Ah, the Hunger Games. Jennifer Lawrence wowed us as Mystique in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but now she's gone back to the franchise that made her a household name and the day we've all been waiting for has finally arrived. No, it's not the film release. Instead, the first teaser trailer of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 has been released and it is beyond epic. Of course, our expectations were pretty high considering the amazing viral campaign for Mockingjay which included some paranoia-inducing ads. Despite the fact that the Hunger Games has given us no indication that it can disappoint high expectations thus far, I still felt that much was lacking from the trailer.
Don't get me wrong. The trailer was great at showing the high stakes against which the rebellion has to fight if they hope to succeed in their war against the Capitol. It used the simplest of scenes to great effect and left us all on the edge of our seats. However, I'm pretty sure we all knew going into this that the stakes had never been higher in Mockingjay Part 1. We didn't need most of the trailer to be devoted to telling us that. President Snow communicated that more effectively in a minutelong ad featuring a brainwashed Peeta than the teaser trailer did.
Honestly, there were some things that really should have made it into the trailer for me to be completely satisfied.
1. More Jennifer Lawrence
All right, maybe I'm speaking entirely as a person who first heard of the Hunger Games when the movie was coming out, but the biggest draw outside of the storyline itself is headlining star Jennifer Lawrence. J. Law appears in about 20 seconds of the trailer altogether and, last time I checked, Katniss Everdeen was the main character. I get that they wanted to show us how hopeless things had become before they showed us any scenes of Katniss fighting to overcome her own demons and the political demons that are driving her, but, come on. Twenty seconds of a full minute? Not cool.
2. Two Additional Minutes
The trailer used every single second it had to great effect, but I would have been happier if this had been a full and official trailer. You know, one that was at least two minutes long. I would have loved to see the rebellion from all sides; maybe it would even have been better if they had intercut the images of the war with the propaganda commercials from the Capitol that have made up Mockingjay's promotion so far. It would have made for a chilling contrast.
3. Peeta Mellark
Yes, I know that Peeta is currently in the Capitol's hands, but, come on. If they can use him in the Capitol propaganda ads then they can use him in the trailer. We got to see a brief glimpse of Gale and we got to see a little bit of Katniss, but no Peeta in this trailer? Really? Really, Lionsgate?
4. A Human Element
Part of what made the Hunger Games so horrifying — aside from the fact that they were making children fight to the death for sport — was the fact that we were able to identify so closely with all of them. Sure, Katniss was above all, but that was because we got to see her life and relationships before she volunteered as Tribute. What the trailer was most lacking was the human element that pushed the stakes from high to downright atrocious. Sure, we got to see glimpses of beloved characters and haunted faces as Katniss walked by, but they could have spared some time to close-up on those people and give the casual viewing audience a couple of seconds to identify with them.
Check out the trailer below.
Image: Getty Images; Lionsgate; YouTube