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If you don't know the name Madge Undersee by now, then you probably never will. Or at least, that's the first message you can take away from the newest trailer for the upcoming adaptation of The Hunger Games, which instigated a minor oh-that's-different non-controversy among Games fanatics by implying that the film will decisively alter a small but pivotal part of the story: the origin of Katniss Everdeen's mockingjay pin. In Suzanne Collins' novel, Katniss receives her soon-to-be-iconic token from her old schoolmate, Madge. But the new trailer begins with Katniss apparently introducing the pin to her younger sister, Prim. ''You wanna see what I got you today?'' she says. ''It's a mockingjay pin. And as long as you have it, nothing bad will happen to you. I promise.'' Prim — perhaps sensing that her big sister will be needing lots of defensive measures in the near future — seems to insist that Katniss hold onto the pin. (There's a working theory in our comment boards that the pin may be an Everdeen family heirloom.)
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By this point, we're all familiar with the next part of the trailer. Effie calls out Prim's name. Katniss volunteers to take her place. Liam Hemsworth calmly passes time until Catching Fire. But then things start getting interesting. While Katniss explains the bad odds of returning from the Hunger Games alive, we see an extended glimpse of Cato, the blood-crazy tribute from District 2 who becomes one of Katniss' primary antagonists. Cato is played by Alexander Ludwig, who looks like the satanic reincarnation of Billy Zabka. Swords are so awesome.
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It's silly to gripe about a movie that hasn't come out yet, but if there's one aspect of the Games adaptation that I've been skeptical about, it's the portrayal of District 12. On the page, the Everdeens' town sounded like a miserable mountain gulag; on screen, it looks a comparatively decadent Amish mud farm. But to judge by this shot, the film might have nailed one of the trickiest parts of the book — the transformation of Katniss from an everygal huntress into a glamour icon.
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Hey, look, they've finished more digital effects and can start showing us more of the Capitol! After the the last trailer, I posited the notion that the Utopian metropolis bore a passing resemblance to Washington, D.C., but the city actually appears to be bordered by a large mountain range and a body of water. (There's even a brief, brief glimpse of what appears to be a dam.) Sort of looks like someone packed up San Francisco and moved it to the Rockies. Actually, it sort of looks a little bit like Caprica City. Remember Caprica? That was a thing!
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Lionsgate has been notoriously stingy about revealing any shots from inside the Arena. Good for them! If only all trailers had the same let's-not-give-everything-away philosophy. Still, fans can cherish this super-quick shot of a silhouetted archer in a darkened forest. At first, I thought the archer was supposed to be Katniss, but upon closer examination, I'm decidedly less sure.
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Caesar Flickerman, what a smoothy! After a star-making interview, he sends Katniss off with a cheerful exhortation — "And try you will!" — right before he kisses her hand. Of course, what he's really saying is, "Good luck killing everybody!" Start the debate: Is Flickerman's hair really "powder blue," as Suzanne Collins writes in the book? It looks more like Persian blue to me. Say, did you know that Wikipedia has pages that show different shades of every color? There goes your afternoon.
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After Katniss' interview, we see that old cad Caesar interviewing her district-mate and soon-to-be-opponent Peeta. Readers of Hunger Games know that Peeta drops a bombshell in this particular interview, and Caesar looks like he's loving it.
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A memorable shot of the District 12 tributes, who look like they're heading down to show off their skills alongside their other Tributes. One of the things that I enjoyed most about the book was that, at first, Katniss seems immensely more prepared for the horrors of the Hunger Games than Peeta, who seems perpetually on the verge of curling up into a ball and crying into his arms that smell like bread.
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Question: If a burning tree falls in a forest, does anyone hear it?
Answer: For god's sakes, help me, I'm on fire!!!!!
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And so we end where we began — with that mischievous little mockingjay pin. Cinna places the mockingjay inside of Katniss' jacket, just over her heart. What do you think of the new trailer? Are you intrigued by the additional glances of Capitol life? Curious about why we still haven't seen much of Haymitch? And are you sad to hear that Madge has apparently gone the way of Peeves the Poltergeist?