Say whatever you like about the first two films in the “Hunger Games” series, but it is clear from the final trailer for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” that they are not just making the same film again this time.
It is true that the first two movies are very similar, and being built around the Games themselves, there's a sort of rigid handcuffed shape to the two movies. You have a pretty good idea how the second one's going to play after you see the first one.
This time out, though, it looks like a full-blown war movie, and whatever structure the first two films shared, this one starts from the end of that second film's cliffhanger, and everything's changed for Katniss. The destruction of her home District, the loss of Peeta, the way President Snow's ramped up the propaganda campaign… all of looks to be pushing Katniss way past her breaking point, and the trailer's final snarled line of defiance is pretty great.
It's going to be strange sitting in a theater and watching Philip Seymour Hoffman's final performance play out. When I spoke with Francis Lawrence at an event for the second film, just before it came out, I was fascinated with the way Hoffman's character in the second film is a false face all the way through, and we only really meet his character in the last few moments of the movie. Lawrence was excited about the way that worked, and really thrilled with the reveal that was still in store for audiences when they saw what he did in “Mockingjay.”
Based on the way the films have already taken liberties with the books, I would imagine that from this point on, we're in for a pretty radically refigured “Mockingjay” overall, and it's nice that the hardcore fans of the books still have a lot of surprises ahead, as do the rest of us.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” is in theaters November 21st.