Fandom

Mockingjay Meta Fiction Friction

Earlier this week, JJ made an excellent post about the best and worst moments in Mockingjay. It did a great job covering the bases, but I’ve still got a bit of a quibble that’s become pretty controversial among fans.

THE END OF THAT DAMN PROPO

The screening of the first propo was pretty brilliant, at first. We saw Katniss’ fierceness through the lenses of Castor and Pollux’s cameras, how District 13 cut and played upon her words for the ultimate effect. Then things got reallllllly familiar: A burning Mockingjay pin with outstretched wings, title treatment font, and Rue’s whistle, musically engineered to sound exactly like every Hunger Games movie promo in existence and the slew of popular ringtones.

THIS... Except with different words. Yep.

THIS… Except with different words. Yep.

Urghhhh.

We’ve talked to friends and fans alike about the decision and the results are pretty mixed. In fact, some people think it’s brilliant, that putting the movie advertising images in almost their exact form straight into the movie was a great nod to the audience and adverts alike. They consider it a tie-in of sorts. And truly, we’re glad they liked it.

Some others, including myself, found it to be so utterly displeasing. Besides taking you out of the scene by reminding you of the commercials, practically screaming “THIS IS A MOVIE! HOPE YOU WEREN’T TOO WRAPPED UP IN IT!” just after a powerful scene, it seems like an awkward pat on the back. Multiple people decided that their advertising style was so witty and perfect that they’d just add it into the movie itself, assuming District 13 would do the same thing a bunch of modern day PR folks did. We realize that big wigs we love, like Francis Lawrence and Nina Jacobson, were probably in on the decision too, so we’ll try not to judge so harshly. Perhaps it was supposed to be coming full circle, but instead some of us hit the fourth wall HARD and broke right through that sucker.

Mind you. we’re not saying that those elements aren’t good for a commercial or a propo. Both are meant to rile up a crowd, but for very different reasons. Could we have two equally smart but not quite so identical ways of riling up people on their couch considering a movie vs. people in a war torn dystopia considering revolution?

Did this ruin the movie for us? OF COURSE NOT! The movie was still incredible overall, but we all have our hangups and quibbles. it won’t haunt us forever, but my face will likely twitch in some fashion every time I watch that part. And then like two minutes later I’ll be fine because Effie is wittily insulting President Coin’s hair. So is the way of the world.

So what do you think? Was the moment a little TOO meta for you? Or was it just right?

We Approve Of Recycling… Just Not In Our Films,
The Girl With The Pearl

That Tone-Deaf Hanging Tree Remix

Remember when we saw the movie and LOVED The Hanging Tree sequence? How we bought the Mockingjay musical score and listened to James Newton Howard’s rendition over and over? How thrilled we were to see it rise to #2 on the iTunes charts (and #1 in many other countries)? How it debuted at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100?

hanging tree

Katniss singing the next Capitol club hit? We don’t think so.

Well someone decided to fuck it all up with an upbeat remix that kills the emotion and message of the song. If you’ve been online the past day, you’ve probably seen a link to it, or heard it.  If you haven’t heard it yet, you may just want to sit it out. Our friends at Jabberjays.net and Hunger Games DWTC have great editorials about why this remix is just so wrong, and we agree wholeheartedly that it needs to be pulled. The original version is what made the song a hit, it didn’t need its entire heart and soul ripped out to play on radio. It just needed enough people to like it and request it. If you want to shorten the arrangement, cool. But change the WHOLE MOOD OF THE SONG INTO SOME KIND OF CAPITOL PARODY? This move was clearly led and made by people who don’t care about the message of the song, and had no clue about why we love it.

But they did it. And it’s a major bummer that something we were so happy about was bastardized and could be played to the masses as if it were the real Hanging Tree track. We’ve noticed that the song has disappeared from the soundcloud and YouTube sources, so that gives us hope this remix might get buried. But in case it doesn’t, what can we do? Well, we can ask radio stations to play the original version instead. Tell Republic Records. Buy the original track from the movie. Watch the original version on YouTube.

No remixes needed, thanks.

