Film

katniss gale smoochies

What’s Up with Those Kissy Clips?

To gear up some excitement for the Digital/HD/Blu-Ray/DVD etc release of Mockingjay Part 2, Lionsgate released a new trailer. Makes perfect sense. They also have released clips from the movie to some media outlets.

These are clips from the movie, so if you’re a fan, you’ve already seen these. The benefit here is that you get to see the moment again while you wait for the home entertainment release. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it’s another chance to convince skeptics to give the movie a chance.

And if you like kissing scenes, man are you in luck! Well, you’re in luck if you’re a Galeniss or Hayffie type person. All us other people can just chill some more and wait I suppose.

You’ve got the awkward Katniss and Gale “it’s like you’re drunk, it doesn’t count” kiss via teen.com (’cause of course that would be the site).

Then the Hayffie shippers rejoiced at the release of this clip.

Don’t get us wrong, that’s quite a touching scene. We love that “Promise me you’ll find it… The life of a victor” exchange, but we were really rolling our eyes that these 2 clips were the first that hit the web for promotion.  There have been other clips released since then thankfully that relate to other elements of the plot. If not, one MIGHT be tempted to think this film was just some sort of romance-driven soap opera. Many people already wrongly have that impression, let’s not encourage it.

There’s still about 2 months to release, and in the days leading up to that we’ll likely get some sneaks of the new BTS/featurette content. And inevitably Peeta-related content because they know fans go nutzo for that stuff. We’ve been around long enough to have a good idea of the playbook.

I guess these were early Valentine’s Day presents from Lionsgate (though we could have done without that Gale kiss tbh).

JJ

 

Shiny New DVDs: Mockingjay Part 2 and the 4-Film Collection!

Seriously guys, how good is JJ? She posted late last week with some hopes for the Mockingjay Part 2 DVD release and while didn’t come true yet, there were some goodies that have been confirmed!

First, let’s talk about the actual DVD release for the movie that just happened, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2!

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Per usual, there’s lots of behind the scenes goodness, including commentary with Francis and Nina (none with the cast! *weeps*), the “Pawns No More” Making Of documentary, and lots of photo marketing goodness.

Also featured is a look into The Hunger Games: The Exhibition that has us reeeeal nervous because the camersa were there when we were there for the preview but OMG NO OUR FACES WEREN’T READY WE SWEAR! And sadly, that terrible “Jet to the Set” special that spent more time on a Real Housewife of Atlanta than the cast is there as well.

Overall, we’re very excited to grab to final DVD. BUT THEN BUT THEN BUT THEN…

The 4-Film Collection, you guys. THE 4-FILM COLLECTION.

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It’s like a freaking buffet spread of Hunger Games deliciousness!

Particularly, THIRTEEN never-before-seen scenes. Twelve from The Hunger Games (here’s hoping for all the ones JJ mentioned) and one from Catching Fire. So much new information! Let’s not kid ourselves, half of it is probably hallucinations, dream sequences, and the like, but WE CARE NOT. We want it all.

On top of that. there are two new featurettes: “Picturing Panem” and “Capitol Cuisine.” We’re guessing that the first one is about the early visualizations of the Capitol. The second is a little clearer, focusing on all the crazy foods Suzanne Collins created in the books, though we don’t think they were necessarily emphasized in the movies.

That being said, we don’t expect that this is the actual DIAMOND MAC DADDY EDITION we’re all hoping for. This is just the initial collection, but it’s not going to give away all the secrets of the final film with that DVD coming out. Oh no! This is just a start. There’s gonna be an anniversary edition in the future that’s gonna make us cry fat happy tears, even more so than this baby.

Will you snag Mockingjay Part 2 or the 4-Film Collection? It all drops on March 22nd!

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The Girl With The Pearl

Our Blu-Ray Extras Wish List

As we move into February, the release of Mockingjay Part 2 on Digital HD and then Blu-Ray/DVD is inevitably coming soon. Along with the benefit of being able to watch the movie over and over and over again comes the fun of digesting all the extra stuff they add in to entice you to purchase.

