Film

Teasing the End Too Much?

“I can’t believe they showed so much of the end!”

We’re a little surprised too. We weren’t really expecting to see Katniss marching in the Capitol on her way to execute… Snow in the Mockingjay Part 2 teaser trailer. We were expecting a little more focus on the beginning of the film. It’s not that we didn’t LOVE seeing that scene, or other scenes that we know are later in the film. The execution scene with Katniss aiming her arrow is a great call back to the other films so it certainly stays with you. But to have them in the teaser trailer, the first glimpse of the film, is unexpected.

Then EW released a “new” still yesterday. Well, we don’t consider it all that new, because it’s a scene from the teaser where Effie is helping Katniss prepare her look for Snow’s execution. But there it is again – drawing focus on a scene from late in the film.

Mockingjay Katniss EffieWhat’s interesting about the choices to reveal things that happen from the very end of the film is that they don’t necessarily reveal too much of the actual plot to non-book readers. Sure, you see Katniss leading people in the Capitol. But come on, even casual movie watchers know this is where the story is heading anyway. These moments have a strong visual impact, and can help sell the movie. Book readers know what happens anyway, and the non-book readers won’t understand all the context enough to be truly spoiled.

Like in the scene from the still above. Katniss and Effie are clearly in the Capitol from the surroundings and Effie’s newly regained colorful outfit. Us book readers can distinguish other small things that reveal the timeline – the uneven end of Katniss’s braid indicating singing from fire bombs – but a casual viewer isn’t going to notice that. The casual viewer probably isn’t thinking about the timeline at all. They’re just seeing a return to Effie preparing Katniss for her latest big big big day in the revolution.

So yes, it’s surprising that they’ve already revealed some shots from the end of the movie, but we think it helps build continuity as we march toward this EPIC CONCLUSION.

If they showed Prim with parachutes in the distance, that’s another story.

JJ

REVIEW: The Hunger Games Exhibition Experience

Welcome, welcome to our review of The Hunger Games Exhibition!

A few lucky fansites were given an early preview of this massive undertaking over the weekend! Kait and JJ attended the event (though JJ very skillfully avoided all the cameras). Now, we’re breaking down everything you need to know if you’re considering a visit to what seems like the franchise’s very first East Coast attraction!

Without any further ado…

THE COSTUMES AND SETS

Yes, all the major costumes and set pieces are there, perfectly positioned and lit in all their glory. You’ll be tons of familiar outfits, designs, and set arrangements. You’ll also see so things you didn’t notice in the films. For instance, did you know Effie was wearing these shoes in District 13?!

51654684

We’ve never seen them before and it’s tragic!

The costumes are spectacular, but there’s also full set pieces to adore. They’re set up in ways you’d easily recognize the film and pretty dazzling up close. For example, the Hob set in full of props that look faded and distressed, but seeing it all in person adds a whole new dimension to it. As you end with one section and walk into another, you’re usually turning a corner to find a massive, beloved scene RIGHT IN YOUR FACE. It was enough to make us squeal, even enough to make some others get all teary-eyed!

Just a real casual Capitol party display... SQUEE!

Also, Josh, Jen, Willow, Jena, and Francis went through the exhibit yesterday, the day after the fansites. They touched what we touched. WE PRACTICALLY EXCHANGED FRIENDSHIP BRACELETS. Just kidding, but it’s still pretty awesome!

INTERACTIVE FEATURES

If you’ve gone to an exhibition for Harry Potter and/or The Lord of the Rings, you probably think you know the drill by now. What you’re NOT accounting for are the boatload of unique interactive features that make this stand out, even for people who are not super familiar with the series (you know, in case you bring a mostly clueless friend or parent along!)

INTERACTIVE AUDIO DEVICE
When you enter the exhibition, you’ll be given a handy cell phone sized device. It seems like it’s just an audio guide, but there’s lots to do with it! Namely, it finds “Hidden Spots” throughout the exhibit that unlock deleted scenes and show how the props in front of you. They also pull up holographic maps, allow you to take pictures, and give you a special ally with whom you can explore!

POLLING STATIONS

Every here and there, you’ll find polling stations that ask how you would react in certain Hunger Games style situations. Turn the lever and your vote is counted– a pellet falls into a glass cylinder. Then you can examine the cylinders to see how your vote compares to others.

THE TRAIN TO THE CAPITOL
Be prepared for your photo op! Get cozy in the back of the train to the Capitol, where Katniss and Peeta worked out their tentative friendship in Catching Fire, and snap a pic! Built-in screens give the illusion that you too are headed to the Capitol.

Kait with Adam from HG Fireside Chat and Brittany from Down With The Capitol

Kait with Adam from HG Fireside Chat and Brittany from Down With The Capitol

INTERVIEW WITH CAESAR
Caesar Flickerman is one hell of an interviewer, even when his head is a television screen! You can stop and have a photo op with The Capitol’s favorite television host but be warned, those fancy seats are really hard to sit upright in!

Also, it's hard to get his face to show up at certain angles!

Also, it’s hard to get his face to show up at certain angles!


FIGHT TRAINING

Think you got the moves? A movie stunt coordinator is ready to test them! See how well you can learn and bust out a quick defensive sequence used in the films. It’s harder than you think!

