The odds are ever in the favor of “The Hunger Games,” and the first full-length theatrical trailer solidifies the film as a front-runner for next year’s blockbusters. To be perfectly frank, the trailer does a perfect job encapsulating the heart and tone of the adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel. Even better, it includes everything fans of the series have been dying to see.
But, most importantly, is the incredibly convincing job Jennifer Lawrence does portraying leading lady Katniss Everdeen. Lawrence solidified herself as a great choice for the role after impressive performances in “Winter’s Bone” and “Like Crazy” (let’s face it, Mystique got the short straw in the “X-Men: First Class” script). There always were criticisms with her casting as Katniss, though. She was either too old, too blonde or too healthy, but this trailer proves that Lawrence is actually just right as the Girl On Fire. I dare you to not tear up a little when she volunteers as a tribute in the place of her sister.
Katniss may be the most important aspect of this trailer, but what’s nice about it is it teases just about every exciting cast member to join the project. Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket? Check. Lenny Kravitz as Cinna? Check. Woody Harrelson as Haymitch. You betcha. Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley, and (a very disguised) Stanley Tucci all make appearances as well.
And let’s not forget the young cast as well. Liam Hemsworth and John Hutcherson impress as Gale and Peeta respectively, and there are enough flashes of Willow Shields as Katniss’s younger sister Prim and Amandla Stenberg as Rue to keep us satisfied. Though they don’t all get individual introductions, the 21 other tributes beyond Katniss, Peeta and Rue are shown in training montages and the final moments of the trailer, so fans shouldn’t feel slighted.
The trailer shows off a very dystopian, realistic feel to the film that is refreshingly different from the stylization of the “Harry Potter” or “The Twilight Saga” movies. When Peeta sees the other Districts and the Capitol for the first time, it is as much a visual shock to him as it is to the viewers, which clearly means director Gary Ross is doing something right.
What’s best about the trailer is that it teases the movie perfectly without giving everything away. It probably sums up the first 30 to 40 minutes of the film, but ends right when the Hunger Games actually begin. A solid start to what will — hopefully — turn out to be a solid franchise.
“The Hunger Games” tells the story of Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl from the poor District 12 section of the futuristic country Panem who volunteers herself into the annual Hunger Games to take the place of her sister. In the Hunger Games, she must fight to the death against 23 of her peers on national television to win fame and fortune to her District. But Katniss only thinks about her survival and returning to her family, and that’s what gives her the edge. “The Hunger Games” hits theaters on March 23, 2012.