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My One Mockingjay Part 1 Gripe

It’s hard to believe it but after three films in The Hunger Games franchise, and after so many gripes about Gary Ross’s treatment, and then my barely there gripes about Francis Lawrence’s treatment of Catching Fire– I only have one, count it ONEMockingjay-gale-poster gripe about Mockingjay Part 1. And that gripe is this, Gale Hawthorne is effectively an orphan.

I know, I know there’s something wrong with me, ’cause my gripe is for all intents and purposes the stripping away Gale of pretty much everything that made him sympathetic in the first place. The fact that he had a family to take care of, not just Katniss, and Katniss’s family, but one all of his own. There was Posy, and Vic, and Rory, and his mother Hazelle. But like Madge Undersee, or Greasy Sae, or Delly Cartwright, Gale’s family was cut down to a brief mention of his “brothers” in The Hunger Games, and then a feigned responsibility to them in Catching Fire by taking up work in the mines, and then finally in Mockingjay Part 1, they’re just no where.

So what happened to Gale’s family? Were they seen as extraneous, or an unneeded distraction from the main points of the story? In my head I’d like to imagine that Gale’s family was on the story boards for a while, they may have even had thoughts of casting them. But then it got away from the creators of the franchise, that they figured Gale alone, stately, tall, and handsome would be enough, and that expanding his home life would not have made him more easy to love, and more of a rival for the affections Katniss has for Peeta. But from where I’m sitting, even though Gale is all of those things, stately, strong, handsome, and solo– he’s not an island, and knowing more about him as a person rather than just a hunter, and a soldier, and a friend– may have been a boon to the story, and perhaps to Liam Hemsworth as an actor. That being said, I loved Mockingjay Part 1 as a film, and if Gale’s family was the sacrifice they made to make it as good as I believe it is, I’ll take it.

So, that’s my one gripe– Gale Hawthorne’s is a storyboard orphan.

Them There Eyes

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Preparing For Mockingjay: Girlie Style

No I have not seen Mockingjay: Part 1 yet! So while I’m doing my best to avoid Twitter, most of my friends Facebook updates, Instagram, and basically every single internet platform not yet hacked by some miscreant cyber gang from Russia– I’m boiling over with unfettered anticipation, and I’m doing what any semi sane Hunger Games fan would be doing– I’m planning out my movie going outfit, of course!

Is it sad that I plan out movie going outfits? Specifically outfits that I’ll be wearing to see Hunger Games movies? I’ve already mapped it all out though, and yes I am wholly aware of how ridiculously girlie this behavior is. I can’t begrudge myself that though, ’cause last time I checked I am a girl! Anyway, if you must know, because I’m likely not going to take a massa_560x0 amount of selfies on the occasion, I’ll be in black, and I’ll be sporting red lipstick, because it’s become sort of a tradition. Every year since The Hunger Games world premiere in Los Angeles, I have warn red lipstick to see the movies for the first time. I guess I’ve always done this because I like idea of old Hollywood glamor, and in my world glamor equates to mildly uncomfortable makeup, and impossibly high heels. This year I’m foregoing the heels though. But what about the rest of me though? But of course since I’ve got one I gotta take it out for what’s probably going to be its only adventure outside ever, a replica headscarf of Effie’s District 13 kerchief. Why? ‘Cause I really want to annoy the people around me with the little ears it’ll put on top of my head. Also, because it’s honestly the only wearable piece of Hunger Games merchandise that I own. Nope, I don’t even own a Mockingjay pin.

So, while I’m probably going to smear lipstick all over my chin during the course of the film, and my mascara is going to run when it gets to any scene involving Peeta– I’m hoping beyond any modicum vanity that I have that Mockingjay: Part 1 lives up to the expectations that I’ve had for it since I read the novel in 2010, four years ago. I think out of all the books Mockingjay is the one that I read and said “this needs to be on a screen!” It might be the scope of war, or the propos, or the emotional rise and fall of the story– but this is the one, the one I need to be better than the last two. Because while The Hunger Games was good, and Catching Fire was as well, Mockingjay can’t rest on its laurels. That’s just my point of view though, not anyone else.

