A far cry from all the deeply serious Oscar contenders to be released this holiday, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part One” certainly promises to be one of the season’s biggest films. It’s the third “Hunger Games” film so far, and the first part of the two-fisted “Mockingjay” entry, both to be directed by Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend,” “Constantine”). It’s no wonder they keep making sequels to these movies: “The Hunger Games” franchise has grossed over $458 million worldwide, and proven an apt showcase for its two lead performers (Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson) in sturdy action hero roles that are a radical departure from the more character-based work they are usually associated with. For the legions of “Hunger Games” die-hards, the marketing blitzkrieg is officially underway, with another clip from the film along with a rather nifty sort-of television spot.
The clip sees Lawrence’s heroine Katniss looking on, teary-eyed, at a broadcasted interview of her old friend Peeta (Hutcherson) while Liam Hemsworth’s Gale glowers in the corner. The tone of the clip seems turgid – in keeping with the preferred operating mode of these young adult fantasy adventures – but perhaps we’d need to see it in the context of the film for it to have appropriate emotional heft. Meanwhile, the stars, introducing the clip on Good Morning America – Lawrence, Hutcherson and Hemsworth – appear to be having a ball. “I’m gonna be honest with you, I didn’t even know there was a clip,” quips Lawrence at one point. Oh, Jennifer. Apparently, “Mockingjay Pt. 2” is already in the bag (with a release date set for November 20th, 2015) and the stars also get to dish on their roles in upcoming films, including Lawrence’s adorable/amazing butchering of her character’s last name in David O. Russell’s upcoming comedy “Joy”.
We also have an eerie new T.V. ad for the film: one that fools you into thinking you’re watching a car commercial before something majorly creepy happens. It seems as though the “Hunger Games” marketing campaign is more canny and, dare we say, sophisticated than it used to be – although this writer is not a particular fan of the films themselves, it’s nice to see the filmmakers embracing the book’s distressing dystopian elements in a more grown-up way through the advertising. [THR]