If I hear that remix on the radio, I’m changing the station, and then tweeting them to play the original version.

JJ

Mockingjay Emoji Magic

Sometimes, it’s the little things that count.

See, there’s lots of big things to talk about in the wake of Mockingjay Part 1’s release: Themes and box offices and reactions and…

OMG FACEBOOK JUST RELEASED A MOCKINGJAY STICKER SET!

A small sampling thanks to HungerGamesDWTC.Net

A small sampling thanks to HungerGamesDWTC.Net

Yes, we’re that easily amused. No, we’re not even a little bit sorry.

For all the marketing campaigns and contests and fancy schmancy apps created to promote the film, we’ve had about ten thousand times more fun sneak attacking everyone we know with these silly little stickers on messages and comments. Because as much as fans want to analyze the series and its deep meaning, sometimes you just gotta have fun with it!

The sticker artist was clearly taking the caricature approach, but we totally dig it. From ridiculous faces and giant jaws, it isn’t actually about actor worship. Instead it’s about the characters. Who woulda thunk it?!

And there’s a Mockingjay based emoticon for everything, people!
Too much spiked eggnog? Boozy Haymitch!
Can’t answer a simple question due to too much spiked eggnog? Cross-eyed, shrugging Peeta!
Getting overconfident with someone attractive? Lovestruck Finnick!
Pissed about their rejection of your overconfident flirtations? Katniss about to shoot someone with an arrow!
And for just about anything else? Caesar throwing his head back and basking in glory!

BOOM! THAT JUST HAPPENED!

So let’s take a moment to celebrate the little moments in fandom that make us happy… then let’s harass our Facebook friends with them!

Just Call It Sticker Shock! GET IT?!
The Girl With The Pearl

The Hanging Tree: Breaking All the Rules

Jennifer Lawrence may have been more apprehensive shooting the pivotal Hanging Tree scene in Mockingjay Part 1, than she was shooting most other scenes in the entire franchise, but I think her nerves benefited her performance rather than hindered it. Money talks in so many ways, if people don’t spend it items for sale are considered failures, if people buy them in droves they’re a success– The Hanging Tree by that definition is a success then, because it’s breaking sale records left and right. As of Saturday the 29th of November, The Hanging Tree is the second most purchased song on the US iTunes chart. In the UK it’s in the number seven position, and on the Continent in countries like the Netherlands it’s at number four, and Germany where it’s at number one. I’m not sure if the popularity of this song is due to the fact that it’s sung by Jennifer Lawrence, that it’s part of the Hunger Games mythology, or that it’s just a good song– so I’m going to chalk it up to all three factors.

Jennifer Lawrence has said it numerous times that she doesn’t think she’s a good singer. The proof is in the recording however, ’cause as much humming and hawing as she did pre-Mockingjay Part 1’s release, the audience and her co-workers and friends say otherwise. I’ll even admit that I believed the pre-movie hype that Jen’s singing chops were sub par, but I think all the objections she’s made may be the vocalizations of years of childhood insecurity rearing its ugly head. Jen, lemme put it into words that you will never read, ’cause this is a fan-written blog, and you’re clearly a smart young woman who stays away from the Internet 90% of the time– but, you’re a good singer, and you should be nicer to your self, and also stop listening to your dad– dad’s are notorious assholes to their daughters. Dad’s pour ice water on us to wake us up before school, they also tell us there are monsters in our closets, or that gummy worms are real worms, or that chocolate is dirt– or they make fun of our singing voices after talent shows–so, for the love of god, tell your memories of your dad making fun of you to the back the hell up, and look at the song buying charts, and feel a little proud.

Give Jen a hand, she sang in front of people and she didn’t die! She cried a little, but she did not die!

Them There Eyes

P.S Anyone hoping Hanging Tree gets nominated for an Oscar? If that even possible?

Mockingjay Has Been Split into Two Movies. Get Over It or GTFO.

This post will be about the fact that Mockingjay was split into two movies, but there will be no mention of where the split happens or spoilers about the film.

