, personally I've got very little interest in the 3rd Batman movie. I find Nolan movies as boring as batshit! ;)
    But, as has been said before, besides being a YA book comparing The Hunger Games to Twilight is a bit silly. You may as well be comparing it to Harry Potter or the Narnia movies as they also feature young people. No doubt the producers would like to create Twilight level money and interest! But the source material is completely different in characters, tone, message, vibe, blood and gore.
    I just finished the third book tonight (while sitting in the maternity ward at the hospital watching my new baby sleep! :D ) and enjoyed it... I think the books are a little slow in spots, but overall tell a good story.
    It's also good to have a story to talk about with my kids that is a little deeper than explaining why Edward the vampire is really an abusive stalker. (thankfully they agree!)
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,448 Enthusiast
    Heh, glad to hear that your kids have noticed that the Twilight setup is incredibly creepy and verging on paedophilic.
    I'm hearing good things about the Hunger Games, though I'm mostly entirely ignorant of the books and franchise in general. The trailers haven't really grabbed my interest, but the concept is intriguing enough to get me to check it out at some point.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited March 2012
    *Minor Spoilers Follow*

    Just got back from it. Not only is it a fantastic adaptation, but it's also a rather awesome sci-fi film. I feel like some of the heftier allegorical themes fly over much of the teenage audience's heads... but they are very much present in the film. We have the classic post-apocalyptic dystopian sci-fi world of government control and oppression, which serves as a backdrop for some social commentary on society as a whole, and it's obsession with reality TV. It goes deeper than that, of course... but that's the main gist of it. Really smart and intelligent stuff here... but like I said... I think a lot of the target audience is missing out on it. They're all packing the theaters to see Peeta and Gale.
    I'm happy to report that the core story is adapted extremely faithfully... with almost all the events playing out exactly as they do in the novel. When it deviates, it does so with good reason, often to further establish and improve upon themes that are only touched upon in the book. The way the flashbacks are cut in with the present serves the story extremely well, and gets the point across to the audience as best they could without having a narration from Katniss. Speaking of "narration", I actually think director Gary Ross has done an excellent job expanding the story beyond Katniss's point of view (the books are written from her first person perspective), by showing the "control room" shots of the Gamekeepers orchestrating every bit and piece of the Games, and by expanding Stanley Tucci's and Toby Jone's roles and using them as "commentators" for the Games. These are all things that are alluded to, but obviously not seen in the book... but I think they did a great job balancing between the events in the arena, and out of it.
    The love story does lose a tiny bit of subtext due to us not getting to hear Katniss's thoughts wondering how much of the "star crossed lovers" story is "acting", or how much of it is genuine, but I still think it works remarkably well overall. My dad picked up on what was going on without having read the books. The "cave scene" was shortened a lot... but I don't blame the filmmakers for doing that. Much of the cave stuff in the books become repetitive and uneventful, only really serving to further develop Katniss and Peeta's relationship. I didn't feel like I was missing any of it in the movie, though. I love how the filmmakers didn't succumb to the pressure to "make it like Twilight" and allow the love story to "overwhelm" the rest of the film.
    The strongest aspect of the film is the acting. Jennifer Lawrence gives an absolutely outstanding performance... one that should definitely earn her her second Oscar nomination. Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson are spot-on as Gale and Peeta, respectively. I haven't been a fan of their previous work, but both of them have proven themselves as actors here. The adult actors are all phenomenal, with Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, and Donald Sutherland all standing out in their expanded roles. Lenny Kravitz is exactly how I imagined Cinna, and while Woody Harrelson plays a slightly better dressed version of the Haymitch I imagined, he literally owns the role. He is Haymitch. And Elizabeth Banks providing the comic relief as Effie Trinkett is simply hilarious. "That's mahogany!" Even the individual tributes are extremely well-cast, with Leven Rambin (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) and Isabelle Fuhrlman (Orphan) standing out to me. You know how pitch-perfect the cast of the Harry Potter films was? The cast of The Hunger Games is that good. Really, I can't say enough about all of them, especially Jennifer Lawrence. If she doesn't get an Oscar nomination I'll be extremely mad.
