Category Archives: Books

Will Mockingjay Part 1 Promo Keep Peeta’s “Secret?”

During our Mockingjay Trailer Reaction Post, I was surprised that my fellow VV ladies thought that the Mockingjay Part 1 promotion might try to keep Peeta’s hijacking a secret. I had never imagined that they would actually try to pull it off, because look at that sentence before – I just spoiled the secret! It’s so hard to live spoiler-free and when we’re talking major book adaptations, it’s even more difficult.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t try. I’m intrigued by this now.

peeta capitolSo in this scenario, what we continue to see is white-suited Capitol PR Peeta throughout the next two months. Any Peeta stills or new footage in tv clips are of this polished Peeta. This is certainly achievable, but this is the one thing that Lionsgate can control.

In interviews, they can control some of the things being asked but I can’t imagine they could keep the hijacked Peeta questions completely at bay. It’s too damn tempting. The media may hold off from overtly spoiling the surprise and instead ask softball questions like, “Peeta’s character goes to a very dark place in this movie. Did you find that challenging?” Still though, I think direct hijacking questions will happen. I think the hijacking will come up in movie reviews. So keeping Peeta’s storyline completely a secret to those non-book readers? I’m skeptical it will work unless you’re a very “unplugged” type of person who basically shows up to movies after seeing the trailer or tv spots and nothing else.

So why go to the trouble? Well, even though it’s hard for me to imagine that kind of lifestyle, there are a lot of unplugged type of moviegoers who just show up without much pre-knowledge.  I work with lots of them and they were BLOWN THE EFF AWAY by the Catching Fire surprises.

And for the rest of us, even if we know what will happen, I imagine seeing tortured/hijacked Peeta for the first time in the movie itself (with no stills, no video tease to prepare you, nothing) would be all the more jarring.  The NFL learned in the past few weeks that the public responds differently to knowing about something terrible versus actually seeing it happen. Image and sound add an extra element of powerful realness to horrible things.

If hijacked Peeta is kept officially under wraps until showtime, then we also wonder if they’re ending it at the strangling scene. Again, I’ve always thought no way. It’s too traumatizing to be left for a year on that, right? I figured they would end it with her going to District 2, or in District 2. Would they actually dare to end this movie with Peeta strangling Katniss? WOULD THEY REALLY DO THIS? Well,they weren’t afraid to end Catching Fire on “there is no District 12,” so they aren’t afraid of big cliffhangers.

I’m scared and excited and don’t know what else I’m feeling but it’s a lot of things. 

JJ

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Reaction Post: Mockingjay Part 1 Trailer

It’s that time again, that time where the bloggers of Victor’s Village sit down at our respective computers, and chew the fat about the trailers, and in this case it’s the final trailer for Mockingjay Part 1! Yep, the one we’ve been waiting for for about four months!

 

WHERE SOUND OF MUSIC REFERENCES ARE MADE WITHOUT SHAME OR IRONY
The Girl With The Pearl
: Okay, let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to staaaaaart!)

Them There Eyes: Sew… a needle pulling Katniss around like a marionette!

JJ: Katniss’s line is fantastic.

TGWTP: Katniss is talking, and there’s these nice shots of her and Prim and Gale… and then you realize she’s pretty much face-timing with President Snow?

JJ: A big new addition to the screenplay! Snow looks so fiendish there. It’s so unnerving.

TTE: Also Jennifer Lawrence has a Sexy Lauren Bacall voice, which is über important to note.

TGWTP: I’m not sure if I like them chatting. Doubt it will ruin the movie, but it felt weeeeeird. Though the Lauren Bacall voice IS lovely. Read the rest of this entry

The Mockingjay Is Revealed-ed

The Mockingjay has been revealed! And, and, and– um, well, she looks like a cross between Batman and Jesus. Take a look for your selves!

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To steal from a dear friend from the fandom (thank you Erin), we’re going to call this poster “The Beakness” from here on out. ‘Cause if you look, and not even that closely, the Mockingjay’s beak looks like it is in fact poking out of Katniss’s neck. That’s right folks, Katniss has been impaled by a giant, gold, bird. It’s just what we’ve always wanted, right?! Probably not.