I’ll be seeing Part 1 tomorrow in a 21 and over theatre, so I may take a tipple to help the Peeta feels, cheers Tributes! See you on the other side.

Them There Eyes

Human Flesh, Christmas Carols, and Mockingjay Press

Despite the veritable plague that has over taken half of the principle cast, everyone seems to be putting their best foot forward, and in Jennifer’s case Strep Throat diagnosis or not, she’s stepping foot on nearly every stage, carpet, or otherwise, in a stylish black and white ensemble.

Today I was home in the morning, this was an unprecedented occurrence as I’m usually up and out to work by 8am most days. But not today, today I had the morning off, which meant one thing: I was able to catch Josh Hutcherson on Live with Kelly and Michael, AKA the second most irritating couple on morning American TV next to Hoda and Kathy Lee! So, while I figuratively bit my hand so I wouldn’t fling the remote at Michael or Kelly’s giant heads, I was able to watch two sugary sweet segments of Josh being regaled with pat questions about hair conditioning, and then less sugary sweet subjects like his desire to try human flesh if it was ever offered to him. This only made me think one thing, maybe Josh really wants to do a remake of Alive, the 1993 film about the Uruguayan rugby team that survived after a plane crash in the Andes by resorting to eating the bodies of their dead friends, and fellow passengers. And, none of that can be considered a spoiler any longer, because it came out in ’93, twenty or more years in my humble opinion is ample time to know the plot of films like like Alive. Yes, Josh is a weirdo, but he’s our weirdo– which brings me to Jennifer’s appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.

As of when I am writing this article on the west coast of the United States, Letterman has not aired yet. However, a two-minute clip of Jen’s appearance was released well before air-time of the show in its entirety. And this is what we learned from the clip: Jen and Dave still have an unshakable rapport. Jen looks amazing even though she’s probably still sick as a dog. Dave tried to get her to sing, but Jen was Jen– and ended up demonstrating her singing chops with an anecdote involving her father’s merciless teasing, and a guttural rendition of Holly Jolly Christmas. The most important thing to be learned from this clip however, is that apparently Jen’s voice will be the voice we’ll hear when Katniss sings The Hanging Tree in Mockingjay Part 1. So from the horses mouth, or the girl who likes horses mouth, we now know it’s true– Jen’s singing for reals in Mockingjay Part 1.

Have a holly jolly Christmas guys! Oh wait, it’s November!

Them There Eyes

VICTOR’S VILLAGE STUDENT SERIES: Bread and Circuses in The Hunger Games and the Roman Empire

SURPRISE! We have one more entry in the Victor’s Village student series! This last one is a thought-provoking, meaty article from HGBC’s “assistant fangirl” (aka teaching assistant), peetasgirl!

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In the Roman Empire:

The phrase, “bread and circuses,” was coined during the time of the ancient Roman Empire by Juvenal, a satirical writer. In its original Latin form, the phrase would have been “panem et circenses,” or “bread and games.” This statement has become a common phrase, even in modern political satire. It describes a self-serving government (or emperor) who has done nothing to serve the people, yet is able to maintain popularity by offering state-sponsored “gifts” of food and entertainment. Essentially a bribe, which is unknowingly taken, but which still has the desired effect. It is an underhanded tactic to maintain power and control over a people.

“Panem et circenses” was an actual political strategy, used by the Roman Emperors and Senators to maintain their powerful positions of authority over an ever-increasing span of Empire. These leaders correctly realized that if the general populace – vast in number – were to become dissatisfied with their government, it would be easily overthrown. Later in the Roman Empire, these entitlements had become so popular, that sponsoring the “games” became the peoples’ expectation. Rulers were often judged, not by their effectiveness as public servants, but by the quality of the games/gifts sponsored.

