Author: Kait

Violence, Lies, and Videotape– The Parallels Between Panem and Ricegate

The good news: We’ve got a guest post today!

But there’s some important notes about this post: The subject is heavy and possibly triggering for some people. The opinions are those of the writer and they ain’t rainbows and kittens.

With that said… Take it away, Satsuma!

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NOTE: The following contains, toward the end, spoilers (though vague) for Game of Thrones Season 4, and another vague spoiler for (the original) Dr. Who.

First of all, let me apologize for not exactly bringing the funny in this post, because I just couldn’t figure out a way to do it.

Most of you likely know of, or perhaps even seen, the infamous video featuring the talented Mr. Rice, formerly an employee of the Baltimore Ravens, punching his then-fiancee (now wife) so hard she was knocked unconscious. Now, I have always been fascinated by the many parallels between Panem and the real world, but I must admit I didn’t notice any here, until I read the timely post by JJ regarding Josh Hutcherson revealing that Peeta is shown saving Katniss after she’s set on fire by the parachute bombs, and her comment that: “It may also help buy back some goodwill from the purely movie-going audience for all the times he *gulp* tries to hurt her in hijacked rage.”

And then I realized, that there IS a parallel between the Ray Rice video and Mockingjay. A pivotal MJ scene also features a video of a celebrated male contestant in a game known for violence, attacking his fiancee. Not only that, this incident is important in MJ not really because Peeta attacks Katniss, which he has before this point, but because, when he actually watches his actions on video, Peeta is shocked and horrified at himself, to the point of suicidality. The idea that SEEING something makes a unique impact on people, certainly seems to be the case in how quickly public outrage mounted after the Rice video was released, forcing powerful entities such as the NFL to make an about-face, and how even Rice’s defenders, who claimed earlier that “no one really knows what happened in that elevator”, were forced to as well.

Not that video footage is required for shock and outrage, of course; just see what happened in Ferguson, MO. And just because people see images of violence or its effects, doesn’t mean they’ll reject it; many of Adrian Peterson’s defenders admit to seeing the graphic pictures of the injuries he inflicted on his son, but still state that what he did was acceptable discipline. And certainly, what seems to be damning video can be edited or taken out of context, as the torturers do with the Katniss videos they show Peeta; Ray Rice is now claiming as much, as he appeals his indefinite suspension.

And then there's this in Part 2...

And then there’s this in Part 2…

But in general, it does seem images have an impact on people that the written word just doesn’t have. And now we get to JJ’s point about movie-only fans, and the idea that perhaps adding more positive Peeta-Katniss interaction in MJ might counter-balance the impact of seeing Peeta physically attack Katniss. I suspect that even for book readers who know what happened, actually SEEING him try to strangle her, as opposed to the brief, fade-to-black one-liner we get in the book, will have a quite different kind of impact. In general, the only fandom players I have really seen hate on Peeta, are anti-Everlakers who’d prefer Katniss wind up with Gale, Haymitch, Finnick, etc. Indeed, it’s KATNISS who seems to get most of the vitriol for her reactions to hijacked Peeta. But will this change when we actually SEE what he does?

Now, even before Ricegate raised the general awareness of intimate partner violence, I have thought that the MJ film runs a risk of coming across as condoning or excusing violence in relationships. Now, certainly, as far as we know, nobody gave Ray Rice toxic hallucinogens, BUT it’s certainly plausible he may have had alcohol in his system, or even that the hits he’s received on the field have affected his brain. Yet, the conventional wisdom about what he did now seems to be, “There is never ANY excuse for a man to hit the woman he claims to love”. So, what will the casual movie fan, think about Peeta’s actions? And what will they think of Katniss? Note that the public hasn’t exactly been THAT supportive of Mrs. Rice, either; many people have sighed at yet another example of a woman standing by a man who doesn’t deserve it, or even cynically suggested that she finds the occasional KO a reasonable price for the fame and fortune she can access through her husband.

Certainly, there are many incidents of male – on – female violence in the story so far in the context of the Games, but fans seem to have accepted that there is nothing specifically “gendered” about, say, Thresh killing Clove, or Marvel killing Rue; it was fairly obvious that they would have handled a male tribute in the same position, no better or worse. And some fans argue that Peeta’s acted out of perceived self defense, and that this motivation is MUCH different than that of an abuser. But there’s also the take that, as JJ stated, Peeta acted out of “hijacked rage” and vengeance, not just self-defense, which comes a lot closer, uncomfortably closer, to real-life stories of spurned suitors turning violent.

