#DistrictVoices – Adding Insult to Peeta Injury

The Capitol has gone too far in its attempts to pacify the nation with its vile propaganda! We’ve already witnessed a glimpse at the horrible toll the Capitol and President Snow’s regime has taken on Peeta this week through secretly released footage. And then yesterday comes the newest District Voices video – filmed to “HONOR PEETA MELLARK” by showing us how to bake a family recipe?!?! Only we know it was filled with Capitol lies!

And throughout the video, the lies that our friends at Feast of Fiction are forced to say, no doubt at the pain of their own death (and probably the death of their families) that Peeta Mellark is “now special counsel to President Snow.” Uh, from the latest footage, it’s quite obvious that Peeta is getting anything but special treatment. Did you think we would miss the bruising, his expression, the tear? This is not how any “special counsel” is treated. The gig is up – don’t insult our intelligence this way, Capitol propagandists.

It’s clear that Feast of Fiction were coerced into saying these words. Before Movie!Gale goes and gets all judgy about it with his “I’d rather die than say what he said” speech, he should take a look at the image below. I hope Jimmy Wong is in a safe place right now, because we cheered at his subtle show of support to the Mockingjay. Stay strong, friend. We know you’re in a very difficult situation.

Mockingjay flour

YESSSSS!

 

Can you imagine if they had been forced to make cheesebuns? NO NO NO NO.

JJ

Mockingjay Spots and PEETAAAAA Feels

WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS!

For months and months, we waited, practically begging and pleading for some Mockingjay news. This week, we have Mockingjay news in droves. So much that we’re totally. freakin’. out as we try to take it in all at once, but in a good way!

We know some people don’t want the extra footage and the spoilery clips and all, but we do. OH, WE DO. So imagine our sheer, boundless joy when not one but two TV spots featuring featuring new footage hit the interwebz.

OBSERVE.

We’re not gonna lie– We probably liked these more TV spots more than we liked the trailer. Yes, they’re shorter, but they also pack way more punch. The trailer had a lot of exposition shots to set up the movie. With that over with, the TV spots had room for more tearjerker moments, more action, a more feverish sense of war all around.

Basically, it all comes down to one thing… PEETA FEELS. Both of them left us having a panicked Katniss moment.
tumblr_m88s25G4iv1r2yxhto1_250

NO, PEETA. NO, WE ARE NOT OKAY. WE WILL NEVER BE OKAY AGAIN.

Also, we need a little sound effect of Katniss screaming “PEETAAAAA!” for this post more than we’ve ever needed anything.

Katniss watching in horror as Peeta speaks out against war, the bruises clear on his face despite all the makeup (and we assume this is when he warns Katniss about the bombs). Our first good look at Peeta saved from the Capitol, tears in his eyes and a CT scan in the background (and we’re almost positive this is about 5 seconds before a choking). The brilliant reminder/tagline that “THEIR FREEDOM BEGINS WITH HIS.”

tumblr_lur4w0qjB31qzgc80o1_500

We can barely handle it! We worry more about these fictional characters than we do some actual people and we’re pretty certain that’s not healthy behavior. And on top of that, these TV spots are featuring all the epic quotage:

“Whoever you are, whatever it is you’re doing, you are going to want to witness this.”

“Everyone has a choice, Katniss. And I’d rather die than say what he just said.”

“When you love somebody, you don’t leave them behind.”

“Everyone’s either going to want to kiss you, kill you, or be you.”

“What have they done to you?”

It seems like everyone has at least one really terrific line here. We never doubted Danny Strong as his track record speaks for itself, but now we kinda want him to be our new best friend. Because without copying things word-for-word from the book, he absolutely captures its essence from what we’ve seen so far.

