Category Archives: Books
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?
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
As we all know the cast of our beloved Hunger Games series have other projects under their belts, and in their futures. I thought I’d take a little time out this weekend to point out that yet again several of our cast have promising things for us all to look forward to, some even in the near future.
Jeffrey Wright our resident Beetee, has a lot to look forward to. I’m not even waxing philosophic when I say that, because just this past week it was announced that he’ll be part of the recurring cast of a brand new HBO series. Actually, he’s only been cast in a pilot, but the project has high hopes– and a monster good cast behind it– including people like Rodrigo Santoro, whom many might remember from Love Actually, and Lost. But that’s the end of things for Jeffrey, hell no– he’s still on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire whose fifth and final season premieres next month. See, even if we’ve got months to wait to see him as Beetee, we’ve only weeks to see him portraying other characters.
Come November we’ve got nothing to complain about where it comes to Josh Hutcherson– ’cause we’ve got two projects to ogle him in. Yes, I said ogle. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 as we all have marked on our calendars, but then a few days later on November 26, Paradise Lost the thriller Josh filmed before he joined the rest of the Mockingjay cast and crew, is slated to be released in the US. Spain and France, you lucky dogs you– you’re getting it in October, and on November 5th. Watch the teaser trailer below!
And now for the castle dweller– ’cause Jennifer Lawrence is our resident Disney princess in disguise. For the last two years the buzz about The Glass Castle being made into a film starring Jen, has been circling the entertainment media news. And finally more solid info on that project has come to the surface, well as solid feeling as the word “negotiations” can muster. But we all know that Jen’s no slouch where it comes to projects outside of The Hunger Games, it could be easily argued that she does her best work when she’s not playing Katniss– but that’s an article for another day.
I still want to see Mockingjay anything before I see Jen in anything else– well unless it’s the film Serena.
Them There Eyes
There’s good news, and there’s bad news to report. Let’s start with the good news shall we? Okay. WE’VE FINALLY GOT MOCKINGJAY PART 1 CHARACTER POSTERS! And yes, that sentence deserves to be written in all capital letters, thank you very much. We sure do like our characters posters in this franchise, also this genre, I can remember all the way back to the revealing of The Hunger Games character posters, and the collective sighs of relief that sounded across the Internets. I think that sigh was echoed today, and perhaps some of those sounds felt a little bitter-sweet for some. I know that when I personally thought on the idea of a character poster being revealed of Plutarch Heavensbee this time around, I felt some trepidation. I think you all know why. And then there’s the reveal of Finnick in his drab District 13 garb, and then remembering what will happen to Finnick in Part Two. But then there’s the simple excitement of seeing Julianne Moore in all her Coin glory, and not just in a clip from the teaser trailer.
The highlight however may be the unveiling of Elizabeth Banks’ poster of Effie Trinket. If you’re unaware at this point, book canon has gone the wayside, and Effie has for all intents and purposes, taken the place of Fulvia Cardew. At least that’s the educated guess more than half the fandom has made about her presence in District 13. Oh also, I believe Suzanne Collins mentioned something about it. Book canon as we all know is more often than not something that goes out the proverbial window when it comes to book to film adaptations. In this instance knowing that the author of the series condoned the “tweak”, I think makes the poster reveal a little vindicating. Also, leave it to Effie Trinket to pull off a stylish ensemble by refashioning a District 13 issued button down as a mini dress, might I add as well that her re purposed head scarf is very on trend right now. And I’m even on board with this trend! Seriously, it’s perfect for bad hair days, which I’m guessing happen a lot in District 13.
I said there was bad news however. And the bad news is two things. One being that the poster reveal today only happened because they were leaked on line before their slated released date of tomorrow. To some fandom members this is good news, because hey– we got the posters early, and that’s all we should really care about! Right? No. Bottom line those images were stolen, and you all should know by now how I feel about stealing. So, while it’s great to see the posters finally, I wish it hadn’t been in such a discombobulated, and frankly– clunky manner. What can I say? I like my social media campaigns to run smoothly? Yep, that’s what I’m going with. The other bit of bad news though is this– ’cause of course I didn’t forget that it’s two things. No Katniss poster.
Seriously, cough up the rock– we want our Mockingjay already!