IMHO, many people who commit acts of domestic violence are NOT inhuman monsters who we can safely consign to the “Other” category; Adrian Peterson seemed honestly perplexed as to why anyone would label him an abuser, and he very well might NOT have beat his son to satisfy some twisted sadistic urge; many of his defenders seem to honestly think harsh “discipline” is the only way to prevent their kids, especially in tough neighborhoods, from becoming juvenile delinquents. But then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if, say, Mrs. Mellark reacted the same way to an abuse allegation. “How dare you call me an abuser? I’m just trying to show my sons how to survive in this cold, hard world, and if I have to be a little harsh to make my point, so be it. Would you rather they get a few swats from me, or be whipped in the public square?”

So, just because Peeta is not a monster (even though he actually calls himself one), does that make his actions acceptable? I’m not talking about legal prosecution, certainly he’d likely qualify for an insanity defense. The issue is, will people who actually see visual images of him attempting to strangle Katniss to death, then later attempt to beat her head in with a rifle butt, find these actions forgiveable? Will they find the eventual Peeta-Katniss ending to be acceptable, or send some kind of dangerous message to women that “if the man in your life was mentally ill at the time he attacked you, you should forgive him, marry him, and have his kids”? Or will the casual fan conclude, “See, I told you this was just another Twilight. Why do those silly teenage girls lap up this nonsense that there’s something noble about loving a man who has insidious urges to kill you?”

And here’s another interesting example (beware, GOT S4 spoilers ahead) of fictional scenes that stir up controversy about real life issues.

Remember the tremendous controversy around a scene in GOT S4, that most show-only fans interpreted as an obvious rape? The source scene from the book, which is notably in the POV of the more sexually aggressive partner, is more ambiguous, and GRRM himself denied that he meant to write a rape scene. But one interesting fan debate that took place was this; are the showrunners at fault for misinterpreting canon and writing a rape scene without realizing it? Or, does a close reading of the original book scene, reveal that it was GRRM himself who did so, it only became apparent that he did when we actually got to SEE the scene, not just read about it?

So, I am very curious as to whether the movie WILL manage to redeem Peeta, and the P-K ship, or whether movie-only fans will wind up with a far different take on whether an Everlark ending casts a ray of hope, or just adds to the tragedy of war. I have wondered myself if Peeta and Katniss really were capable of raising well-adjusted children, or if they were doomed to repeat their respective cycles of family dysfunction. And since Peeta’s mental state certainly seems to be based in part on real PTSD sufferers, flashbacks and all, I wonder if the wider fandom wind up debating, whether SC wrote an apologia for acts of domestic violence committed by military veterans and other PTSD sufferers against their families, without realizing it.

Of course, as I have noted before, the idea that Peeta CONTINUED to be violent toward Katniss during flashbacks post-war, despite his treatment, is fanon, not canon. Also, SC never claimed that she was trying to provide her readers with models for healthy romantic relationships. But neither did GRRM, yet that didn’t quite shield him from criticism.

(And now my Who spoiler):

On the other hand, the original Dr. Who program managed to show the Doctor almost strangling a woman while in a temporarily insane state, without apparently detracting from his hero status; and that was when Dr. Who was still considered a safe kiddie show. IMHO, the Doctor post-reboot is NOT really that much darker than his pre-Time-War self, though he apparently received a testosterone infusion during his hiatus. (Okay, I finally managed to bring in some humor).

I suppose only time will tell.
Satsuma

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The Mockingjay Revolution Will Be Televised

If you’ve learned anything from The Hunger Games fandom over the course of these movies, it’s that interactivity is KEY in making fans happy. We like new features. We like having puzzles to solve. Thankfully, we got some of that today!

Image from QuarterQuell.Org

Image from QuarterQuell.Org

It started with an update of TheCapitol.PN, specifically the first weekly update from CapitolTV.

It hints at issues The Capitol is facing in the midst of rebellion, but tries to cover them up in silky-voiced fraudulence. It gets a little redundant with the word “system” in that first line, but overall it’s super exciting. Because you know what the real issue is? Of course you do! REBEL SCUM.

Speaking of which… The new Capitol website was met by an even bigger response from District 13! Search through their hacks and you’ll find new images, character files, and several censored Capitol Concerns (or so I’m told. Something about that site makes my computer go “Oh, FUCK YOU!”) Remember when fans were asked to fill those out as Panem citizens? Well if you participated, you’re now apparently responsible for a bunch of District 7 citizens getting marched to their death:

WAY TO GO, CONCERNED PANEM CITIZENS.