When “panem et circenses” was first penned by Juvenal, he was attempting to awaken the common people to their pathetic attitude of complacency. It was a wake-up call. Juvenal saw himself as a voice to the people, and decried the selfishness and ignorance that he witnessed in the general populace. Roman citizens, who had once proudly participated in their government, had willingly laid aside their civic responsibilities. Instead, they had become satisfied with temporary appeasements from a self-serving government. The citizens had sold their inheritance for a bowl of soup, satisfying the immediate appetites, but at a terrible cost – the loss of their rights in government.

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In The Hunger Games:

The post-apocalyptic nation of Panem draws its name from the first part of Juvenal’s phrase. At first, it seems quite ironic to name a nation “bread,” when its people have so little food. As I think about this, I think it was a brilliant move on the part of the author – it sets up the entire dystopia.

imagesThings are not as they ought to be in Panem. The nation’s name is Panem (bread), which is the one thing that everyone needs in order to survive (food). Naming a nation “bread” implies a land of plenty and promise – provision for all. This is implied in the name. It is a very hopeful name. The government wants to capitalize upon this hope, and BECOME the hope of the people. For this reason, any other source of hope (Katniss) can be dangerous.

The government of Panem made some very calculated moves, in order to be viewed as the sole provider of both bread and hope. There is plenty of bread, but not for everyone. The government (the provider) decides who gets the bread. They use the people’s hope and need as a means of both physical and psychological control. They keep the people hungry, keep them hoping for more, giving grain to the Districts monthly (but never too much), in order to maintain their image as “the provider.” What Panem’s leaders have created is a state of total dependence. By so doing, they ensure that the citizens in the Districts would never rebel against the hand that literally feeds them. The Districts cannot rebel against the Capitol – it is their only hope of survival.

The Capitol itself is another matter. If the citizens in the Capitol were to rebel against the government, there would be upheaval in all of Panem. The Capitol’s citizens live in such close proximity to President Snow and the government agencies, they could easily stage an effective coup. So, it is in the Capitol that we see the Roman Empire’s strategy of “panem et circenses” employed to its fullest extent.

Capitol citizens receive much more than bread – they may have all the food they wish. It is a society where excess has become the status quo. Their entertainment – the “circenses” – is sponsored by the state via The Hunger Games. Tributes fight to the death for the amusement of the Capitol’s citizens, giving them an exciting diversion, and distracting them from the reality of Panem’s national condition.

Crafted by one of HGBC's students

Crafted by one of HGBC’s students

We read about them in the books, living lives of extravagance, and we want to shake them and shout, “Wake up! Can’t you see how all the other Districts in your country are suffering, while you live so luxuriously? It’s not fair!” This is what Juvenal thought about the Romans, and why he made his famous “bread and circuses” statement long ago. Like the citizens of Rome, the citizens of the Capitol are completely ignorant of others’ hardships; they are asleep. The government prefers this, and carefully controls the media to portray the Districts as they see fit.

Capitol citizens are content to never think beyond their own self-centered lives, because they have been appeased by the government, and pacified by the media. They, too, are prisoners of the state of Panem, dependent upon the government as the sole provider of their “bread and circuses.” Unlike the citizens of the Districts, however, the Capitol’s people are completely unaware. They fail to realize their true position.

In Mockingjay, it becomes an especially harsh reality for the Capitol citizens to face, having the thin veneer of “bread and circuses” ripped away. For the first time, they witness what the government – and, unknowingly, themselves – had been carefully orchestrating for 75 years: A volatile nation, filled with governmental corruption and lies, where the wealth of the few weighs heavily upon the shoulders of the poor and starving.

Is it any wonder why Snow works to hard to keep everyone in the dark? To be the only hope?
Peetasgirl

Mockingjay Still-O-Rama Reactions

Mockingjay is less than two weeks away! Besides press tour interviews galore (and the return to the entire cast seemingly getting sick at once), there’s something else coming in droves: NEW STILLS AND BEHIND THE SCENES IMAGES!