Them There Eyes
In case you didn’t already know it, we’re gross. So much so that the whole advertising world is busy telling us how gross we are in an effort to help us conceal our unholy level of disgusting, because we should totally be ashamed!
These companies sell us (and in part help create) our insecurities. But don’t worry! Then they empower us! How, you ask? By making us feel insecure about having said insecurities, of course!
Thankfully, The Hunger Games isn’t like that. They may sell clothes, makeup, and nail polish that represent the selfish, ignorant elitists of the tale that should in no way be glorified. They may try to sell us elongated sandwiches full of irony to promote a film about the struggles of the starving and underprivileged. They may soften the collective fan experience by only letting people who possess certain technologies or live near certain stores get exclusive early access. But they would never exploit Katniss’ gender as a means to pander to a false empowerment campa— OH WAIT.
*blink blink* WHAT?
First off, as many fans have discussed several times over on every Hunger Games related form on the Internet– Katniss Everdeen does things LIKE A GUY. One of the most interesting thing about her is that she transcends gender stereotypes by taking on traditionally masculine roles. If anything, Peeta is the one who does things #LikeAGirl.
Don’t get us wrong– we still think Katniss has a hefty dose of femininity and is a great role model. But she can be a great role model for ANYONE, not just girls. If Katniss and Peeta’s genders were reversed, the main character would still be a great role model. To say that her accomplishments matter BECAUSE she is a woman and that she should inspire girls any more than boys is just ludicrous.
Does she get super secret strength just from having her monthly period? Is that what makes her such a great hunter, strategist, and leader? DID WE MISS THAT PART OF THE NOVELS?!
Also, this totally fails to empower us. It has the opposite effect:
- Katniss Everdeen is made of pure awesome. She fights for justice, leads a nation, and creates a new way of life for the entire populace of a struggling society.. and hey, she’s a woman!
- Well, I’m a woman and I do none of those things. Therefore, I SUCK. And don’t dare try to tell me I could sway the nation and lead a bloody human rights revolution right now, because then you’re just lying.
Then Always jumps in to really drive that point home:
We really, really hope this isn’t a long-term, ongoing partnership with this brand. It’s straight up patronizing: “Oh look, she’s a strong, heroic leader AND a woman! Let’s all stop and treat that like an anomaly!”
A major facet in Katniss’ likability factor is that she hates misleading campaigns that paint her as a false hero for the people. In a strange way, that’s what makes her a real hero.
It’s painful to equate that Katniss’ success and power to the fact that she, just like all the other women out there, survives that time of the month. In fact, it gives us cramps. Katniss never seems to get cramps. Dammit, we can’t ever measure up to this chick!
All in all, we think our friend Joan said it best when it comes to the premise of this whole campaign:
And There Goes The One Topic We Never Thought We’d Come Across Here,
The Girl With The Pearl
We’ve got BONUS guest posts for you this week! Check out another Mockingjay musing from Satsuma, who sees plenty of opportunity of historical parallels in the final two films!
Here I am, trying to make more predictions about the MJ movies. My last post dealt with their possible approach to romance. This one focuses more on the politics. Specifically, whether the movies will continue to make references to historical political events that have parallels to what happens in Panem.I say “continue to”, because both THG and CF seemed to make a directed effort to make viewers consider the parallels, in many subtle ways. Maybe it’s just me, but the “Capitol = Rome” set-up SC created seems to have actually taken a back seat, with more modern examples of tyranny and oppression being focused on more. We have the Capitol set design from THG, inspired by “brutalist” architecture used by the Nazi’s, as well as Tianamen Square; and the use of Henry River Mill village, a real life “company town” (though for a different industry than coal) for the Seam.
And while this isn’t expressly political, I was also quite struck by the Capitol equivalent of a sports book that was showcased in that movie, especially as we see gambling in all forms becoming more and more socially acceptable these days in the US, and states trying to get a cut of the action; not just the state lotteries, but, for example, how Governor Christie of New Jersey recently attempted to legalize sports gambling in his state). And while FYI I admit I never “got” the whole allure of gambling, certainly one can argue that it’s yet another way that the “powers that be” can distract citizens from more serious issues.