While we’re okay with the shortness of the D13 propo, but is their production value so low that they could manage any sound?! No ominous music, no Peacekeepers shouting orders in the distance, no static, NOTHING?! Really kills the intensity!

But by keeping things mysterious and short, Lionsgate is setting MOCKINGJAY PART 1 up for a viral video campaign. It’s something that the franchise has never done before, but it’s been extremely successful for other films and if the continuation is done well, it could be the desperately needed perk-up this campaign needs! So if nothing else, today we got some hope.

Except For The Part Where Our Complaints Led People To Slaughter,

The Girl With The Pearl

The Courage of Tacky Taglines

As we’ve mentioned before, the new issue of The Hunger Games Exclusive is practically exploding with fandom goodness, including stills and lengthy interviews with the stars. But among all that glorious, visually lovely magnificence, something happened. Something we weren’t quite as enthusiastic about.

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No, we’re not talking about how Samsung Galaxy seems to present just about everything in this fandom nowadays. Or the level of Photoshop achieved here. It’s that damn movie tagline.

THE COURAGE OF ONE WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.

Is that really the best we can do?

Yes, Katniss does have courage by the ton. And though she struggles, said struggles ultimately end in her defeating the Capitol and thus changing the world. But to suggest that she simply does it alone without extreme amounts of pressure and/or encouragement from people behind the scenes is just preposterous. Does she deserve credit? HELL TO THE YES. Her alone? NOPE. She is the symbol of the rebellion, a rallying figure and a catalyst for action, but she is not the whole damn rebellion.

But it’s not even that, really. It’s the actual phrasing of the slogan. Something about it just screams “CHEESY 80s ACTION FILM!” This tagline seems more suited to Chuck Norris or Arnold Schwarzenegger, running in slo-mo toward a helicopter in camouflage, than Katniss Everdeen. Or one of those inspirational films about the fight to change some unfair, old-fashioned political policies. Again, not The Hunger Games.

It’s also reminding me of those really persistent military ads from a few years back:
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For those of you outside the US, this campaign was EVERYWHERE for a number of years and apparently did its job well with the branding, so much so that we think of it every time we hear something referring to the general power or strength “of one”.

Maybe we were spoiled by the first two films, which both had taglines that referenced back to the books and got us excited. “May the odds be ever in your favor.” “The world will be watching.” “Every revolution begins with a spark.” “Remember who the enemy is.” By comparison, this latest tagline feels like it was picked out of a general action movie slogan catalog.

But we only get one trailer, so I’m assuming there’s only one tagline. In the meantime, I’m putting the tagline with a movie that seems more suited for it:

THE COURAGE OF ONE WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.

THE COURAGE OF ONE WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.

The Girl With The Pearl

What We Learned From The New Mockingjay Part 1 Stills

In case you missed it, with “The Mockingjay Lives” trailer also came a new edition of Hunger Games Exclusive featuring interviews with Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, and Natalie Dormer, quick bios of Boggs, Pollux, Castor, and Messalla, and a boatload of new stills.

And oh, there’s messages behind messages about the movies in those stills!

1) Gale and Cressida either hate each other or totally get each other

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There are a couple pictures of Gale and Cressida together that make us wonder about how other character relationships will be expanded in the TWO parts of Mockingjay (because hell, that’s definitely room to expand things!) Yes, they’re facing away from each other which suggests that this isn’t a romantic twist– THANK GOODNESS– but there’s some sort of deal going on between these two. On one hand, neither looks particularly happy and they won’t look at each other. On the other, they have each others’ back and it seems like these two share a similar ideology that might have them teaming up quite a bit.

Are we just talking nonsense? We’ll find out in two months!

2) Jen’s wig is pretty solid.. except for when there’s running.

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Witness ZEE WIG.

Not bad, right? Flowy, realistic frizz, and a hair line that doesn’t make you facepalm. It’s not very noticeable at all!

Now.. a second glance:

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IT JUST GOT SO MUCH MORE NOTICEABLE.

Stills of action scenes are very rarely kind to the characters involved. This just proves it. We probably won’t notice it so much with actual, rolling footage, but this shot is a definite reminder that our homegirl got wigged up for these movies.

3) There’s always that one guy.

Extras. Very rarely does one really catch your eye because they’re out of place, but it happens.