If you’ve read any negative reviews of Mockingjay Part 1, you can be sure that a major gripe with the reviewer is that Mockingjay is continuing the trend of making the final book of a series into multiple movies. These people want the trend to DIE because they don’t want Hollywood to make more money on blockbuster movies at the expense of the sanctity of cinema. It’s a cash grab that offends them on behalf of the moviegoers that actually have to pay to see movies. Meanwhile the publication they write for probably has articles every other week about how Hollywood isn’t growing box office receipts enough. Negativity begets web traffic which begets more ad dollars which keeps that person in a job.

Katniss CoinWhen Lionsgate made the decision to split Mockingjay into two movies, I think the decision was purely financial. They weren’t thinking it would make the fans happy, they were thinking that the audience who had miraculously made The Hunger Games into a monster hit would be willing to stick around, so it would be fiscally irresponsible NOT TO make an additional film. If you’re a studio executive, you don’t leave money like that on the table if you want to keep your job for long.

I don’t own any Lionsgate stock, so I don’t have any stake in their financial success. However, I would be pissed if they decided to keep the budget low and make two cheap films to squeeze even more dollars out of the franchise. But they didn’t. They bankrolled talented people to make these movies and gave it a large enough budget to look great. If they give me two movies I enjoy, I will happily pay to see each one.

D8-Hospital1-620x413And you know what, I’ve seen Mockingjay Part 1 twice now, and I love it. I’m glad I get two films to go more into detail of a book that means so much to me. If they had made just one movie, it would have been rushed, and long, and left too much out.  Yes, at the end, I really wanted the movie to keep going, but that’s the point. It’s not going to end in a neat little bow. I was prepared for that, so I’m a satisfied movie-goer.

So let’s break it down, who is going to be unhappy about Mockingjay being two movies?

  • People who don’t really like the book.
  • People blinded by the “YA” heritage of this series to see the universal relevance of the story.
  • People who haven’t read the book but just show up for THE HUNGER GAMES killin’ action movie or because Jennifer Lawrence is hot, without any self-awareness or care of how “Capitol” that sentiment is.

At the end of the day, if Mockingjay had been one movie, I don’t think it would have won over those people anyway. The book is a huge departure from the first two in the series. It’s darker and more introspective and not for everyone. But I’m ready to see Mockingjay Part 1 yet again, and will enjoy the ride up to the finale next year.

Happy Mockingjay PART 1 weekend,

JJ

 

Mockingay Part 1 Premiere Day Fan Frenzy

It’s another milestone day. The LA premiere! Reddit AMA, Twitter Chat, Facebook Fan Events! So much goodness all at once, it’s hard to pick just one.

mj la premiere starsWe were very excited to see the Facebook Fan event, because we saw previews of it from when it occurred on Saturday. It did start, how should we say, fashionably late so we haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, because it was PREMIERE TIME.

But while we waited for the Facebook event and the Premiere Livestream to start, we noticed something interesting. Music that seemed very much to be the Mockingjay Part 1 Score started playing. And then that theory was cemented when a female voice started singing The Hanging Tree. At first it was confusing. Who is that singing?

OMG THIS IS JEN SINGING THE HANGING TREE.

Yes, I kept listening because it was on and IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. So beautiful. I can’t wait to see it on film. The score beyond that sounds great, with tones from the previous films.

More bts stories!

More bts stories please!

But onto the Premiere! The WHITE carpet looked super cool and everyone was there. New faces like Patina Miller, who wanted to keep her Commander Paylor boots because it helped her immediately get into character. Mahershala Ali told us that Francis Lawrence made blooper reel that documented how things were so wacky off camera and then would immediately become serious at the word “action.” WE MUST SEE THIS. THIS MUST BE A DVD EXTRA PLEASE.

The livestream hosts kept asking about pranks. It seemed to be their go to question. So we learned that Jeffrey Wright had a close call when Jennifer tried to push him in Beetee’s wheelchair. Liam shared that he tries to be zen when around the Jen and Josh craziness. Jen’s favorite costume was her tribute parade costume in Catching Fire and Josh wanted to keep Finnick’s trident from Catching Fire. A lot of soundbites given. A lot of pictures taken. But the best thing about today is that we can now say this is the week the movie opens!