In CF, the D11 design actually tweaked aspects of canon, such as showing workers picking cotton instead of fruit as they did in the book, to drive the “D11 = Deep South”, not just geographically but culturally as well, to the extent of giving the Peacekeepers attack dogs that I bet Bull Connor would have loved to own. (Brief history lesson: Connor was a notorious segregationist “Commissioner of Public Safety” in Birmingham, AL, who cracked down harshly on civil rights protestors in the 1960s. I’ve even wondered if Connor’s deceptively benign job title, helped inspire the “Peacekeeper” moniker.)
And not only did CF harken back to the 1960’s, it also showed “rebellion” footage that seemed straight out of the Arab Spring. I’m sure that was no co-incidence.Especially knowing that Danny Strong wrote the first scripts, I’m sure that MJ will continue to showcase these historical and political parallels. (Note that, as has been mentioned on this blog before, “Game Change” actually has a lot of similarities to MJ even though Sarah Palin is VERY different from Katniss in many ways, both feature a female character “campaigning” for a cause and frequently “going rogue” and disregarding the scripts their handlers want them to follow.)
Note that the MJ marketing again touched on the idea of “Panem field hands = African Americans”, considering the race of the woman chosen to represent the Grain district (even though she likely hailed from the Midwest, not as strongly associated with the African American civil rights struggle as the Deep South, though certainly the North had/has its own issues with racism as well.)
Unfortunately, it’s likely too late for the MJ movies to draw the obvious parallels between the MJ rebellion and what’s happening at the Ukraine-Russia border these days, right down to innocent civilians being caught in the cross-fire, with each side pointing the finger at the other as the culprit for a wartime atrocity. Much as in MJ, I wonder if we’ll ever find out the REAL story about who shot down that airliner. (On the other hand, there’s still almost two years worth of marketing to go…)
But we know that the Iraq war helped to inspire SC to write this story, as did her father’s experiences as a soldier in Vietnam. I can certainly see, for example, a shot of rebels dragging down a statue of Snow, much as Saddam Hussein’s statue bit the dust. Or perhaps we’ll see a shot of Snow being dragged out of a bunker somewhere. And while Julianne Moore’s description of D13 seems more consistent with “Jericho” and other post-apocalyptic societies than the historical Soviet Union, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some reference to the idea of “Capitol = US, D13 = USSR”; perhaps a nod to classic Cold War era movies such as “Dr. Strangelove” (which itself based the not-so-good Doctor partly on Werner von Brown, who managed to jump from serving the Nazis in WWII to directing NASA in the 1960s; hmm, that sounds almost like what Plutarch did, actually).
Finally, the reason I titled this post “Applicability”, is that the current events in Crimea really did impress me with how applicable this series is to the Ukraine/Russia conflict, even though SC wrote the books years before this conflict flared up. In both, we have rebels who want to break away from one problematic regime, yet are backed by another regime that has many problematic aspects as well. This is one reason I think this series may remain relevant for a while, even after the last MJ movie.
Awhile back, like a couple of years ago– I wrote about the prospect of The Hunger Games utilizing the tried and truth money-making method of product placement. However, now that a few major companies have made brief, and lasting partnerships with the franchise (Cover Girl, Subway) I’m struck with the thought again of “what if?” In the case of the most recent news of Lionsgate having sold the trailer debut of the first Mockingjay film to Samsung, I’m struck even harder with “what if?” But now it’s pulsing, and loud, and um… annoying.
What if Samsung are the makers of all those futuristic projection televisions we’ve seen in the last two Hunger Games films. Or worse, what if in Mockingjay: Part Two the Holo that Boggs carries around in the field is made by Samsung as well? What if for some ridiculous reason Lionsgate decides that in the last installments of the series to throw integrity aside, and forget that the companies of our world no longer exist, and have no place in the world of Panem. But alas they start
throwing in familiar, contemporary logos and symbols left and right, like a Spielberg or Robert Zemeckis film. Granted those directors were more tasteful than gratuitous with their usage of product placement, dare I say it– they perfected it, but things could change. They could do close ups on Snow’s white, blue veined hand reaching out and clicking a button on his projection television, and the Samsung logo is clear and prominent, like Audi in iRobot, or Omega in Casino Royale, or Ducati in Tron: Legacy– or the worst offender of them all, almost every frame in Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
Speculation you will be the death of us!? Damn… I want a Coke.