We expect the features to be similar to previous Hunger Games movies – audio commentary with Francis and Nina, a few deleted scenes, and lots of behind the scenes featurettes on making the film. The fact that this is the last film makes us a little antsy about what bits they add to this release versus what they choose to add to any ULTIMATE, SUPER-SHINY 4-MOVIE SET that will be coming later in the year, or in 2017, or both. You know they’ve got to hold something back for those later editions. What do they have in that treasure trove to look forward to?

So now we present our not-very-grounded-in-reality wish list of Hunger Games movie (all of ‘em) extras that we’re dying to see at some point:

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Prim, what kind of nightmare sequence was this? Gary, stop holding back.

Those scenes we’ve seen in stills or BTS footage but never the actual footage. Prim in the tribute costume? Gary, what was that about? Katniss and Peeta having a chat in the tribute center. Again Gary, share that with us! Peeta getting his arm painted by the morphling. Francis, please!

Catching Fire Katniss and Peeta rooftop footage. We know something was filmed. We suppose it hit the cutting room floor early because why would you NOT include this footage as a Catching Fire extra? We’ll forgive the quality. Whatever it is, we JUST NEED TO SEE IT.

Revisions to the end of Mockingjay Part 2 after the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman. We know about the places where footage from other scenes was added. We know Haymitch reading Plutarch’s letter was a change. But we’re curious what the plan was originally, had tragedy not occurred.

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Don’t tell us you don’t want a cast audio-commentary. Not possible.

Cast audio-commentary. The Francis and Nina audio-commentaries give us some great insight into the making of the movies. But the fandom would completely lose their shit if Lionsgate were ever able to wrangle Jen, Josh, Liam, Woody, Liz et al into doing audio commentaries for the films.  It’s the dream, people. THE DREAM.

Everlark sex. JUST KIDDING, but with all the messages Francis gets about that from fans, we couldn’t NOT mention it. The thought of that actually being filmed makes us feel really awkward, and the inclusion of a scene of that nature would HAVE NOT fit the end of Mockingjay Part 2. If you want that, there’s a whole wide world of fan fiction to explore. BUT I would be really curious to know about the creative decisions that took place in the execution of the actual, final “real or not real” scene. As much as I hate to say it, as more time passes, I find it disappointing. Or maybe I just need to watch the movie again when it comes out and learn to let it all go.

What other extras should we be pleading for?

JJ

 

Visualizing Panem Post-Movies

Now that the entire Hunger Games series has been adapted to film, I’ve been taking stock in how these movies have impacted how I think about the book series. I’ll come right out with it and say it – while I LOVE SO MUCH about the movies, they will never top the books for me. There are some creative choices in the movies that I will adamantly reject forever and try to forget (mainly some parts of The Hunger Games movie and some scenes from the last 25 minutes of Mockingjay Part 2). Hmm, that sounds like fodder for a post, but for a later date.

On the other hand, there are some parts of these movies where everything fell into place and just was so RIGHT that it’s taken over how I visualize certain characters or scenes when I now re-read the books.

Right from the Start: Snow and Coin

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From first casting announcements of both Donald Sutherland and Julianne Moore, I felt really good about how these characters would translate to screen. They look the part and inhabit those roles in a way that fits so well with how I’ve imagined the characters. Donald Sutherland owns Snow so much for me now that I get chills when hearing his voiceover work on orange juice or airline commercials. President Snow wants me to drink orange juice. Yes, sir! I remember being surprised how sympathetic Coin was in Mockingjay Part 1, but it seemed very right for the progression of the character, and how she would have been without the framing of Katniss’s “unreliable narrator” perspective.