Of course, you don’t just see a still. You see it and you have a reaction. Sometimes it’s just a basic “Oh that’s cool!” or “Meh”, but sometimes it’s something much bigger. So let’s share those more substantial reactions:

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Effie’s eyebrows are in a semi-natural state! Now are they gray-ish from years of over-treatment, plucking, etc? Or are we actually supposed to believe that homegirl has naturally light blonde eyebrows? Because as a natural blonde, that does not happen! Wait, what’s Effie’s natural hair color? Does SHE even know?!

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WIIIIIIIIIG! It’s like “The Mole” scene from Austin Powers for us at certain points. It’s not a bad wig– it’s actually a good one, hairline-wise and all that jazz. But you started thinking about how shiny and perfectly wavy her hair looks and then OH YEAH IT’S A WIG. Because nobody’s real hair ever stays that nice. We mean, Woody has a wig too but his reflects his character, thus is a total mess.

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Is that District 13 schematic just like… their screensaver or something? When they don’t have anything relevant to their missions, is that always just there in the background like “HEY GUYS! THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE!”? We’ve seen a lot of that sucker!

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Paylor in contrast to Katniss, Gale, and the film squad is beautiful. She’s got this very salt-to-the-Earth look that’s we’re digging. She is a part of a grassroot rebel movement. They don’t no stinkin’ armor! Okay, they need it, but they don’t have it and they fight anyway. And that is true badassery.

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Snow’s office is awesome and all, but there are young people lined up in Capitol clothing in the upper right-hand corner of this photo. Why are they there? Are they supporters? Could they be consorts toted around the city like Finnick and Johanna were? What are you doing to them Snow?!

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So you’re telling me that the dude with the cowboy hat and mutton chops is NOT in the movie? DAMMIT! DAMMIT ALL TO HELL! WHY NOT?!

Mockingjay Press Has Begun!

Over the last several years of covering all things and everything Hunger Games, there are a handful of things that always remain the same. Two of them are that when there’s no news, it’s like a desert wasteland. However, when there is Hunger Games news and/ or press, it’s like a crashing avalanche down a mountain side. I can’t keep track of all the press, and the announcements for press that have come out within the last couple of days! I know that the majority of the cast are in Europe in preparation for the world premiere of Mockingjay Part 1 this coming week in London. So when Liam and Jennifer show up on German television sans Josh, ’cause Josh is ill– I’m not in as much of a clamor as

Perfectly coiffed, and fresh from the ER, that's our Jen!

Perfectly coiffed, and fresh from the ER, that’s our Jen!

I maybe should be, ’cause if I am at level 100 on the excitement scale every single time these people show up on TV over the next few weeks, I think I’ll die of exhaustion, or an aneurism, take your pick. All that being said and done, if anything is like how it was last year during and after the whirlwind press for Catching Fire, the cast are going to be sick as dogs by the time they get to Los Angeles– and in perfect Jennifer Lawrence fashion, she’ll be whisked off to the emergency room with acute abdominal pains, then show up to the premiere looking coiffed, and refined in Chanel.

I suggest you start somewhere though, press coverage wise– because following it all as it unfolds is near impossible unless you spend your life on Twitter, or your phone– or both. Most of the top Hunger Games fan-site are keeping track of everything for us lazy lots though, so if you get lost– go here, and just start clicking! You can’t go wrong with watching a few of the interviews that have come out, or will be coming out, but mix it up a bit, because they are going to start repeating them selves, ’cause journalists have a tendency of asking them same questions over and over again. So if Josh Hutcherson starts to look glazed over, and not just from the fevered illness he’s already infected with, and he starts sounding incredibly robotic, switch to something else! Like perhaps Jennifer Lawrence drawing horses on cakes.

Pace your selves guys! And remember to hydrate. BTW, props to Jen for still doing press while she feels like death warmed over!