Though we must ask– if there were a richter scale for asshole behavior, how far are we pushing Gale here? We all know that his serious hatred of the Capitol, but releasing such a heavy-handed quote in promos suggesting that Gale thinks Peeta should have died instead of spoke publicly to not be murdered shows us that audiences will probably be given some reasons to dislike Gale pretty early in the overall Mockingjay story arc. We just hope its a more subtle change, because he is obsessed with war and defeating the entire Capitol ideology that it turns out to be his downfall in many ways, it’s seen more through his actions in the last book than from him being like “GRRRRRR! I’M A FIERY RAGEBALL OF LOATHING!”

Naturally, we’re hoping that somehow TV spots featuring new goodies are also released by Mazda and Whole Foods, the other major American sponsors. After all these two TV spots we have now were originally supposed to be spread out more, as the Samsung one says TICKETS ON SALE NOW and that’s not til next Wednesday. Our theory is that they’re trying to distract everyone from the horrendously disappointing soundtrack list.

But That’s A Different Post For A Different Day,

The Girl With The Pearl

Those Highly Scripted District Voices

Today Lionsgate announced a partnership with Google for a 5 episode series on YouTube. New videos focusing on different districts will debut daily through Friday. The videos star real YouTubers playing the roles of district citizens.

Today’s video comes from District 8 and features ThreadBanger.

With its fashion focus, this video reminds us a lot of Capitol Couture. It’s a cool extra bit of world-building and envisions more of what Capitol propaganda looks like. The use of those pyramids in the headpiece and on the dress – I can get behind that visually. The video’s futuristic, creepy vibe works. You can tell it’s meticulously scripted by the Capitol.

district 8 voicesIt’s also another slick viral marketing move that exposes Mockingjay Part 1 to people outside of the core Hunger Games fanbase. These videos are posted on the YouTuber’s own channels, exposing more people to the world of Panem. ThreadBanger has over 500,000 subscribers, which gives Mockingjay Part 1 solid additional exposure.

Here’s the full week’s schedule from Lionsgate:

Monday, October 20 – District 8:  Rob Czar & Corinne Leigh, co-helmers of the ‘Threadbanger’ YouTube channel, show how to best make use of excess Peacekeeper armor.

Tuesday, October 21 – District 2: Shane Fazen, of the ‘fightTIPS’ YouTube channel, showcases the training and techniques required to be a Peacekeeper in Panem.

Wednesday, October 22 – District 5: Derek Muller, known for the mind-blowing experiments and scientific discussions on his YouTube channel ‘Veritasium’, demonstrates new ways in which the Capitol may generate its electricity in the future.

Thursday, October 23 – District 9: Jimmy Wong & Ashley Adams, best known for their ‘Feast of Fiction’ YouTube channel, demonstrate baking techniques from Panem’s Grain District.

Friday, October 24 – District 6: iJustine’s Justine Ezarik, gives a glimpse at the driving force that proudly supports the transportation needs of Panem’s vaunted Peacekeepers.

I’m not familiar with any of these YouTube channels so these will all be a big surprise for me. I hope they’re allowed to pull in a bit more about Peeta and Johanna in later videos (BAKING anyone?). The world-building opportunity here is really cool, but it resonates even more when you pull in our favorite characters.

Let those (highly scripted and controlled) voices be heard!

JJ

The Courage of One… In Liquid Form

Once upon a time, 16-year-old me had typical teen job working concessions at a local arena. It did have its upside because I was technically in attendance at every concert there and also got to watch lots of hockey fights, but ANYWAY…

One very memorable concert we had was headlined by Nelly. Why, you ask? Because Nelly had his own special beverage that we were required to sell at the show.

I remember our supervisor, who was probably 21 and kinda old-ish in my eyes at the time, trying to ignore everyone’s snickering and control his voice as his radioed our manager to ask “So… Catherine… how much are we charging for the… Pimp Juice?”

Obviously, courage is found in your local organics market!

Obviously, courage is found in your local organics market!

This is how I imagine Whole Foods workers feel about the Mockingjay themed Courage of One juice.