Take the District 8 shot. Almost everyone looks tense, resilient, perhaps even a bit frightened and then… Wait. Is that one guy smirking at her?

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It may not be enough to draw most people’s attention, but something about this guy’s look here says “Dude! They put me right next to her! I’m totally going to be in the movie.”

4) Everyone posed in those D13 uniforms (also, see #1)

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Military or not, we’re guessing everyone had a photo-op in District 13’s gray fatigues, just to reassure us that all the characters hate them and even the pretty ones look a bit drab. Alas, more reassurance that District 13 is a fashionista’s worst nightmare.

5) Someone put a tiny braid in Natalie Dormer’s hair EVERY. DAY.

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And yet we can barely manage to braid our own hair without it looks like a rat’s nest. Kudos to Mockingjay’s official braider (we assume that’s their title) and their tiny little hands!

Don’t Blink! Trailer Teaser Time

Happy trailer eve!

Tomorrow we finally, FINALLLLLLLLY get the trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. “About damn time” doesn’t even begin to say how much this trailer is needed, but we’ve already talked about that.

Instead, we’re going to discuss the mini-previews of the trailer that have been released in anticipation of the big day.

First off.. Don’t blink. Not because there’s weeping angels or anything.

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Just kidding, there totally are weeping angels here. Just to make you aware that we are THAT serious right now! (Non-Whovians: These things can kill you in the blink of an eye. Pay attention to the previews!)

These bits are about 10-15 seconds, but how much is actual footage?

3 seconds of footage, 7 seconds of President Snow quotage.

2 seconds of footage. Almost 3. 2 1/2, to be fair.

The trailer is short, so we suppose it should be no surprise that even their trailer previews are short. Most movies give you a solid 5 to 10 seconds of actual footage in mini-teasers. Buuuut we’re nitpicking because we’re desperate for more.

There’s really not much to comment on, but we are liking what we see. Katniss looks positively horrified as she discovers the beautiful white rose amongst the dead flowers in her abandoned house. Katniss and Gale fighting off Capitol predators together in District 8 is pretty much the only form of Katniss/Gale “togetherness” we can get behind.

And that right there is the big point:
The campaign for this movie has been very slow and some fans are losing enthusiasm, but we’re still pretty damn sure the movie will be among the best for the year. Why? Because the movie was made by Lawrence Squared, J-Hutch, Hemsy, Nina Jacobson (we don’t have a fun nickname for her), and some of the most celebrated actors out there and the promotional packaging, well… isn’t. In the end, the overall experience feels dimmed, but the movie will probably still leave us all like “OHMYSWEETGOODNESS DID YOU SEE THAT?”

And hopefully the trailer makes us super excited too. Because if we’re only getting one full trailer, it better be freaking glorious.

Looking For To Basking In The Glory With You (Hopefully),

The Girl With The Pearl

The Capitol’s Way

It’s guest post time! We received a wonderful submission from Luly, who’s discussing why it’s okay to be critical about The Hunger Games and its promotion in the media.

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“This is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion. Whatever words they use, the real message is clear.” – The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

I have been a fan of The Hunger Games for years now, like many of you. And, also like many of you, it was not the first book fandom I have been involved in. Nevertheless, my first years in the Hunger Games fandom, before we had the certainty of a movie adaptation, showed me some of the most creative and critical groups I had ever been in; which is not surprising, given that the message in this book series is clear, breathtaking and gives you so much to think about and to question from your own surroundings.

However, I feel like the spark is fading. For the past couple of years, after the huge success of the first movie, I have seen more and more examples of marketing campaigns that underestimate the audience and the books. What worries me the most, though, is the lack of critical views on these things that I see in the same fandom I previously felt so critical. I see individual discomfort on tumblr at times, I see some comments on twitter once in a while, but the severe critical perception I feel the fandom had before the first movie was released (the “they better do this right because we know this series to heart” stance) has been numbed by the sub-par yet initially appealing and distracting material that Lionsgate throws our way.

Panem et circenses.

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I am by no means trying to say that this is because “the movies made the books popular” or “the fandom grew”, absolutely not. I am talking about the same fandom that, for some reason, does not sound as critical as it used to be. But I know that there are people who are. Individual fans with individual instances of opinion whose voices used to be heard but who now, for different reasons, don’t feel as much a part of the fandom as they used to. And I asked some of them what they thought, how they felt with Lionsgate’s ways to promote and handle these movies (and books) and what their worries were on that regard. These are some of their ideas.