Them There Eyes

The Animals of The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games trilogy is rich with animals. No surprise there considering that animals for most equate to food for most people, and not pets. For starters there’s Katniss and Gale who are hunters out of necessity, they’re probably the characters in the story that encounter and/or have the most interaction with animals throughout the series, and I mean both dead and
living ones. From the squirrels, rabbits, and birds that Katniss and Gale snare, or shoot, to Lady the goat, and Buttercup the cat– District 12 may be the most animal friendly district in the whole of Panem, that is when they’re not making wild dog stew, and supplementing rat meat for chicken. That being said animals have other purposes besides sustenance and companionship.

She kind of deserved some screen time, no?

She kind of deserved some screen time, no?

The Muttations of the Games: they are fierce, they are frightening, they are grotesque, and they serve no purpose other than to maim, traumatise, kill— and most disgustingly, entertain the audience. From the fluffy killer squirrels of Haymitch’s Games, to the wolf Mutts of Katniss and Peeta’s first Games (later revamped into dog Mutts for the film adaptation), to the monkey/ baboon Mutts of their second Games, and most psychologically frightening of them all, the Jabberjays– Panem does not want for wildlife, manufactured or not. But then there’s the accidents of the Capitol– the Mockingjay. The cross breed that never should have been, that was created out of laziness, or perhaps a species shear will to survive?

Concept art is cool-- and scary.

Concept art is cool– and scary.

This morning during breakfast I was channel surfing through the short stack of channels at my disposal, I ended up on a Saturday morning animal show hosted by the world-famous Jack Hanna– the wildlife expert who always has a way of sounding like he knows nothing about animals when he’s got an endangered species crawling up his leg, or across his chest. While I was watching this show, where Hanna was traipsing across a Kenyan wildlife refuge, and gawking at a rare species of giraffe, I was struck with the disturbing thought of, what if Panem had a version of Jack Hanna, but instead of educating the Capitol public on magnificent creatures from near and far, that they showcased Muttation species from past and present Games? Abominations of nature, spliced together genomes of big cats, and arachnids– creating animals that resemble caber tooth tigers, with bites that rip you apart, whilst simultaneously shooting stinging venom into your wounds– so on top of losing limbs, you’re in excruciating, nerve shattering pain induced by lab intensified venom. The nightmarish possibilities are endless really.

There’s a consolation prize to the sick, twisted, fascination the Capitol has with creating the worst out of nature’s best. Cat’s from District 12 survive wars, travel home from hundreds of miles, and help heal protagonists.

Thanks Buttercup.

No really, thanks you rage/ tear inducing, matted, mongrel.

No really, thanks you range/ tear inducing, matted, mongrel.

Them There Eyes

Final Trailer Reaction Post

The final trailer was released this morning, and that means one thing– collective fandom flailing across the globe, and a patented Victor’s Village reaction post featuring all three of us. So without further nattering, here’s the trailer, and under the cut will be our lovely non politically correct reactions!

