Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First look at 'The Hunger Games' a whole lotta nothing

By Sarah Sluis

When it was announced that MTV's Video Music Awards would feature a clip of The Hunger Games, I expected to see something meaty. Instead, we got a minute-long clip of the film's heroine Katniss running through the forest. There's some fire. She runs. She shoots something with her bow and arrow. That's it. Entertainment Weekly's photo preview of The Hunger Games was better, because at least it revealed some set design along with boring costuming. I'm not surprised that Lionsgate chose to save the best, most sci-fi elements for later on, but I am disappointed. Here are the top five things about The Hunger Games I'm most excited to see translated on film.

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1. The Capitol. This is where the sci-fi set design will really get to be shown off. Everything will be gleaming, modern, and totally foreign to Katniss. I hope they don't cut the scene of her being totally flummoxed by the Capitol's weird, elaborate showers. Anyone who's traveled can relate to being unable to figure out how to work odd showers.

2. The Avox. These are rebels who were captured and punished by the Capitol. Their tongues are cut out and they must must work as slaves. Although they don't look that different from regular people, they're one of the many things in the Capitol that takes Katniss by surprise.

3. Katniss' makeover. Everyone loves a good makeover film. Katniss' makeover once she reaches the Capitol promises to be The Princess Diaries on steroids. Not only does she receive a complete bodily transformation, she's also done out to the nines by her dressmaker, which leads me to...

4. The makeover team, Cinna and his dresses. All the people in the Capitol are incredibly superficial and go through extreme body modification as a form of fashion. We're talking crazy hair colors and the plastic surgery of the future. Katniss' makeover team includes Cinna, her stylist and dress designer. He looks a little out there himself, but he's also secretly rooting for Katniss. After dubbing her the "girl on fire," he outfits her in a dress that makes the people in the Capitol finally take note of those in the twelfth district, a grubby, poor area known for its coal.

5. The creatures. In the film's extreme survival games, the Gamemakers don't just throw twenty-four kids into a fake environment and let them fight to the death. They help them along, using frightening creatures to attack and kill unlucky tributes. They also use them to tweak the odds, helping out some and hurting others. In the first film, the creatures include killer wasps called "tracker jackers," mutant wolves that have the faces of the killed tributes, and the benevolent mockingjay, which can imitate human tunes.

I'm sure part of the reason Lionsgate hasn't shown these clips is because they require extensive CG work, but that didn't stop Super 8 from releasing an effects-laden teaser trailer last year. Hunger Games fans will have to be patient until next March, when they get to see the whole film beginning to end.

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