Oh. My. Finnick

Finnick cfFor those around the fandom in Catching Fire casting days, you remember what a BIG FREAKING DEAL this was. Lots of names thrown around to play Finnick. Lots of fan favorites. And Sam Claflin, a relative unknown (outside of roles in Snow White & the Huntsman and a Pirates of the Caribbean movie) was chosen. We had time to “get to know him” pre-CF. He was delightful on Twitter. Set photos leaked that were very promising. There was that Capitol Portrait with the pirate look. And then we saw him in the movie and YAY, IT WORKED.  He was Finnick. He is how I see Finnick now. Bravo.

Awesome Surprises From Smaller Roles: Paylor and Jackson

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One of the great, wonderful surprises of the Mockingjay movies was the development of these two characters, who I honestly never paid much attention to, at least during my first reading of the books. So Patina Miller and Michelle Forbes had the benefit of a cleaner slate to build these characters. And build them they did. They project authentic power and leadership so well that you don’t question the news that Paylor will be president, or Jackson’s role in Squad 451 in the slightest. When I re-read Mockingjay, I see those actresses in full costume. They ARE those characters now for me, and it’s enriched the reading experience.

An Interesting Mix: Effie and Haymitch

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The overly bright, colorful world of the Capitol in Suzanne Collins books is intentional. You have to admit though, that the Candy-Land-on-acid-type buildings would have been too distracting to deal with on screen so the “Capitol color” is restricted mostly to the people, not buildings. But with the costume, makeup, and hair styling of Effie, the team really nailed it, and Elizabeth Banks surely took charge of making that character her own. I think the decision to add Effie to District 13 was a good decision for Mockingjay Part 1, but still think Book!Effie follows a more realistic path for that character. I love how Elizabeth Banks gave the character more heart, but I don’t see Effie really changing that dramatically so quickly. In terms of how I visualize the character though, it’s all Elizabeth Banks in her full Capitol glory. Kudos to her and the design team for the creativity and transformation.

Then we come to Haymitch, who I always though of as more “Seam” in looks with darker hair and complexion, more damaged, more dirty, more foul, and much more drunk than we see in the movies. Regrettably, the movies give us a PG-version of Haymitch. Sure, you see him drinking, and his mockery and wit is there, but he’s nowhere near the abrasive drunk he is in the books.  I would have loved to see Woody Harrelson given full reign to make the character more rough. All of that being said, when I read the books, my mind sees Woody Harrelson and that blond wig. Somehow, he’s convinced my brain. He is Haymitch. The mind does what it wants. It’s interesting that this happened, considering this next part.

The Big Three: Love You Guys SO MUCH, but…

What about Katniss, Peeta and Gale? Jennifer Lawrence did a phenomenal job with Katniss. She grabbed hold of that character and owned the performance throughout the four movies. So much so that her voice is very much Katniss’s voice to me. I feel the same way about Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth (well at least 90% for Liam, but he got better as the movies went along). For all the wonderful ways they inhabited these roles, my mind still can’t (or won’t) adapt. The way I perceive these three in my mind’s eye when reading the books is much different. The cast is perhaps too physically beautiful, too Hollywood, and for Katniss and Gale, yes, too much of northwestern European ancestry to cancel out how I’ve always imagined the three. It’s nothing against the actors, because those are things they can’t change and these were movies with certain expectations of super-Hollywood-esque attractiveness from the leads.  Katniss and Peeta especially remain murky visual concepts in my head, and I’m fine with that. It’s probably better that way for the two characters who I love the most.

Movies – they mess with your head in unexpected ways.

JJ

 

The Best “Presents” of the Past Year

‘Tis the season of giving, and it looks like many fans got some nice Hunger Games-related presents from friends and family. Tim Palen’s book has inevitably had a spike in sales thanks to the holiday season, along with the adorable Funko Pops, posters, pins and other merch. It makes us think about all the other Panem “presents” we got this year.  The top one, is obviously the actual Mockingjay Part 2 movie, but there was more.  Yes, there definitely were days where Lionsgate played GOOD Santa. Such beautiful days they were.