One of the most interesting posts I saw on tumblr about Lionsgate’s missed opportunities came from stevedrogers’s blog. The post is very interesting and has many great ideas of what Lionsgate could be doing and are not. But one of my main focuses was on this “My suggestion would be a website where you are required to log in (maybe without home address and telephone number, perhaps). At the initial log in screen, you would be requested to select your district. Then, material on the website would be tailored to that district. Articles would be tailored to hide information from you. Announcements would be district specific. This would create discourse, especially on social networking sites, just like this one (I told you I believe in this sort of thing. I really do). It’d encourage screenshots and discussions about the differences and would be an interactive experience. You can’t share your experience on their current website, because it’s all the same.”

I want to stop there for a bit because when I read this great post for the first time (and I recommend you to check it out as well), that paragraph gave me memories of one of my favorite experiences that happened in this fandom: PanemOctober. I don’t think that is a coincidence but it’s the result of fans’ critical thinking asking for what these books deserve for a fan experience. The post goes further than PanemOctober did because from 2011 to today a lot has happened in the world of transmedia storytelling to add to the possibilities, but let’s remember what happened with PO: “We received a letter from Lionsgate legal department in June, two to three months after we initially contacted them, asking us to take down our websites because of a few reasons” said Gamemaster Rowan back when it happened. But soon enough, Capitol PN appeared and it was not only nothing like PO but it was also determined by a very different thing: while PO (and the more modern idea I linked from tumblr) were based on fans propelling the ideas forward and connecting with each other to complement the experience, the way Capitol PN had of selecting representatives was basically a popularity contest. I don’t want to devalue those who were Mayors of their respective Districts because they are great fans who know a lot about the books, I know more than one and I can assure that, but having a campaign of tweeting a hashtag or liking a user isn’t the same as using the creative talent fans have to help the story forward. Competition and conversation are two very different approaches.

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Now, another point of view on Lionsgate’s problems on their promotion comes from elphabians “Probably the thing that’s been noted a lot is that our own media focusing so much on the love triangle is completely identical to the way the Capitol, in-verse, focuses on the love triangle. Not focusing on the idea of romantic love as opposed to sibling love, but focusing on a tragic love story that people can sympathize with, instead of acknowledging that all of this is happening, not because some teenagers fell in love, but because those teenagers are stuck in a corrupt, dystopian society that hangs them out for bait once a year and slowly bleeds everyone around them dry” and adds “The Hunger Games is a series that should punch you in the gut. It should be loud and jarring, and difficult to look at, even as the structure and the story forms itself beautifully. Because it is a beautiful story, and a good one too, but its brutal, and we collectively ignore that in favor of shouting about Team Gale or Team Peeta. Because that’s all we’re ever asked about. That’s all they give us”.

This also reminded me to a very interesting discussion we had more than once on the Fireside Chat, where the conversation on “Peeta or Gale” wasn’t really focused on “who is the best for Katniss” but in the fact that they both represent two sides of a political and social situation and how to respond to that. But that is not, as the quote clearly states, what Lionsgate and the movies choose to put forward. Another quote from this I’d like to share is the following “I dislike how it’s handled, and I dislike that we have more posters and cut-outs with Katniss/Peeta/Gale than we have of Katniss and Prim. Because Prim is more important – will always be more important. Hell, Rue is more important than both Peeta and Gale (Rue is more important than every single character in those books, except for maybe Katniss and Prim). The fandom does not focus on this, because the media, the franchise does not focus on this”. This discussion that used to be so important while talking about the books is completely dismissed now and the movies focusing on some aspects more than others doesn’t help create an instance of critical thinking. I completely agree, the way Lionsgate and the movies focus on this is similar to way the Capitol does. And that should make us extremely uncomfortable. Does it, though?

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But this is not the only similarity we can point out between how the movies are being promoted and how the Capitol would, and a couple of the opinions I received talk about this. camii23 said “When The Hunger Games came out, I remember that lots of people were horrified with the premise of ‘children killing each other’, but after a while it seemed normal to talk about (…). All in all, the commercialization of the fandom or the Hunger Games universe isn’t so surprising to me, I think it’s the natural course of everything popular and that sells; what worries me is the focus. It could be used to give another message, to give more awareness on the violence of social classes and female empowerment but no, they take the shortcut and use what is more visually attractive, which is the Capitol”.

