It took nearly twelve hours and roughly three hundred viewings, but we’re finally at a point where we can discuss the “Mockingjay” trailer in a calm, thoughtful, analytical manner that does not involve a series of high-pitched unintelligible squeals — which means that it’s time to take a more in-depth look at this first peek at the burgeoning revolution being born in District 13.
It’s only one minute long, but this trailer is rife with totally recognizable moments from the book, plus glimpses of a couple scenes with which the filmmakers took creative license. From start to finish, here’s our play-by-play of everything you just saw.
WARNING: Book spoilers ahead.
1. Get an eyeful of District 13.
Much of “Mockingjay” takes place in District 13, a secret, separate, underground society where an uprising against the Capitol is in the works. This desolate industrial landscape is most likely the aboveground portion of the District, to which people can only be transported by hovercraft.
(Update: We’re aware certain fans believe this cannot possibly be District 13, since in the books, District 13 is a wasteland of bombed-out nothingness. However, this image in the trailer immediately precedes a clip of known District 13 residents having an underground chat, as though it were an establishing shot for their location. Plus, taking a little creative license with the look of the district would make the action much more intense when it comes time for the Capitol to attack.)
2. The Revolution starts here.
Deep in their underground District 13 lair, Plutarch Heavensbee and Quarter Quell survivor Beetee are trying to convince District leader Alma Coin that Katniss must be the face of their revolution. The screen behind Beetee is probably the control panel from whence he’ll break into the Capitol’s transmissions to deliver a message: THE MOCKINGJAY LIVES.
3. You’ll see a lot of this silver Coin.
The District 13 President is eager to overthrow the Capitol and skeptical of Katniss’s ability to help after the trauma of the Hunger Games. Most of her screen time will probably be spent making this lemon-sucking face.
4. The “Mockingjay” movie forecast calls for more Snow.
One of the big differences between the source material and the screen adaptation: we don’t have to stick exclusively to Katniss’s first-person perspective, which means moments like this one. In the books, Katniss discovers the Mockingjay symbol painted on walls and stamped into loaves of special revolutionary bread — and President Snow’s displeasure is conveyed mostly through the symbolic dropping of Snow’s evil roses in locations where Katniss can find them. But on the big screen, we get a Mockingjay crop circle and a behind-the-scenes peek at Snow’s efforts to quash the revolution.
5. The Revolution will be televised.
Revolutionaries in the rain? Peacekeepers descending like Stormtroopers down an interior staircase? A confrontation in the forest with warriors leaping up trees? These aren’t familiar scenes, but they might be a great solution to one of the challenges of “Mockingjay’s” plot: in the book, a lot of the action is happening elsewhere, with Katniss trapped in District 13 and learning about the fighting in distant districts only through secondhand reports. Filming it firsthand would be a great way of injecting drama into the otherwise-quiet stretch of storyline where our conflicted and traumatized heroine has yet to accept her destiny.
6. The hospital walkthrough.
If you’ve read the books, you’ll recognize this scene as a pivotal moment for Katniss: her visit to a makeshift hospital in District 8, where she and a team of documentary/propaganda filmmakers witness the devastation caused by the Capitol’s bombs.
7. Favorite character alert!
You’ve gotta love this glory shot of director Cressida, and her fabulous tattooed head.
8. The Mockingjay is born.
In a most faithfully-adapted moment from the books, Katniss finally realizes the depth and horror of the human suffering that occurred at the hands of the Capitol… and becomes the face of the revolution.
9. And finally, a hint about where it all ends.
At first, this split-second shot of a huge explosion looks like it’s just another random moment of violence intercut with other fighting scenes. But on second viewing, we think it might be a hint as to where the filmmakers will split “Mockingjay” to accommodate its two-film adaptation. In this scene, a figure ducks for cover as four giant cylindrical towers disappear behind a cloud of dust.
The figure looks like Gale, and the towers look like the ones seen in that opening overhead shot from the trailer, making this a likely sneak peek at the scene where the Capitol bombs District 13 — which certain fans have suggested could be a great cliffhanger with which to conclude the movie. But now that we’ve seen it teased in this trailer, it seems more likely that this scene will be an earlier, climactic moment, with a different dramatic moment happening just before the cut. Our guess: With the District 13 bombing off the table, the last thing you’ll see in “Mockingjay, Part 1″ is a brainwashed Peeta trying to choke Katniss to death.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″ opens in theaters on November 21.