Sure, it’s way less ludicrous than Pimp Juice (which seemingly received its own parody in Tropic Thunder with the fictional “Booty Sweat” energy drink), but it’s still odd. Not just because it’s called “Courage of One” juice, though we refute that whole tagline for pretty obvious reasons, but because it’s a juice based off of Mockingjay. And there’s nooooo good names for a Mockingjay juice. Because Mockingjay doeesn’t ave anything to do with juice and it’s kinda silly! It’s okay to giggle at it. REALLY!

Yes, selling that title IS indeed a challenge!

Yes, selling that title IS indeed a challenge!

But if food is the way they’re sponsoring these films, we’re going to take Whole Foods over Doritos and the various candy companies involved. First, because using something delicious yet extremely unhealthy and fattening to advertise a film in which a major issue is starvation just seems twisted and cruel. Second, because Whole Foods is the ONLY sponsor this time around who has any intentions to use their partnership with Mockingjay to fight back against poverty.

Whole Foods is home to the Whole Planet Foundation. Every time you buy a ridiculously named juice, a dollar of your money goes to this foundation, which provides loans to low-income entrepeneurs both in the US and abroad to start their own businesses and better their local economy.

Too embarrassed to go into a Whole Foods, grab a Courage of One juice, and try to look into the cashier’s eyes and feel their judgement as you pay? We are too. Thankfully, you can also go to the Whole Planet Foundation’s Courage of One page. There, you can make a donation, design a t-shirt, upload photos, watch videos, write essays, etc– and oh, be entered for a chance to win Mockingjay premiere tickets for every one of these! It’s a symbiotic relationship, y’all!

Is it a perfect campaign? The COURAGE OF ONE JUICE campaign? I just… *gigglesnort* Probably not? But are you really getting more satisfaction out of scanning labels for a few graphics and 5-second videos?

Though This Juice Could Be Made From Wheatgrass Or Something Equally Awful…
The Girl With The Pearl

The Lumineers and The Hanging Tree

I like hanging out under rocks lately, especially where it comes to Mockingjay Part 1. And now you’re all scratching your heads, and wondering what is wrong with me. Welp, dear readers, I just want to watch the movie at this point, and everything else, trailers, interviews, it’s all just fodder, The_Luimneers509and distractions. Luckily on occasion something good passes under my nose, or my rock, that makes my ears perk up and like my trusty, sleep depriving kitty. In this weeks case it’s the news that The Lumineers, the old school, folky, Americana based band out of Colorado, are contributing to the score on Mockingjay Part 1.

I like the Lumineers, they’re one of the few bands that I’m pretty sure I don’t butcher when I sing along with them in the car, when they’re played on my local alternative rock station. The melodies are catchy, the singing is airy, and harmonious, and the instrumentation is soulful as well as heartwarming. Therefore when I say the following, I only liked one song off the Catching Fire Motion Picture Soundtrack– and that song was Gale Song, I’m not mincing words. I’m happy The Lumineers are contributing to the score for Mockingjay Part 1, I’m more glad that they’re contributing to the section of the score where their folk roots styling expertise will be optimally utilized, in other words they’re perfect collaborators on the actualization of The Hanging Tree. James Newton Howard however is no slouch where it comes to musical knowledge, his scores are a testament to that– however his ability to possibly say “hey, maybe these guys can help me out?!” speaks volumes to me about his adherence to keeping the quality of the score in mind, rather than just getting it done.

Now to the hard-hitting stuff– er, yeah— with the news that The Lumineers are back, there was also the tid bit that Jennifer Lawrence will be singing a capella, then be joined by Mockingjays, then be joined by a swell of Rebels, then an invisible boys choir, then a crashing orchestra. Um, well– I still don’t think it’ll be Jennifer Lawrence’s voice we’ll be hearing.

*tiptoes away*

Them there Eyes

A Powerful Return to District 12

Wednesday was a very emotional day for Hunger Games fans. First we went through the turmoil of being very clearly played with in the game to #UnlockMockingjay and all we could do was joke tweet our way through it. Fortunately though, by the time 7pm ET neared the unlocking % was going up so much quicker than it had the past few hours and then….