On that note, poorlifedecisionsemily said “As a fan, it’s fun to have merchandise from your fandom. Much like the fact that I have a Harry Potter wand, I can also have Hunger Games nail polish. The difference, I think, is that Harry Potter is not entirely based on the premise of society trivializing and commercializing death and inequality. (…) While this seems distasteful given the themes of the books, it is really no different than the numerous distasteful and manipulative situations in any other industry. The idealist in me sometimes wishes that they weren’t playing into exactly the type of behavior that the books critique. However, I also think that, in a way, it also brings these themes to the forefront and allows for conversations to begin about this very issue, not only in The Hunger Games franchise, but in our society in general”.

The make-up, the nail polish, the Subway campaign and the use of Capitol Couture as a form of marketing rather than any other perspective possible, makes the approach closer to what the Capitol would do and there’s no “rebellion” campaign they can come up with now (like an app or the poster of Katniss’s back) that can change these past years of using the Capitol as bait and talking more about Effie’s clothing and Katniss’s wedding dress than the underlying message of these books. These campaigns alienate the story, make it more marketable and distant, rather than close to home. Instead of relating the story with our social and political realities (and when I say that I’m talking about the entire world, since I’m not American and neither are many of the people I quoted here), it makes it look farther from us, a distant future, and that’s exactly what it shouldn’t do. What the movies (and the books) are trying to put forward and ignite, the campaigns are extinguishing.

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Another element that plays into this is the clear underestimation of the fans who will receive these campaigns and their critical capacity. girasoldelluvia said on the matter “Not only the merchandising and their focus are completely opposite to the message that the books propose, but also their attitude towards the fans doesn’t make me happy. They constantly underestimate fans with a superior attitude and it seems that they want us to be grateful for every breadcrumb of promotion they give as and receive it with open arms. (…) The movies are, for lots of fans, an excuse to keep making edits, creating, relating with other fans from all over the world, share things, opinions, meta, information, and even other books and movies. But Lionsgate underestimates the power that it has and forgets that the movies were made because there are fans that read the books and wanted more”.

Thinking about fans coming together, as that quote stated, I get instantly reminded to the Victory Tour 2013. The project was conceived back in 2012 and was described as “a Hunger Games convention taking place in North Carolina in the summer of 2013, created by fans for fans. This convention will unite fans of all ages, though focusing on those 12 years and older, and will give them something to call their own”. Soon after, though, in November 2012, it was revealed that “we have been dealing with some legal issues involving the convention” and it was changed to include other books but finally, it turned into an online convention. The thing is that, if you google Victory Tour 2013, you’re probably not going to find this exclusively, because Lionsgate came out with its own “Victory Tour 2013″, which was nothing like this convention for fans but the cast (or part of it) appearing in some locations in USA, much like the actual Victory Tour the Capitol did in the books. I couldn’t find the exact quote on what the “legal issues” were, but at the time it reminded me of what happened with PanemOctober: Fans coming up with amazing integrative activities for other fans and Lionsgate turning their back to them to do their own thing. If you ask me, it sounds like yet another missed opportunity.

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When it comes to past questions that are not discussed anymore, one that I was reminded of by asking fans their problems with the franchise came from gilbertbythe: “While I liked the THG movies, I admit I had problems with the casting that prevented me from fully enjoying the films” and adds “I interpreted the battle between the districts and the Capitol as a somewhat symbolic act of an uprising between the marginalized groups against the oppressors in our current society. But maybe that’s just me. I just think it’s such a wasted opportunity. Lionsgate could’ve had a POC female lead to give the story much more meaning but then I remember that white washing is prevalent in Hollywood and casting a POC might ‘ruin’ a franchise that has the potential to rival other popular franchises. Of course, profit is much more important than POC representation to them anyway”.

This is an argument that I did hear more than once yet I also recall many people dismissing these arguments as “fans being against Jennifer Lawrence personally”, or “complaining too much” rather than presenting a valid critic to the casting choices that were and still are problematic. It isn’t really about complaining or about Jennifer Lawrence’s acting abilities, it’s about why we forget the things that used to worry us and settle with what is given to us, like a comment I already quoted said, “with open arms”.

