Nov 162011

For those of you who have ignored the world of YA literature since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out a few years ago, let me clue you in to something wonderful you may have missed: The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins. It’s a fantastic read, an emotional sucker-punch with a fist full of car keys that left me speechless with its honesty and immediacy. Very quickly after I started — within the first 25 pages, I’d say — it made the list of my favorite books. But there’s another reason I decided to give Collins’ work a plug today: Lionsgate is making a movie, and if the new full-length trailer is any indication, it looks *freaking awesome*.

(More after the break. Much more.)

In case you don’t know, let me give you a rundown of the series’ plot. A modern take on the Theseus myth, The Hunger Games tells the tale of Katniss Everdeen, a teenage girl in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic America who volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in a televised battle to the death. Every year, the Twelve Districts of Panem each send one boy and one girl to The Capitol to participate, and only one of these 24 “tributes” comes out of the arena alive. The games, recorded reality-TV-style, are mandatory viewing, so that every citizen of Panem can watch these children kill one another, a chilling reminder of the power that the cruel and imperious government holds over the districts. In the first novel, Katniss, who poaches wildlife in the forest to support her family, puts her skills as a hunter and tracker to the ultimate test. But can she play her part in this grotesque entertainment effectively enough to catch the eye of the viewing public? And what will happen when the game-makers change the rules on her?

Here’s the trailer, which debuted yesterday:

All told, I’d say the film looks like a home run. I was a little worried at first about Dawson’s Casting, since most of the main characters are in their mid-to-late teens, but the actors who the filmmakers chose are only marginally older than the characters they portray, and do a pretty good job of capturing the spirit of what’s written. The visuals are spot-on, from the wilderness and urban wastes of District 12 to the slick, brightly colored Capitol, just as Collins described them in the book.

We also get to see a bit of the supporting cast, which includes Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, and — Lenny Kravitz?! Okay, I was a little worried about that one, but he, too, fits his character pretty well. Banks and Sutherland in particular are given some time to shine in the trailer, and it looks like they’ve nailed their characterizations as well.

Yes, folks, come March 23, I will be in the theater, seeing this movie. It looks like it’s going to be pretty amazing.

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