The release of the Mockingjay Part 1 Peeta/Snow Deleted Scene

We really wanted to see some of the behind the scenes world of the Capitol in Mockingjay Part 1, but we didn’t get much. Happily, there was this deleted scene between Peeta and Snow that was released on the eve of the Digital HD release.

 

After the Blu-Ray release, Lionsgate-Santa was pretty stingy for a while. There was that “trailer” with the logo animation and voiceover which played with Insurgent, but there wasn’t much in the fandom to cheer about until the summer.

 

Katniss chillin on Snow’s throne.

Suddenly we were psyched for the movie again when we got this amazing poster (my personal fave from the Mockingjay Part 2 campaign).

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A fabulous teaser trailer that reminded us again how much we love these movies.

 

After talking and talking about it for months on end, the Hunger Games Exhibition opened. And it was really cool. You just had to get your butt to New York to see it. (Though next year, San Francisco is the lucky host).

On the heels of the Exhibition opening came those cool character posters.

And the Comic Con Panel.

Yes, June and July were very good months in the fandom. Matched only by the month of November with all those premieres. Lots of premieres. And “special screenings“. So many premieres yet we still wanted more.

We certainly have our meltdown moments when things just make us very unhappy, but there’s been a lot of great stuff too. So in this season of reflection, those were the presents that stood out the most.

Freaking out with all of you as we received these cool presents, yes, that’s the good stuff.

JJ

Gale Finds Redemption Fighting Aliens

We’re looking forward to seeing the final result of Jennifer Lawrence’s post-Hunger Games activities with Joy next week. We also got a small glimpse of what Liam Hemsworth has been working on when the Independence Day Resurgence trailer came out over the weekend.
Yes, this shot brought us back to memories of solider Gale all over again (with all the good and bad connotations).

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And then he GOES TO SPACE (from the other promotional materials it looks like there is a moon base) and does presumably heroic stuff to save us all from aliens.

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We really don’t know much of anything else about the character he plays, but with Mockingjay Part 2 still so fresh in our minds, it’s fun to play with alternate post-Mockingjay timelines using these shots as inspiration.

Panem is rebuilding from the war when an ominous threat from the skies emerges above the Capitol. Gale Hawthorne, a rising military officer in District 2, haunted by his past, volunteers for a mission headed by an international coalition (yes, international isolation was so bad at this point that only destructive aliens could bring us together). He travels to the moon to study the enemy more closely.  They discover these “visitors” truly are on a mission of planetary destruction. He studies the tactics of the aliens and realizes that they always retrieve their downed craft as a means of interstellar recycling.  It’s then that he discovers the only way to defeat them…. delayed explosion bombs. He’s tortured by the memories. It went so horribly wrong once. It could go wrong again. When will the fighting stop???

Despite the guilt and the memories he knows this is the only way to save the planet. They move forward with the plan. It works. All the aliens go boom. Gale Hawthorne is able to find some solace, finally.

Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch remain in the isolation of District 12, completely unaware that any of this is going on.

Hmm, I think I’d rather just see Liam play this new character in IDR after all.

 

Bright side, I think I just killed a terrible THG sequel idea!

JJ

Apocalyptic Resurgences

TRAILERS. TRAILERS EVERYWHERE!

They’re not for The Hunger Games franchise anymore (*ragged breath*), but they’ve still got big names this fandom loves in ’em!

As you know (unless you are living under a rock– more like an entire damn tectonic plate, in this case,) Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out in mere days. It’s easily going to be the biggest movie of the year, without question. Rather than fight that, studios are taking advantage by dropped their trailers in front of the film for millions to see.

Take note, Lionsgate. That is how you market a big movie! …Sorry, we’re still not over the epic ball-drop that was not putting a MJ2 trailer with Age of Ultron.

As it turns out, both Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth are in movies that will be advertised with Star Wars and the trailers were dropped early so willing viewers can get a visual early.

First, X-Men: Apocalypse!

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X-Men is a big ensemble piece, which is part of its charm, but Jen did have a few moments to shine. The trailer briefly confronts Mystique’s wishy-washiness when it’s come to fair fights in the past and her propensity for sticking by less moral characters, while also showing her as a mentor figure for the newest mutants.