BURNING AND STUFF
JJ: Yep let’s talk burning!
Them There Eyes: First off, everybody state where they watched the final trailer! JJ: In my office cube, with headphones though.
TTE: Grocery store parking lot!
The Girl With The Pearl: Hiding in the work bathroom. ALL TIME LOW.
TTE: The Girl With The Pearl wins!
JJ: You gotta do what you gotta do
TTE: Exactly, plus I warned not to have food stuffs around me, in case I flailed, screamed, or choked on anything.
TGWTP: Winning, in the worst way possible.
TTE: Hey, at least your not Peeta! Which brings us to the fact that today was yet another day of extreme Peeta-Feels.
TGWTP: Poor Peeta! That line delivery was beautiful though!
JJ: Every shot of Peeta we see gets worse for him. Thanks, Francis. But Josh totally owned it. So well done!
TTE: I know, but we’re total gluttons for tortured Peeta. And yep, Josh is winning all the emotive awards today.
JJ: He’s mastered the teary eyes. I imagine we’ll see more of that. And it will destroy us even more.
TGWTP: But the feeling bad is a good thing! No one can say they don’t understand Katniss’ Peeta-Feels.
JJ: We all feel Katniss’s pain!
TTE: I’m looking forward to feeling destroyed by Josh Hutcherson’s acting abilities.
JJ: Yes, let him shine, especially since his screen time will be limited.
TGWTP: I feel like Josh deserves much more acting credit than he gets.
TTE: He’s been making us cry since Bridge to Tarabithia.
TGWTP: This movie could open a major doorway as he’s an adult actor now.
TTE: You mean it could turn him into the next Ryan Gosling? Or maybe Jake Gyllanhaal?
TGWTP: I could get behind that!
JJ: I approve of all these.
TTE: If he’s going to base his career on anything, I’d hope it would be those two.

(more…)

STOP EVERYTHING! Elizabeth Banks Is Talking Hayffie

We normally don’t post on Tuesdays, but there’s something awesome to take note of!

The Hunger Games fandom has been super happy with the recent TV spots and the announcement that we are getting a second trailer after all (and it’s coming tomorrow!)

But today, we’re just incredibly delighted by Elizabeth Banks confessing that she’s just like us! She too ships Haymitch and Effie, aka Hayffie!

While we also secretly love another Haymitch ship with Hazelle, Gale’s mom, there’s always been room for Hayffie in our hearts. This is especially true in the films because 1) Hazelle isn’t there and 2) Haymitch and Effie’s back-and-forth in the film is giggleworthy and fun!

Where do you stand on the Hayffie ship?

TOASTBABIES?!?!

Today the lucky subscribers of Empire Magazine got their December edition with the Mockingjay cover story we’ve all been waiting for. We’ll have to wait until Thursday for the edition to go on sale, but I read it and the article is FULL of good stuff. For today I’m going to grab on to one teasy tid-bit and take it all the way down the rabbit hole to crazy speculation land because LAST WEEK’S MOCKINGJAY TV SPOTS HAD SAD, BRUISED PEETA AND WE NEED THIS.

The story says that there is one last scene to complete “possibly featuring [Jennifer Lawrence’s] nephews in roles we won’t spoil.”

Soooo, where did your mind go just then? Are you thinking what we’re thinking?

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Is one or both (does she have more than 2?) of her nephews going to be playing her children?

Ever since Nina Jacobson hinted via twitter that yes, the Epilogue would be in the movie, we’ve been able to move from worrying about it being included to obsessing about how it would take shape. Would they cast Katniss and Peeta’s children, those precious little toastbabies that give the ending of this story that extra bit of lightness and hope that is needed after this journey of pain?

Now, it’s certainly a leap to go from that story blurb to OMG Jen’s nephews are going to be boy toastbaby in some way. But if you’ve ever seen those adorable children with the blond curls you’d know they could physically play the part just fine. And I’d imagine it would be meaningful thing for her to include family in something that was such a big part of her career. It’s such a sweet idea, so if it happens, we love it.

The questions then come in – if it’s her nephews, then what about the girl toastbaby? Are they going to change it to two boys? Doubtful. They know the fans, and considering all the crap Gary Ross got for having a black and white cat play Buttercup, I doubt the filmmakers want to annoy us in the last shots of the film by changing the sex of any kiddos. It’s just unnecessary. No, my thought would be maybe they’re filming shots of the kids at different moments at time. Younger, then older. And they’ll cast someone else for the girl child. Maybe another cast or crew member’s relative.

Or maybe, they’ll decide to take a risk and add another boy baby to the mix in a surprise after-the-Epilogue-we-had-another-baby-Suzanne-Collins-endorsed twist. That’s the kind of addition I can get behind.

Or maybe they’ll play random District 12 children. That would still be nice, but less fun to speculate about.

JJ