Now, what I want for this article to do is to make you, the reader, ask yourself questions. Or, more importantly, remember the questions you once asked yourself while reading these books and that you may have forgotten. I don’t want you to take this and adopt it unquestioningly, I don’t even want you to agree with me or with the people giving their opinion here; I want you to ask, to think and to actively criticize what is being offered to you right now. Not just that there hasn’t been yet a trailer of Mockingjay Part 1, or that it will be less than 2 minutes long, or that the App is not what you expected, but dig deeper. Remember what these books brought to you and apply that; ask yourself, is this the kind of fandom we deserve? Is this the kind of franchise these books should be? All I want is to re-ignite that spark that used to be there back when the first movie was announced: the spark of questions, of criticism, of activity. This is just a glimpse of some of the views that are out there and I wanted to give them a place to be heard. What about you? What do you think?

Luly

1 Minute, 45 Seconds

We all really got our hopes up that there was FINALLY a trailer yesterday, but instead we got a countdown to a trailer. Better than nothing, right? The trailer is still coming and while we’ll admit that our enthusiastic nature has waned during the waiting game, we know we’ll be psyched once we actually see it.

We got one good still from three seconds of footage, at least!

We got one good still from three seconds of footage, at least!

However, the news about the trailer that came out that day was pretty bummerific too.

First, the news that the trailer was only going to be 1 minute 45 seconds long.

Yes, NATO guidelines state trailers can’t be longer than 2 minutes after October 1 and this trailer will play in theaters after that time. So we looked up a ton of other movies coming out in November– because all of them already have trailers at this point, some for months. While many of them have a trailer that’s less than two minutes, almost all of them also have a trailer that is MORE than two minutes. Because most movies introduce at least two trailers, one of which is “international” and doesn’t have to strictly adhere to NATO guidelines as long as it makes theaters in the rest of the world happy (which is apparently easier.)

Which brings us to point two: An international distributor let it spill yesterday that this would be the FINAL trailer, then backtracked a bit and said it was the only “full” trailer. What does that mean? Ohhh.. THIS IS THE LONGEST TRAILER WE ARE GOING TO GET. And probably the only one, because non-full trailers will likely = that 1 minute teaser we already got and 30 second TV spots.

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DO YOU THINK I LIKE POSTING FRUSTRATION GIFS, EVEN IF THEY’RE DISNEY?!

I DON’T!

*briefly meditates* Okay… okay… I think I can talk about it some more.

It’s really hard not to get bummed. We love Lionsgate for bringing The Hunger Games to the screen. But when you have a campaign THIS BIG and it gets delayed and whittled down to as little as possible, it isn’t fun anymore for the fans. Just like Merida up there, it gets us frustrated because we’re being sold short.

Yes, we’re going to see that movie no matter what the advertising, essentially. WE’LL GIVE YOU OUR MONEY. In return, can you give us more promotional footage than say, Dumb and Dumber To? We think we deserve that much for all the amazing records, attention, and profit we’ve given your company over the past couple years. Just sayin’.

“Shut Up And Take My Money” Is a Meme, Not A Suggestion,

The Girl With The Pearl

The Lyrical Take On The Mockingjay

Apparently the trailer isn’t the only thing that’s taking its sweet time! Last year at this time, we were already had a chance to listen and read the lyrics to Catching Fire’s Grammy nominated “Atlas” by Coldplay. But this year? We got news that a song is being recorded, at least!

We’ll acknowledge that a 5 minute song is probably nowhere near as time consuming as a roughly 2 1/2 hour movie and can be completed quicker depending on the artist’s schedule, Soundtracks don’t usually come out until right before the movie, so they technically don’t have to rush. But it seems like a crazy big part of this whole production should be renamed THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART PROCRASTINATION.

Anywaaaay… The latest news started with a quick lyric post from Lorde:
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It was soon confirmed that these were indeed lyrics for one of her Mockingjay Part 1 songs, specifically being recorded for the end credits– because if you’re going to curate a soundtrack, you’re conveniently going to put your own damn music in the position that makes it eligible for awards NO MATTER WHAT. The song will reportedly be “moody, dark, and powerful”, which is basically what we’d expect from any song about this movie. The film certainly ain’t gonna hold your hand and make you smile, after all!

While we don’t think the use of the word “princess” in the lyric is our favorite as the term itself suggests someone who is spoiled and desperate to be in charge– neither of which we believe accurately describes Katniss in MJ Part 1. And inevitably somebody will make a connection to “Royals” and we’ll hate it. But it’s interesting to see how a musician would try to express Katniss’ state of being.

Then again, two lines isn’t a full verse, let alone a single, so we can’t fully judge. …Can the powers that be get us the full single as soon as possible so we can properly judge it, please?!

