Have you been good? Obedient? Loyal to your country since the last time we were graced with a Hunger Games film? Well if you haven’t, it’s probably for the best that you keep your mouth shut, for Panem’s dear, dour President Snow (Donald Sutherland) has an important announcement for his many citizens: be good to Panem, keep your head down and don’t ask questions, and Panem will be good to you just the same. The first teaser for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 has arrived, and if there’s anything to take away from it, it’s to watch your back at all times if you live anywhere within the 12 Districts … and maybe pray a little bit for Peeta Mellark.
It’s more of a not-so veiled threat to Panem’s revolutionaries than a presidential address, and if Snow’s faux friendly “I’m a cool leader, come hang out with me, KATNISS” speech didn’t ring any red hot alarm bells right away, the sight of poor little Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) standing calmly at his side might be a suggestion. For those who saw The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, you might recall that at the end of the film, our dashing male lead was separated from Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) — who was on her way to the District 13 headquarters of the new rebellion — and kidnapped and taken to the Capitol. It seems as if he’s found/been forced into a new role as the right hand man of the President — or at least as a figure Snow can roll out for TV appearances to make the presidency look like it’s hip with the young people. See, we’re hanging out with a Hunger Games winner! Please don’t complain about how little food you’re eating.
The entire teaser is a slick little propaganda film that holds nothing back in terms of what the Capitol now wants from its 12 Districts: complete obedience, zero questions, dutiful work and smiles on all faces. Just be grateful you’re not all dead already, right? “If you resist the system, you starve yourself. If you fight against it, it is you who will bleed,” Snow quips in the video, as he sits on an enormous white throne, in an all white suit, in an all white room, while Peeta makes “call the police” eyes.
And like any good propaganda film from a maniacal ruler, this one carefully glosses over the real problems at play while throwing out after school special keywords about keeping things “peaceful;” except in Panem, peaceful means effectively starving while sending your children off to die once a year for the amusement of the wealthy. Panem today, Panem tomorrow, Panem forever.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 is in theaters November 21st.