It’s almost movie time!

JJ

VICTOR’S VILLAGE STUDENT SERIES: Hunger Games History

We’re back with another installment of the Student Series! This time, HGBC’s class is digging into the historic events that likely inspired the series!

____________________________________________________

I can hear Caesar Flickerman doing a “Whoo whoo whoo!”

I can hear Caesar Flickerman doing a “Whoo whoo whoo!”

If you haven’t noticed the correlation between ‘The Hunger Games’ and history… well, my friends, you’ve missed some of the whole point of how Suzanne Collins wrote the books. Not only did she intentionally write the reaping as a version of the “Theseus and the Minotaur” Greek myth, and Katniss’ story a reinvention of the real slave-turned-gladiator-turned-rebel Spartacus, but so much of the setting of the books is from your Roman history book. The tributes, the arenas, most of the names of Capitol citizens, and the Capitol’s excess: it all comes from Rome. In the following post, one of my high school students explains the connection of Roman gladiators to ‘The Hunger Games’.

From cactus: When you are first reading or explained the concept of the Hunger Games, the first word that will spring to mind is “Gladiator”. But the Games are even more similar to Roman gladiators than you might think. Here are the examples:

Roman inspired with a twist of sci fi

Roman inspired with a twist of sci fi

The easiest similarity to find (which is mostly based off of stereotypes and assumptions we make about Roman gladiators, which is actually a relatively small part of their culture, concerning their gladiatorial games) is probably the tributes fighting to the death in an enclosed arena.

Best scenario: to be attacked by a Mutt or a lion?

Best scenario: to be attacked by a Mutt or a lion?

What a lot of people don’t know is that the Gladiators were living in poverty, like 90% of the tributes, before they were chosen or forced into the arena. Many of the gladiators were, in fact, prisoners of war, or slaves, which can also be related to the people of the districts. But if and when a gladiator is victorious over his or her opponents, they are showered in riches, much like the victor of the Hunger Games. The only difference is that a lot of the time, even the victorious gladiator is sent back into the arena to fight again for the audience’s amusement, but even then, ‘Catching Fire’ can slightly relate to that when all of the tributes are former victors.

In Rome, they also had people fight animals, like lions for entertainment, or publicly executed Christians or “Pagans” in the arena. So whatever dystopian vibe ‘The Hunger Games’ emits, ancient Rome was far more corrupt and violent.

What about Rome and reality television? Tag, you’re it.
Hunger Games Bookclub

VICTOR’S VILLAGE STUDENT SERIES: No Place For A Girl On Fire

We’re back with Part 2 of our 3-part Student Series! Check out squirrelonfire’s thoughts on the power of repetition in the trilogy. Also, how much do you love that tag name?!

Be sure to comment and tell HGBC and her students what you think!

____________________________________________________

One of my favorite things about in-depth re-reads of this trilogy is finding all the little phrases and words that Suzanne Collins used to build these books. For example, she describes Peeta as strong and steady repeatedly in ‘The Hunger Games’. That is one reason why it is so devastating when Peeta becomes… well… not steady. Another favorite repeated word is “owe”. When Haymitch brings home two victors instead of one, she owes him. When Finnick saves Peeta’s life, she owes him. AND SHE HATES OWING ANYONE ANYTHING!

I promise myself I will defeat his plan

I promise myself I will defeat his plan

One of my students goes into depth on this topic…

By squirrelonfire: “Catching Fire” has many themes of repetition, one of which being that Katniss keeps thinking about what she owes everyone (mostly Peeta). Katniss and Haymitch both agree that they owe Peeta, but they have different ideas of what that means. Katniss believe that since Haymitch worked so hard in the last games to keep her alive that it is Peeta’s turn to get saved. And Haymitch thinks that since he helped Katniss last time, Peeta gets to choose what he wants in these games. This is very interesting in how it plays out because Peeta will stop at nothing to save Katniss, while Katniss is trying to save Peeta but still not sure what she wants. Katniss is always changing her mind about what she owes different people. I think that it would be exhausting, but Suzanne Collins uses it as a tactic to write how Katniss thinks about different people and situations.