THE CLIP. A ONE MINUTE CLIP. LONGER THAN THE TEASER TRAILER IF YOU TAKE OUT THE GREEN BAND TIME.

This clip actually got us much more emotionally engaged than the teaser trailer. Probably because it totally is more engaging. And very devastating as we walk with Katniss through her destroyed district.

Where'd you come from Gale? But you're supposed to be there so we like it.

Where’d you come from Gale? But you’re supposed to be there so we like it.

But first, it starts similarly from the teaser, with voiceovers from Plutarch and Coin as Boggs leads Katniss to a hovercraft. It looks like there’s a cut because Gale seems to magically appear behind her when she’s getting on the hovercraft and then Boggs stays behind.

Then the hovercraft flies through a very green forest back to District 12.

Like Katniss, WE WERE NOT PREPARED FOR THIS.

Plutarch was right, the impact of seeing what the Capitol did to District 12 is so very powerful.

As Katniss walks through the district, there are visual cues to remind of us of the places we know from Catching Fire. When placed side by side, the effect is appropriately horrific.

cf vs mj preview

 

And THEN you notice the charred bodies. This may be PG-13, but thankfully, Francis Lawrence doesn’t seem to be sanitizing anything he doesn’t have to.

katniss dadBy the time Katniss gets to her house in the Victor’s Village, it’s a relief to see her donning the familiar leather jacket and game bag. The shot of her picking up her father’s picture makes our heart hurt but also glad that she at least can take this back with her. She needs some comfort, some familiarity to get through this awful “walk.”

But all of that is again shattered when she finds the fresh white rose. We’ve seen that scene before, but her expression will always haunt us.

In all of these scenes, Jennifer Lawrence is just nailing it. Reminding us that we are lucky lucky fans to have her playing Katniss. Yes, we are.

I think we’ll buy those tickets on the 29th.

JJ

#UnlockMockingjay Madness

So remember when we posted on Tuesday about the Mockingjay Mosaic campaign and how we felt better about something like that than social media campaigns that make fans work toward media the studio was ultimately going to give fans anyway?

Things got WAY uncomfortable about 18 hours later when Lionsgate released a social media campaign exactly matching that criteria. Whoops! WE HAD NO IDEA, LG! WE’RE NOT MIND READERS! WE SWEAR!

First came the bait! Retweet #UnlockMockingjay enough and you’ll get this shiny new preview!

proxy

And oh man, did we want that shiny new preview. WANT!

Through the act of being wicked smaht (as we like to say in New England), someone somewhere– we honestly don’t know who because it was already common knowledge by the time we tuned in– realized that the algorithm involved would require 50k tweets to unlock the video. The hashtag challenge launched at 12pm EST. By the time I finished my lunch around 1pm EST, the buzz was firmly built, the fan tweets were rolling out, and the tweet-o-meter thingamabob was already at 60%.

Smooooooth sailing, right? WRONG!

4pm rolls around and it feels like victory (or as much victory as you can get out of a Wednesday afternoon.) WORK DAY DONE! COMFY SWEATPANTS ON! MOCKINGJAY-O-METER… BACK DOWN TO 44% PERCENT?

Apparently, at some point in there, Lionsgate remembered that Hunger Games fans are ravenous beasts who considered new Mockingjay previews their very lifeblood. 50k tweets probably took about 2 hours to complete and obviously, they were hoping NOT to release things that early. The re-calibration experts in the fandom looked into it and realized the new magic number was 360k tweets.