tumblr_mw1rkweIrR1sgl0ajo1_500

Yesterday when I saw this poster for the first time, ’cause– hey it was up on a Lionsgate affiliated promotional materials website, so it was fair game, I thought thoughts that were none too flattering. These were not good thoughts to be having about something I’m supposed to hold in high regard, but– I couldn’t help it. I have high standards, like Vermeer kind of standards, and this poster looks like something that was worked over so much with Photoshop that Jennifer Lawrence’s cheeks have been whittled out so much that that may not even be Jennifer Lawrence! That’s a frightening thought, the entire poster could be computer generated, and they were working from a facsimile of Jen, that they forgot what she really looks like, and– and now whoever that is looks like a boy wearing a molded breastplate, or Bat-Jesus. I want to banish these thoughts from my mind! Also if you’ve got a problem with me saying Katniss looks like Jesus, she is a savior figure– it’s not an unfounded comparison. These are not good things to be thinking, damn it! I wish so hard that my impressions of this work had changed since yesterday, but obviously they haven’t. I want to be thinking good things about the materials that are being released in promotion for this film franchise! And to put a bright red cherry on top of this disappointment, we were given another teaser to tease the release of the final trailer!

WHAT?! My actual reaction to this information was a lot more colorful, lemme tell you! F words, people– F words, and C words, and phrases that sound like “flock meeses”, and “flu falls”. If that was not your reaction as well, I’d like you to explain to me how you can, in your right mind be all right with the way in which this film has been advertized so far. Because from where I’m sittin’, it’s been less than stellar– and if that pisses the Powers That Be Off, SO BLOODY BE IT. I’m disappointed! I’m not connecting to the material, it feels empty, and I want better for the franchise based on one of my all time favorite book series’! Is that too much to ask for?

Resting on your laurels only makes one thing happen– people forget you, and will find something else to pay attention to.

Them There Eyes

 

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!
Rebels_Messalla2

Rebels_Cressida2

Rebels_Castor2

Rebels_Pollux2

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

Castles in Our Midst

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

We’ve Got Character Posters

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 b21cc9aa25d9683d52cf39fa70eb23b6a0cbb880perhaps 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

Cressida Questions

In our earlier trailer reaction post, we didn’t touch on the first (non-paparazzi) glimpse at Cressida in all her green-vine tattooed glory. It was only a quick shot while in the hospital in 8, but the trailer did give us a hint at what to expect from this character.

Outside of Julianne Moore, casting Natalie Dormer as Cressida was Mockingjay’s only widely-known addition to the cast. And it was a smart move.  While primarily known for her TV roles on Game of Thrones, Elementary, and The Tudors, the woman has a very strong fan following. Casting Dormer motivated me, at least, to pay more attention to this character.

In Mockingjay, Cressida is a Capitol rebel without much of a backstory.  Maybe that’s why I never really paid much attention to her. But I’ve just finished another re-reading of Mockingjay, and there’s a lot for an actress like Dormer to work with. Cressida’s smart and committed to her work (she’ll go after the perfect shot even if it’s dangerous). She’s got the emotional intelligence to manage the competing ideas of Fulvia Cardew, while getting HER OWN project completed. And she sticks her neck out for Katniss more than a few times. So that gives her major points with me.

No casting of Fulvia was ever announced, so my hunch is that they gave Cressida a bit of a promotion, making her more of Plutarch’s right hand.  But I also see some of Fulvia’s lines (see above) being given to Plutarch and Cressida having to work around that.

Cressida TeaserGoing back to those few seconds in the trailer, you immediately notice Cressida’s hair and tattoos. The style gives her that nice mix of badass and sexy, which Dormer knows how to play so well.  The concern playing on her face, as she presumably is watching Katniss walk through the hospital, clues you in that she’s a sympathetic character. Though I have to admit, even with the partially shaved head and tattoos, she looks a little more “normal” than I thought. Granted, she’s in the field, and while living in District 13, looking strongly “Capitol” would be discouraged. I imagine when she’s amongst the other residents of District 13 she stands out too much for their taste, but it’s not quite as strikingly Capitol as I had imagined.

Or maybe that’s the point. We don’t know much of anything about her life before District 13, but as a rebel from the Capitol, we know that there must be elements of that culture, that world, that she does not embrace. She probably never dressed or made herself up in the hyper-Capitol style of Effie. Maybe she did just enough to fit in, while trying to find a way out.

I’m happy I finally started paying attention.

JJ

Katniss Everdeen and Girls Who Obviously Do Things #LikeAGirl

Dear ladies,

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:

Yikes.

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

Applicability, Schapplicability: More Mockingjay Musings

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!

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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.

Sometimes we forget that people actually LIVED here

Sometimes we forget that people actually LIVED here

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.

Bull Connor

Bull Connor

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.

Satsuma

Product This

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

I totes want an Audi now

I totes want an Audi now

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

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