Them There Eyes
Today we have a great guest post by Satsuma on a topic that brings out a lot of passion in the fandom.
Okay, first things first. I confess that it wasn’t just the (rather scanty) Mockingjay news so far that brought this question to my mind.
No, I must credit the inspiration for this topic, of how much romance is appropriate for a sci-fi, action-packed “young adult” tale to, of all things, LEGOs — the LEGO ninjas who star in the Cartoon Network show, “Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu”. Think LEGO Star Wars mixed with kung-fu. For a series of 22-minute LEGO commercials, the show can be surprisingly deep; there is one Big Bad Palpatine/Sauron-like villain, but other antagonists are quite humanized, including Darth -er, Lord Garmadon, or the snake-like Serpentine clans, who actually have legitimate reasons to be angry at mankind.
The show is targeted mostly at young boys, and the 4 ninjas (Kai, Jay, Zane, and Cole) are all male, as is the Chosen One, Lloyd. But there is one significant female character; Nya, Kai’s sister. Nya is a mecha wiz who dresses up in a robo-Samurai-suit to fight evil, and often bests the boys at their game.
Seasons 1 and 2 of the show had a touch of innocent romance between Nya and Jay, but this was far from the focus. But suddenly, in season 3, Nya wound up in a love triangle between Jay and fellow ninja Cole. A love interest appeared for Zane as well, and it even turned out that Lord Garmadon and his brother, Sensei Wu, had both wooed Padm – er, Misako in the past.
Well, the fan reaction to all this romance, was, essentially, “ewwww”! Not just from the young boys, but the tween girls who were the likely target of it. Many female fans of the show were annoyed that Nya was turned into yet another Bella-like ingenue torn between two suitors, as opposed to a heroine in her own right who just happened to be dating another ensemble character.
And so this brings me to Mockingjay, and the debates over how much romance will, and should, be in the films. It seems the fan consensus for THG was that one of the film’s major flaws was how the K/P ship was not only downplayed, but done so in a way that shorted Peeta as a character. For the CF movie, I was mostly satisfied both with the “balance” between K/P and K/G and the overall amount of romance , but I certainly recall some Everlarkers griping “no plant book scene”, “no rooftop scene”, or “that beach kiss was NOT passionate enough” (I actually agree with the last one; it was cute, but not one that made me think Katniss was having sexy feelings down below, the way the book scene certainly did.)
What will we see in the MJ films, though? Certainly, two films give the film-makers extra time for romance, but that doesn’t mean all the book scenes will make it in. Some of the extra time will be given to added scenes, such as battles, or exposition scenes between Snow and his new adviser, Antonius, and we’ll likely get a peek at Coin’s machinations as well. So in keeping with the general trends, I forecast some romantic scenes being edited, cut down, or merged with others.
Again, the “balance” between K/P and K/G will be crucial, especially given Peeta’s absence in most of Part 1, and the difficulty even SC herself had with sinking K/G not only as a romance, but as a friendship as well (I refer, again, to the many “post-MJ” fanfics that feature a K/G reconciliation at least as friends.)
What I think fans also should keep in mind, is that the MJ book itself was a much less “romantic” a book than certainly CF, or even THG. To me, even before Peeta reappeared, MJ made it obvious that the only potential K/G had, even without the clashes in values, was a “lifeboat camaraderie” type friendship with some “hurt/comfort” thrown in. (And to be fair, K/P has these aspects as well, but goes beyond it in a way K/G didn’t.) Note that SC herself had to be nudged by her editor into writing “more of the Peeta-Katniss-Gale love triangle”. (Source)
Now, this little tidbit makes me highly suspect that the very Twilight-ish “who will she choose” scene between Peeta and Gale in Tigris’s shop was added on by SC in response to her editor’s suggestions. Considering how the films so far have tended to cut out the “cheesier” romantic scenes and lines, I think that if we do see the scene, it will be quite cut down, though Gale’s “she’ll choose who she can’t survive without” comment may be left in. And it certainly may, as Katniss’s later musings about “what I need to survive” show much about the characters of all Love Triangle Trio members. Also, in the books, Katniss only reflects on this comment internally. Certainly, book!Katniss actually verbalizing her complicated feelings to Peeta (or to Gale) would have been quite OOC. But movie!Katniss is not quite as introverted (a change I certainly prefer to cheesy voice-overs), and it will be interesting to see how the movie converts her thoughts to actual dialogue. In this way, I can see the MJ movies having a more “romantic” component than the books.
