There has been quite a delicious countdown to the Mockingjay Part 1 release and once again, Lionsgate has built up to the release of this official theatrical trailer with character posters and a countdown in the form of rebel propaganda and Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) taking centre stage as our leader, the Mockingjay.
I remember watching the first Hunger Games trailer and getting chills when I heard the countdown to the games beginning. In Catching Fire, the moment that stuck with me was Katniss screaming to drown out the sounds of Prim’s apparent torture during the Jabberjay attack. In Mockingjay Part 1, the trailer is centred on Katniss’ turmoil as she’s thrown into the role of Mockingjay, against her will, and against everything she ever wanted to happen. All Katniss ever wanted was to save Prim and keep Peeta alive, yet as President Snow (Donald Sutherland) informs her, “it’s the things we love most that destroy us”.
The trailer is one minute and 48 seconds of destruction, as Panem truly becomes a nation at war with itself. It depicts bomb sites, explosions, the underground militarism of District 13, and an army of rebels fighting for their freedom from the Capitol’s oppression. And at the centre of it all is a traumatised 17-year-old girl who is herself destroyed by the Games, the deaths they have caused, the deaths she has caused, and the loss of her district, and the people close to her.
By now, it should come as no surprise to know that I love this series, and I think the films do a fantastic job of creating, and perpetuating, the world of Panem as Suzanne Collins imagined it. For me, the characters are perfectly cast, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing more of Gale (Liam Hemsworth) in this film, as well as exploring the changing dynamics of Katniss’ relationship with the former victors, and Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) in particular.
This trailer does a great job of showing that Katniss has seen enough death, and she doesn’t want to be the cause of anymore. This change in Katniss is demonstrated by the most subtle shift imaginable as her trademark plait is, for the first time in three films, undone more than it is plaited. The plait is what Katniss wears to hunt, to survive, and in taking that away from her, Katniss’ newfound vulnerability is fully realised, which is a feeling experienced among the Hunger Games’ victors.
Panem is fighting for its freedom, but the previous victors have already done that, twice. For the victors, this is their retribution – a chance to fight back against the system that broke them, that killed the people they loved and took the ones they still love. When Katniss sees Peeta addressing the rebels from the Capitol, and Haymitch warns that he is their weapon in the same way Katniss belongs to the rebels, it becomes clear that this is so much more than a fight against a government; for the former tributes, the previous victors, this fight is a personal battle against a society that uses people as pawns to control their subjects, and their submission.
There were few words spoken in this trailer and the fact it is able to generate such an evocative, emotional response speaks volumes of the power of its cinematography. The Hunger Games films take place in a beautifully constructed world full of symbolism – the girl on fire, the boy with the bread, and the mockingjay as the leader – the sign of rebellion, and the sign of a fantastic film to come.