Jesus. This morning on Good Morning America, Lionsgate premiered its first trailer for The Hunger Games, the highly anticipated adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ enormously beloved novel, and it did not disappoint. I don’t care if you thumb your nose at YA literature in general, if you don’t know your Mockingjay from your President Snow, and if you’re fed up with all of EW’s panting over Collins’ trilogy. Surely even the most determined haters felt their pulse quicken in that final countdown, before 24 children of Panem set off to fight to the death in front of television cameras. 3. 2. 1! I can’t think of a more brilliant way to end the trailer to director Gary Ross’ movie than watching a terrified Katniss and Peeta, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, racing for their backpacks and the protection of the woods. Watch it below:
What else made me giddy with anticipation? Hearing the off-kilter trill of Elizabeth Banks’ voice as Effie Trinket. She was unrecognizable beneath all that garish makeup and her Capitol get-up looked like a blood splotch on the dreary, terrified District 12 crowd at the Reaping. The Reaping! I wonder if those who still wring their hands over Lawrence’s casting are soothed once and for all after hearing her scream like a cornered cat “I volunteer! I volunteer!” Or how about the thrill of seeing the glorious Stanley Tucci in that inky blue black ponytail? Or hearing Lenny Kravitz’s Cinna’s soothing bass: “I’m here to help you make an impression.”
There were so many delights for fans of the trilogy to soak in. Tiny Rue peeking behind the corner. The menacing coil of Seneca Crane’s beard. (Hey, Wes Bentley!) Katniss’ girlish twirl on stage and the way Lawrence’s face drooped at the end. I remain nervous about Woody Harrelson’s hair but his voice – “make sure they remember you” – is thick with all the urgency and assumed glibness I wanted from my big screen Haymitch.
But the countdown. The countdown kills me. Hunger Games fans: What do you think of the trailer? And for those either unimpressed by the hype or unfamiliar with the trilogy, did this trailer make a believer out of you?