My own take on the series is that, romance is certainly a large component of it; certainly more than the Y-7 rated Ninjago. Not only do we have the central love triangle, we also have Mr. M, Mrs. E and Mr. E, Annie and Finnick, and so on. I certainly don’t agree with the extreme anti-romance “Katniss was incapable of loving anyone but Prim, she just chose Peeta because she was stuck with him and did what she could to survive” theory. But in the end, it is NOT a romance in terms of the genre. So I’m not personally going to wait with baited breath for each book kiss to appear on the scene.
I think SC meant for the romance to take a back seat in MJ, and only be established towards the end, in the context of not only two hot bodies going at it, but a long-lasting relationship that produces children, to provide a ray of hope at the end. I also hope the films convey the idea that the “choice” between Peeta and Gale wasn’t just a choice between two men (unlike Nya’s choice, as her suitors are both “good guys” who pretty much look the same except for wig and costume) but one between two different ways of life. Can movie!Katniss become one of the few pop culture heroines who isn’t JUST a “romantic” or “action” heroine, but transcends both?
One can only hope.
Sometimes reality takes a hold of us here at Victor’s Village in both good and bad ways. Jobs take us away, holidays to locations where Internet access is shoddy at best, or maybe perhaps there’s a wedding to celebrate? I didn’t ask if it was alright to bring this up before hand, but if you haven’t noticed lately that The Girl With The Pearl has not been posting articles penned by her self lately, you all should know by now that that’s because she’s been body snatched by a white gown wearing lady person. Der, she’s getting married! Or better yet, she got married– today actually. So if you’re not ready to throw virtual confetti at her (’cause rice kills birds fools), you’re sad and need to go regroup post-haste!
Ahhhhhh!! Congratulations The Girl With The Pearl!!
All the wedding planning was probably both a challenge as well as a bit of a thrill. But I can’t help but think of parallels between our dear founder’s wedding planning, and subsequent wedding bliss (I saw pictures, looked pretty blissful to me), with the only wedding fully realized in the beloved series that brought us all together here at Victor’s Village. I’m speaking of course of the wedding of Finnick Odair and Annie Cresta in Mockingjay. Annie and Finnick’s wedding wasn’t that different from most people’s I think, there was cake, there were vows, there were tears, and there was dancing, and music. Only difference I can think of between a normal North American wedding like our dear Girl With The Pearl’s, and Finnick and Annie’s was a lack of planning. I know that The Girl With The Pearl’s wedding and reception took months on end to plan out, Annie and Finnick’s was somewhat spontaneous, and more of a reprieve from the chaos, and upheaval of the war situation their world was surrounded with, as well as by. The Girl With The
Pearl and her now husband do not live in a war state, and planning of their wedding was an absolute necessity considering logistics of family, as well as most other contemporary expectations, and I’d also like to think of their wedding and reception as the reprieve from planning all of it! Annie and Finnick seemed to just kind of show up, Annie wore a borrowed dress from Katniss’ vast Capitol wardrobe, not out of choice, but out of necessity as she literally owned nothing wedding worthy after being rescued from the clutches of the Capitol. The Girl With The Pearl on the other hand found her dress months ago, and went to multiple fittings so it would fit perfectly. Annie, well– Annie dawned Katniss’ dress and hoped for the best on the day of her wedding. Who had the right idea though? That’s a question that can never be answered I’m afraid. Why? Because one’s a fictional wedding between two fictional people, and The Girl With The Pearl and her husband are very real people.
On that note, let’s all wish them a happy Honeymoon, and all collectively hold our breath for those few minutes in Mockingjay: Part Two when we finally get to see Finnick and Annie’s wedding on a flickering screen and not playing out in our heads.
Congratulations Kait, erm… I mean The Girl With The Pearl!
Them There Eyes