We were really excited about this one before the trailer and that still stands. Sure, there’s a chance things will get bogged down with too much going on, but it looks like a pretty straight shot in the trailer. The X-Men franchise is usually a crowd pleaser, so we’re ready!

Mostly, we’re just surprised that her hair is long and tied back, because we thought it was shoulder length all this time based off stills. Whoops!

But we’re even more surprised with Independence Day: Resurgence!

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Full disclosure: We were fully prepared to hate everything about this movie. And in all fairness, we still could. But the trailer was WAY BETTER than expected! There’s tension, suspense, and the very smart decision to hearken back to the original film with Bill Pullman’s epic speech. We never wanted this sequel and yet…

Liam shows up a few times: Strutting in a pilot’s uniform, canoodling with his movie love interest, and… on the moon or a meteor somewhere, apparently? It’s not a TON– Jeff Goldblum is still running this ship– but it’s definitely enough to pinpoint that he’s a major player in the film.

Liam has clearly done well in Hollywood, but hasn’t quite yet cemented his leading man status. Maybe this movie will be the one to help him make that transition? We’ll see!

*quietly waits for the “None of this even matters because STAR WARS, bro!” fanboy to show up*,
The Girl With The Pearl

Jennifer & Joy

It’s awards season once again! And for the third year in a row, Jennifer Lawrence is nominated on the awards circuit for her work in a David O. Russell film!

You know what definitely doesn't get an award? That fake ass snow!

You know what definitely doesn’t get an award? That fake ass snow!

For those of you keeping track at home, Jennifer won the Critics Choice, SAG award, Golden Globe, and Academy Award for Silver Linings Playbook in 2013, plus the BAFTA and Golden Globe for American Hustle last year. Those weren’t even her first big nominations, of course. She was nominated for the Oscar for Winter’s Bone in 2011, before she signed on for The Hunger Games.

It was absolutely no surprise to us that Jennifer was nominated once again for her latest, Joy. It’s become really hip to say she’s overrated these days, but that is PURE MELLARKY (See what we did there?! We’re proud.) The girl has more natural acting talent than some actors muster over a decades-long career. She’s acted the hell out of everything we’ve ever seen her in and we have no doubt that she’s great in Joy.

But here’s the kicker this time around: In early reviews, Joy is not doing too hot.

We try not to give too much credence to critics. There are just far too many snobs out there who hate just about anything, especially if its popular, because it distract too much from ~*~the art~*~. Like The Hunger Games or David O. Russell movies or Jennifer Lawrence or what have you! But many of the reviews we’ve seen seem pretty similar: They essentially say Jennifer acts the hell out of what she has to work with, but the script doesn’t offer much originality or do the story justice.

Tough lady wields a shotgun trope!

Tough lady wields a shotgun trope!

It’s definitely something we’re having trouble reconciling. Joy has a significantly worse score on Rotten Tomatoes than Mockingjay Part 2– which got a hefty chunk of critical hate– and it was still nominated in the Best Musical Or Comedy category. And generally, even if an actor is superb, they don’t often get nominated for films that aren’t critically-acclaimed on the whole. Perhaps its just one of those rare cases were the film appeals to the Hollywood Foreign Press, but not necessarily the industry of professional critique on the whole? Or is David O. Russell still somehow riding the perks of his last two successes? It’s hard to know!

One thing is sure: We’re going to have to figure this mystery when Joy hits theaters in a couple weeks!

Joy To The World, We Guess?
The Girl With The Pearl

There Will Be Prequels

We knew that Lionsgate was going to do various things to keep the Hunger Games brand alive, from the stage show, to theme parks, and potentially prequels or sequels. Today they confirmed the prequel route during a presentation.

The world of Panem is intriguing, and we’ve been open to world expansion in ways that make sense and respect the themes of the source material. So we were dismayed when we saw this quote from the Vice Chairman of Lionsgate in The Hollywood Reporter piece.