No place for a girl like me? Just watch me, Snow.

No place for a girl like me? Just watch me, Snow.

One of the other topics that I find interesting is the “Girl on Fire” as the theme of how the public (in the Capitol as well as the districts) views her. In the Capitol, it is just a fascinating fad started by a talented stylist and they love it, but the people in the districts see it as much more. In the districts, it is a spark that will start a fire that is rebellion. And they use her and her mockingjay as a symbol of defiance. “Girl on Fire” isn’t only how the public views Katniss, but also how she views herself. I really like the last sentence of “Catching Fire” Part II where she sees the arena and thinks: This is no place for a girl on fire.

Perhaps you “owe” it to yourself to find your own favorite repetition,

Hunger Games Bookclub

VICTOR’S VILLAGE STUDENT SERIES: Catching Fire Flashback

We’ve got a short but very exciting new series here on Victor’s Village! Our friend Hunger Games Bookclub is now teaching The Hunger Games to our youth as part of her Creative Writing class!

For the next three days, we’ll be posting guest posts from HGBC and her students, gaining unique perspectives on a series that they’ve (understandably) become very enthusiastic about! We’re calling it our “Student Series”. Almost sounds professional, right?!

By all means, please share your thoughts about the posts with HGBC and her teen students!

________________________________________________

*Spoiler Alert*

Flashback to the first time that you read ‘Catching Fire’: the gasp when you realized Peeta had been taken hostage and the chill in your bones at Gale’s words,

“Katniss, there is no District Twelve.”

17542

Kindergarten Katniss and Peeta? Awwww!

Were you a teenager? Those of us fans that discovered ‘The Hunger Games’ in our adult years sometimes forget that the trilogy was written for the teens. Teaching a high school class on ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy has given me opportunity to look at Katniss’ story again through fresh (much younger!) eyes. The following are excerpts written by several of my students from an assignment on Literary Devices in the books. I hope it reminds you that Suzanne Collins not only wrote an action-packed trilogy, but she also told a layered, complex story in a way that was accessible for young adult readers.

From thereisnodistrict14: A flashback is a literary device used by authors to convey a message to the reader. It is when a character suddenly remembers something from a long time ago in their life. For example, there is a flashback in ‘Catching Fire’ where Peeta and Katniss are outside the train on the tracks during a train malfuntion. Peeta is telling Katniss about when she was in school and he had a secret crush on her and she sang a song in class. The author is using this flashback to convey to the reader that there is a deeper level to Katniss and Peeta’s artificial romance.

On the count of three?

On the count of three?

From dontbeastupidfangirl: Symbolism is… an object that represents something different to give it deeper meaning. Sometimes an action, event, or word can have symbolic value… The Mockingjay is a perfect example of symbolism in ‘The Hunger Games’. It represents the spark of rebellion, the unity of the districts against the Capitol, and the rebellion itself. Another form of symbolism is when Katniss pulls out the poison berries and she and Peeta threaten to kill themselves rather than each other. It symbolizes the districts being fed-up with what the Capitol is forcing them to do. Suzanne Collins did an excellent job with symbolism in ‘The Hunger Games’ series.

From cactus: In ‘The Hunger Games’ the spark was the metaphor for the main plot to be resolved later in the trilogy; the rebellion, and the spark meaning the slow birth of rebellious behavior among the districts. In ‘Catching Fire’, the main plot stems from the “spark” from book one igniting and “catching fire”. This creates uprisings in the districts and sets up the last book to full blown rebellion and war. This is clear symbolism. They even use Katniss’ symbol as the mockingjay to intertwine with the whole catching fire theme, when she twirls and her wedding dress “catches fire” and the fire consumes the dress (another symbol for the Capitol’s strong hold, deciding even what clothes you wear) and transforms it into something new: a mockingjay. I love this scene. It uses three big symbols to tell the story of this entire book in a matter of lines.

Caesar's face says it all!

Caesar’s face says it all!

Take it from my students… don’t you owe yourself a re-read?
Hunger Games Bookclub

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