And that is when the hilarious, quote-filled fandom madness really took off, thanks to the brilliance of Jabberjays.net turning it into a bit of a game:

At a couple points, the widget jumped. Word on the streets of Twitter was that we only needed 261.5k tweets, then 260k. Baffled by the odd numbers but still wanting our Mockingjay preview, things started to get real cray cray:

Throughout this, we get a couple of pre-teaser teasers in the form of new stills. But it just wasn’t enough to satiated the NEEEEEED! Seriously. We make those zombies on The Walking Dead look tame. The frustration kicked in:

Even though we certainly felt that frustration, we were also starting to feel a little bad. Because this “unlocking” campaign despite its problems and the later-realized factoid that it was rigged to release at 7pm no matter how many tweets, we realized we were having a lot of fun. Not that Lionsgate necessarily planned it would turn into a quote-ridden meme fest, but other fans and fansites turned it into a really witty game and we really enjoyed getting involved.

Not to pat this fandom on the collective back too much, but WOW, WE ARE CLEVER AND HILARIOUS AND WONDERFUL! And #UnlockMockingjay kinda ended up bringing out the best in us.

Of course, we also got this spectacular sneak peek out of it:

But that deserves its own post, don’t you think?

It Was A Pleasure Being Ridiculous With You,
The Girl With The Pearl

Mockingjay Gets Self(ie)ish

As a collective fandom, it turns out that we like to do things BIG.

1_0_0

A little mosaic sampler action!

Premiere turnouts, trailer views, book re-reads, merchandising, fan fiction obsessing.. whatever! We want it all in massive numbers and full force. It’s part of sharing the love, right?

So it should be no real surprise that the German film distributor for The Hunger Games (or Die Tribute Von Panem, as it’s known in that neck of the woods) wants to break a world record. For what, you ask? THE MOST GIANT COLLECTION OF FAN SELFIES EVER… formed into a Mockingjay poster.

Okay, maybe not just selfies. You can submit an actual photo taken by someone else (because when is that selfie angle EVER actually flattering?!) or a selfie over at the Mockingjay Mosaic website and be turned into part of a giant poster!

Is it the most daring, brilliant concept ever? No. But here’s why we’re liking it: In the first bit of publicity we’ve really noticed from an international distributor working alongside Lionsgate, we’re feeling the fan appreciation. The mosaic poster is the first notable effort in the Mockingjay campaign (so far) to have fans showcased as part of the overall experience. Sure, the OLTM app allowed you to make Mockingjay part of your life, but it didn’t make your life part of the Mockingjay campaign.
…Does that make sense? Can you see the forest through the trees? Are you hearing what I’m not saying to you?!

Also, it looks WAY COOLER spelled "Mosiak"

Also, it looks WAY COOLER spelled “Mosiak”

Oftentimes, it seems like movie campaigns are all about trying to get you talking about how much you love something. It makes sense, of course, word-of-mouth and continual references are how many people manage to crack and get into a series they’ve been avoiding, especially this late in the game when they’ve seen many of the official ads and probably weren’t all swayed by them. A friend saying “Trust me, it’s good” in some way, even if it’s through supporting an official movie campaign like the OLTM app, is way more convincing than media ads that easily make us cynical. But really, these campaigns don’t have much benefit for the people who are already fans other than probably “unlocking” content that the studio is going to release either way.

Instead, this easy little idea says “We KNOW you love The Hunger Games! We’re so glad, we want to make you a part of what we’re doing for the film! Let us include you!” And even though it’s a tiny, practically invisible photo in a massive mosaic that will ultimately mean next to nothing in our lives, a single tear runs down our collective fandom cheek because… they like us! They really like us! And it’s fun too, so why the hell not?!

Now If Only I Liked A Single Picture Of Myself,
The Girl With The Pearl

Caption Those New Stills

A few new stills have surfaced over the past day or so, thanks to Mockingay Part 1’s distributor in Russia. And we mean THANK YOU. We’ve been expecting more stills soon, as the various press articles start appearing. There have to be pictures to go along with those articles, right? The character images released a few weeks ago are great to have, but actual full movie stills are better. You’ve probably seen these stills by now, and you can probably guess what movie scenes they reference, but let’s have some fun and pretend like we haven’t read these books many times and have no clue what could be going on here.

