With its every casting decision agonized over in the darkest, animated GIF-ridden corners of the Internet, The Hunger Games obviously has a lot to prove to obsessive fans of Suzanne Collins’ dystopian sci-fi series—especially if Lionsgate wants this to be the next Twilight, and they don’t have any shirtless vampires to peddle. This first real trailer should go some way toward mollifying them, while also giving the neophytes a hint as to what all the fuss is about.
Essentially a miniature prologue to the real fireball action, this preview establishes the post-apocalyptic future world where Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen finds herself forced to battle her fellow teenagers to the death, which is totally unfair. It’s like a dystopic metaphor for the cutthroat job market faced by most young people in this uncaring economy—represented here by Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley, Donald Sutherland, and Stanley Tucci, who amuse themselves by creating bloodsport as crazy and convoluted as their wigs—while Lenny Kravitz drops by as Lawrence’s stylist, a stand-in for the unique pressures society places on young women. And then Woody Harrelson is there as, like, the American youth’s drunk, cynical uncle. (Okay, so the metaphor isn’t ironclad.)
Anyway, if there’s one aspect of The Hunger Games the trailer gives short shrift to, it’s the love triangle between Lawrence and her fellow contestants—though Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson do get to exchange a few brooding and meaningful glances with her that hint at the loin-stirring to come. Will it be enough? Judging by today's growing proliferation of YouTube “reaction” videos like this one, probably.