Please Prove That Teenage Poetry CAN Be Good, Please!
The Girl With The Pearl

Behind The Mockingjay (Literally)

*blinks* Did we… did we just get Punk’d?

Starting late yesterday evening, international distributors started hinting that something would be happening today. It was something, all right, but not something that was saw coming by any means!

Namely, it was this:

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KATNISS!

Sort of. We can’t confirm that it’s Jennifer Lawrence and not a body double, but we’d like to believe it’s our leading lady.

Still, we don’t know how we feel about this.

If this poster was released three months ago, it would have been OUR JAM! Katniss’ Mockingjay suit is GOR-GE-OUS and fierce and breaks our hearts into a thousand little Cinna shaped pieces. Are feather shoulder pads going to be a new fashion statement? We hope so! The poster continues with the wonderful theme of Katniss going against the grain– She looks right when everyone looks left in The Hunger Games posters, then stands when everyone else sits in Catching Fire posters. Facing away from the camera is also a nice metaphor for her reclusive nature and even more extreme struggles with PTSD in Part 1.

But it’s not June. It’s September. At this point in the game, we at least want to see Katniss’ anxiety and haunting memories and reluctant strength on her face. Build-up and anticipation is great in the right doses, but we’re overdosing on that anticipation over here!

There’s a reason Apple products advertise a program called Face Time and not Back-of-the-Skull Time (besides the fact that it would be really uncomfortable to keep twisting your arm behind your head to get a proper shot): All humans speak the language of facial expressions, the eyes are the window to the soul, aaaaaand so on! Katniss’ soul is being denied its window, dammit! FREE KATNISS!

But with the poster reveal also came the notification to expect something on September 10th! THERE’S MOOOOOAR! We’re hoping we can finally get more than yet another tease at that time, but we have no clue. As long as it’s not a “Katniss turns around” poster six days later because we would legitimately just start weeping in frustration at the point.

“I’m So Tired, Katniss”
The Girl With The Pearl

When Camera Crews Go Renegade

So we’ve definitely settled on the fact that the new posters are cool. Not perfect, but pretty damn cool. Still, there’s one isty-bitsy teeny-weeny fairly obvious detail that is driving us crazy…

Since when does a two-man camera crew, their director, and her assistant = BADASS WARRIOR MOTHERFUCKERS?

Observe!
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Mind you, we like the idea of badass warrior motherfuckers in general. BWMFs, if you will. But in comparison, we must admit this feels kinda forced.

While some tactical gear and even the small side guns on Castor and Pollux seem reasonable, check out the massive weapons Cressida and Messalla are sporting. That is meant for once thing: Taking out large numbers of enemies in a relatively short time period. Those are for straight up soldiers, not the people hired to film soldiers.

Meanwhile, Pollux is described as “the silent soldier” and Messalla, who seems skittish at best all the way up to his brutal end in the books, is called “the fearless renegade”. Seriously, somebody had way too much fun misappropriating these character descriptions while scripting this film!

In my initial commentary on these posters, I mentioned that Cressida and Messalla didn’t look much like Capitol defectors who, despite not agreeing with political choices, were still culturally Capitol at their core. The more we think about it… What if the filmmakers found it easier to not have them be Capitol defectors at all? The District 13 area doesn’t have many recognizable faces other than Boggs in the books, especially in what will be considered Part 1 territory. Audiences will connect with the District 8 scenes more if they see who Katniss is fighting with and what they stand for, so why not take already recognizable names and match them up with the mostly unrecognizable soldiers?

Yet we hesitate to wholeheartedly accept that theory. There is value to Cressida and Messalla being wet-behind-the-ears rebellion propo makers who don’t fully understand the dangers and implications of their work until they experience it firsthand. Their Capitol origins show that not everyone in the city is a drone supporting Snow and display tensions within the fragile alliances. Yes, it would be nice to have another kickass chick in the mix and Effie will be more firmly taking on the role of “Capitol lady who doesn’t truly get it”, but are there not shades of gray that can distinguish characters adjusting to the same situation differently as Cressida gets more and more proactive?

Maybe we’re just opposed to change.. but usually we’re not opposed to change when it seems reasonable and justifiable. We just don’t get why this group now has to be fierce soldiers. We’re hoping this pans out into something spectacular that we aren’t seeing yet, but right now, we must admit that we’re a liiiiiiittle weary!

If Camera Crews Are Now Super Soliders, Are The Original District 13 Soldiers Like.. X-Men?
The Girl With The Pearl