    The movie isn't entirely without a few minor flaws, though. My biggest problem is that despite how well the "world" is established without Katniss' narration... I felt like I needed to hear what she was thinking, how she would have described everything going on around her. She had a really unique perspective in the book... so I can only help but think that there is so much more to Katniss that we didn't get to see onscreen. Ultimately, however, I think Jennifer Lawrence's powerful performance all-but cancels out the lack of narration. Even without "getting to know her" as much... I still ended up completely invested in her character. A few other minor quibbles: I do think the violence was really toned down for the film... with much of the "bloody violence" happening with a shaky cam and quick cuts so we don't see too much. I actually think the shaky cam suits the film perfectly though, allowing us to feel like we're right there in the middle of the chaos. Even with the quick cuts... the "bloodbath" scene at the beginning of the Games, where we see the children hacking each other to death, is downright chilling. Would I have liked to see more blood? Yes... but I really can't fault them for toning down the violence here. Everything still plays out as it did in the book... there's just less blood than there really would have been. Also... I feel like too many of the deaths in the film happened offscreen. This is actually exactly how it happens in the book (because Katniss wasn't around to witness every death, obviously)... but I feel like they missed an opportunity to actually have these deaths play out onscreen, with commentary from Stanley Tucci. The end of the Games also seemed to be rather abrupt. Again, it played out much like it did in the book... but it seemed a touch anti-climactic. Still, that's a minor quibble, because the following scene in the Capitol with President Snow quickly re-established the sense of fear... that Katniss is not out of danger yet.
    I'll try to write up a more formal review later, but for now I'm done ranting. I predicted they would change the ending a tiny bit, as a movie audience would really be expecting a reunion between Katniss and Prim (the book ends right before the train pulls back into District 12). I also loved the final shots of pissed-off President Snow in the control room... and of Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley) getting "punished" for letting the winner "show up" the Capitol. Those scenes weren't in the book... but are a perfect set-up for the sequel. Which I will now go and read. :)
    Really, I think any sci-fi fan will enjoy the movie immensely. 10/10
  • Thanks jawajohnny I'm going to check this movie out as soon as possible. ;)
  • guitar74
    guitar74 Posts: 506
    edited March 2012
    I hate to say it, but there are a few movies this reminds me of where it looks like the author of the book got a lot of ideas. The Running man, The Dear Hunter, Condemned, and a lot of others. So, there it is, someone taking others ideas and changing the story a little bit and that is it. It looks like a twilight teen movie. I have not even seen it and the trailer to the movie tells me enough, snooze fest! I give it a 1 out of 10!
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited March 2012
    [quote name="guitar74"]It looks like a twilight teen movie. I have not even seen it and the trailer to the movie tells me enough, snooze fest! I give it a 1 out of 10! [/quote]
    Here's an idea: How about you go and see the movie before you pass on judgment like that? The Hunger Games is an extremely well written and acted intelligent, allegorical sci-fi film. Twilight isn't even in the same league.
    The trailer only shows footage from the first third, or maybe the first half of the movie, by the way. They really kept the size and epic-ness of the film under wraps in all the marketing material.
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    edited March 2012
    I will say this much, my girlfriend, huge fan of the hunger games, said it was very good. She said that the trailer and other material had her worried that it wouldn't be as good as the books, however she said she was very impressed. Though, Guitar74, you may not like it because it looks like a teen movie, like jawajohnny said, watch it and find out. Once you've seen it, and you decide that it's a "snooze fest" then feel free to say so. It's you opinion. However, ignorantly presenting your opinion about a subject that you know nothing about, is not fair to neither the subject material itself of those who you may sway away from an experience they may enjoy.
    Eidt: Jawajohnny, how much did they play up the romance? Did they at all? I remember earlier in this thread that I rather ignorantly projecting they would, and as I likely won't see it any time soon, I'm curious whether they did or not.
    Also, have you seen twilight?
  • Aculag
    Aculag Posts: 708 Just Starting Out
    edited March 2012
    So, there it is, someone taking others ideas and changing the story a little bit and that is it.
    This describes literally every piece of fiction ever created.
    Also, guys, keep in mind this guy would give anything 3D a 10/10 regardless of its content, so take his opinions lightly.
    I had very little interest in seeing this, but it does seem practically universally liked, so I'm sure I'll check it out at some point, just to see what all the hubbub is over.