Gale crossbow stillGale is eyeing that target pretty intensely. It’s not quite Blue Steel, but he does have a bit of smugness to his expression. I hope he’s eyeing a shooting target and not Katniss or something. Cause that would be awkward Gale, don’t do that.  And we have Beetee in the background paying attention to something else. He makes the weapons, he doesn’t shoot them.

Katniss RosesKatniss’s homecoming seems to be going well, someone even left her a “Welcome Home” flower arrangement. But damn it, they’ve all wilted except for a single white rose.  A florist in the Capitol is going to be hearing about this.

Cressida PolluxCressida is enjoying some well-needed outdoors time, letting her fabulously tattooed skin get some sun but keeps getting annoyed about WHERE Pollux is pointing that camera [*Update yeah I know it's Castor. I was tired, but let's pretend I really have no clue about things and go with it cause all of this is silly anyway].  Be careful there, buddy.

Peacekeepers in 7These Peacekeepers have wandered onto the set of The Return of the Jedi and are really worried about Ewoks. Nah, they’re actually pissed they got assigned to the tree-climbing district. First Katniss, and now these rebellious District 7 citizens. Who knew that tree climbing could be so effective at evading people with weapons?

Katniss CoinKatniss longs for the days when she had to maintain this fakely triumphant pose for the Capitol, cause at least it was Peeta’s hand she got to hold. And the outfits were better.

The sad thing is there will probably be legit press articles with even more off-base photo captions coming soon.

More stuff to look forward to!

JJ

 

 

 

 

Something To Look Forward To

Over the last several months, it’s sadly come to my attention that there’s a vital part of The Mockingjay story that keeps getting looked over, or forgotten from the fan perspective. The music, or most importantly, The Hanging Tree.

I’m no music expert, But I’m a music the_hanging_tree_by_alys23-d4temogfan– I listen to all sorts of genres, but one genre I listen to in particular has a thread that weaves its way throughout The Hunger Games series, traditional American folk music, or Americana. Music that originated in Scotland, England, and Ireland, but immigrated along with the influx of immigrants from the British isles in the 18th century, and earlier to North America. The Hanging Tree however is an original song, penned by Suzanne Collins, but in the style of the folk music that amazingly was preserved for more than 200 years in the Appalachian mountains, purely by the isolated nature of the location, and its people.

The Appalachian mountains is where District 12 is located though, so that means that if and when we hear The Hanging Tree sung on-screen in Mockingjay Part 1, or 2, it may sound like this, rather than the multitudes of fan-made versions that from my experience are decent, but rarely take traditional folk rhythms, and lyrical cadences into account.

The Hanging Tree is a haunting song, a dirge, like “O Death”, which was brought back to the worlds attention when it was used in the Cohen Brother’s film O Brother Where Art Thou in 2000. That was 15 years ago though, and nothing like the Oscar winning O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack has come about since. And, get this– T Bone Burnett the producer of The Hunger Games soundtrack, produced O Brother. The Hunger Games soundtrack was good, I’ll give it that– I like to pretend however that it was better, and that certain pop singers had not recorded certain songs that were written and performed by a certain other Oscar winning singer/ song writer originally. The Hanging Tree, like the song I’ve feigned to above, will probably get the same treatment– erm, how do I say this nicely–? Jennifer Lawrence is not the best singer, in fact in the film The House at the End of the Street where she played a teenager with musical proclivities– they dubbed her voice out during the portions of the film where she was required to sing. So, I think for The Hanging Tree, we’re going to get someone else’ pipes being heard by that placid lake. That is unless Jen has become an amazing singer since House at the End of the Street was filmed.

Until then, if you’re at all interested in hearing and seeing more American traditional folk music performed on film, I recommend the 2000 film Songcatcher, O Brother Where Art There of course, Cold Mountain, and Inside Llewyin Davis.

Them There Eyes