“The one thing that kids say they missed (from the early Hunger Games films) was there was no arenas,” he said, referencing the stadiums where children killed each other and noting the prior films only covered the 74th and 75th competitions. “If we went backwards there obviously would be arenas.”

Kids these days love their arenas. Big money in the arenas!  MORE ARENAS!

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Was this actually a hint to what we’ll see in THG prequels?

Ok, from a business perspective, we understand what he’s saying. We also don’t doubt that they’ve done some research where some “kids” say they missed the GAMES part of Hunger Games. Violence sells. The first two movies had much better box office than the later 2, and the presence of the simple put-24-in-an-arena-to-kill-each-other structure was easier for general audiences to understand than more complex propaganda and consequences of war themes. But there were many more reasons why the first two movies did better. The fast pace of the 4 movies’ release and the book split played a part in the Mockingjay movies box office decline. Another big factor was the massive dip in resources put into marketing the final two films. The reason was not as simple as “no arena” (even though MJ2 has an arena, THE CAPITOL).

Overall, it’s such a cynical thing to say. And so contrary to the themes of the books (and movies!). We’re cool with you keeping this world alive and creatively vibrant but please tell us that’s not really how you’re approaching these prequels. We respect Lionsgate for allowing the creative team to make the Mockingjay movies as true to the book’s themes as they were. Maybe they didn’t make as much money as the first two, but the answer is not to just repeat the same formula from the first two movies. Just as the lack or arenas was not the sole reason for the lower box office of the Mockingjay movies, the presence of arenas was definitely not the only thing in THG and Catching Fire’s favor. It had great characters, story, and relevance to our lives. THAT was the brilliance behind it.  THAT is the bigger reason for the success.

With these prequels, at least put a creative team in place that sees beyond the bread and circuses path to easy money. Please tell us great stories that stay true to the themes that brought us to this world in the first place. If you do that, there’s a chance for these prequels. If you don’t, you’ll just destroy the legacy of the movies while diminishing this brand that is currently so valuable.

Tread carefully, and thoughtfully, and just maybe the odds will be in your favor.

JJ

 

 

 

Victor’s Village Hunger Games Holiday Gift Guide 2015

The final Hunger Games movie is out, but our hunger for cool Hunger Games merch is far from over. As in previous years, we’re back with our holiday gift guide with ideas for The Hunger Games lovers in your life… or to add to your own wish list!

The Hunger Games Funko POP! Figures

Funko POP! figures are our favorite collectibles of all the collectibles out there, so we’re in love with The Hunger Games collection! It covers all of Katniss’ major moments in four different figurines, plus Peeta, Effie, and President Snow! Was there ever a better desk decoration?

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Minimalist Poster Print by GreaterGeek

Besides having an excellent shop name, GreaterGeek also has stellar minimalist posters. This “Hope” poster offers up style, a favorite quote, and a pop of color!

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Peeta’s Necklace

Mockingjay symbols are thrown around all willy-nilly these days. Peeta’s necklace is an adorable choice for people who sometimes have to be a little quieter about their love for the series in everyday life. Fellow fans will get it and love it, but your strict boss will just think it’s a cute pendant.

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THG Color Changing Mug by MugDesignStudio

We’re a sucker for these color changing mugs. They’re deceptive: Plan black with a cold beverage, but revealing a great design with your morning coffee or tea to perk up the day!

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Mrs. Mellark Apron

We will forever associate The Boy With The Bread with our baking projects, though ours are way more haphazard. Now that the whole world knows the canon Katniss/Peeta ending (sorry not sorry, Team Gale!), why not celebrate your love for the character WHILE baking?!

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 score

We recognize that we live in a Wild Wild West in which nobody buys music anymore, but this isn’t any old music. The Mockingjay Part 2 score is lovely, intense, and emotional. It will help fans through their major ending feels. Plus, it’s got that original version of ‘Deep In The Meadow’ that we all covet!

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