JOIN THE MOCKINGJAY’S PROPO
A special station in the Mockingjay section of the museum allows you to choose your setting and record a propo message in support of the Rebellion! Your image will then show up on the big ol’ HD TV screen behind you.

YOUR VERY OWN TRIBUTE PARADE

It’s your turn to join the Tribute Parade! Instead of explaining, here’s a video of me and Down With The Capitol’s Ellie making fools of ourselves for good old fashioned fun! Shelve it under “So horrible that it’s actually kind of amazing.”

THE GIFT SHOP

At the end of the road, we hit the gift shop!

Like most, there’s lots of items in here that seem a bit random, like mints and “Capitol confections” that are just regular candies bottled up pretty. But there’s also some really awesome stuff, exclusive mug and t-shirt designs, Buttercup plushes, Tim Palen’s new photo book, and jewelry ranging from simple ($5 arrow ring) to “SERIOUSLY.. WHO THROWS AROUND MONEY LIKE THAT?!”($7400 diamond encrusted gold Mockingjay pendant necklace.)

Disappointing news– the Katniss Cowl is in the gift shop, but it costs $130. Yup, the mass produced version is just as much as (if not more than) most Etsy sellers. We just want to own a Katniss Cowl and still pay off our student loan debt in a timely fashion, Lionsgate!

For a small fortune, all this can be yours!

For a small fortune, all this can be yours!

And so ends our adventure. If you’re a Hunger Games lover and you’re heading to New York City this year, we highly recommend it!

Want more images? Check out our full gallery!

GALLERY: The Hunger Games Exhibition

You’ve probably noticed that there’s been lots of goodness from The Hunger Games Exhibition all around the web, including over on our Instagram page. Now, we’re sharing all the photos from our Hunger Games Exhibition with you!

If you like these glimpses, stay tuned for a detailed report on the super fun exhibition!

Looking Through Tim Palen’s Photographs from The Hunger Games

Today Tim Palen’s Photographs from The Hunger Games became available. Even as a super fan, I was on the fence about this purchase with the $75 list price, but when I saw it in person I had to take the plunge.

imageThis is a hefty, gorgeous book, filled with large beautiful pictures from the first three movie campaigns (or to be more fair, 3.5 movie campaigns) and explanations of the creative choices behind them in the introduction. As the title indicates, the photos are the focus – specifically character portraits, with movie and Suzanne Collins’ book quotes interspersed throughout the pages.

For The Hunger Games, we see alternate shots of the characters with their eyes closed, as well as different takes on released promotional images. For Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1, we again see the familiar images from posters and other promotional images with unreleased versions or additional character shots.  Some of the unreleased images from Mockingjay Part 1 are staggering.
imageWhat about Mockingjay Part 2? Well, as anticipated, there’s not that much you haven’t seen. There’s no Katniss in that mysteriously red Mockingjay outfit that we’ve been hearing about from CineEurope. Nope, nothing new. Unless you mean the several new pictures of Peeta (one in a hospital gown and several in battle gear) and one of Gale crying in the style of the “Sister’s Portrait.”

Oh, yeah, I guess those count. You might like those. A lot.

This book is clearly a collectable item at the size and price tag. I think the best way to decide if it’s worth it to you is to see the book in person, either at an Assouline bookshop or the Hunger Games Exhibition Gift Shop (it should be available more widely in about a month). My only twinge of regret is that I wish this were released next year so that the Mockingjay Part 2 section could be more complete.

Every book needs to leave room for a sequel?
JJ

The Red Mockingjay Suit of Chaos

We’ve already got a “teaser” for Mockingjay Part 2, which was trailer length but WE’RE NOT COMPLAINING. Now it’s time to prepare for the theatrical trailer!

See, we know it’s out there! Some lucky folks in Spain got to see it today as part of Cine Europe, which is an event for studio types and film distributors that’s similar to CinemaCon. There isn’t too much description out there yet, but there was ONE gem in the reports:

J-Law was like "I'll take it in RED, plzkthx." (No, not really.)

J-Law was like “I’ll take it in RED, plzkthx.” (No, not really.)

Come November, Katniss will be rocking a red Mockingjay suit!

You may be thinking back to April right now. Because in April, Funny Or Die released a gif of Jennifer Lawrence in a red Mockingjay suit talking into a banana as if it were a cell phone. We assumed nothing of the suit, only that it was a discolored imitation of the suit from the films. Hell, it’s Funny or Die! They clearly weren’t being serious!

Buuuuuuut then Lionsgate started asking that all the image be taken down pronto. From all the places. At the time, we just assumed this was Lionsgate getting antsy over their ownership of all things even kinda sorta mentioning the series and shrugged it off as silly. LO AND BEHOLD, THERE WAS A SECRET IN HERE!

Lionsgate nixed the images, so we can’t post them here, but the Internet is a vast entity where nothing ever disappears, especially if you check tumblr. Just sayin’!

Now to the big question — WHY ADD A RED MOCKINGJAY SUIT?

Artistic flair, we suppose! To give the audience something they didn’t expect and make Katniss stand out. We would assume it was used for was the execution scene if we didn’t already see that in the teaser. Maybe it’s another propo outfit designed to make her stand out more on screen. In which case, goal achieved!

To be clear, we give zero fucks about the additional of this suit. It’s actually pretty cool and not everything is always going to be straight off the page. We’ve been blessed with pretty minimal changes throughout the series and the color of an outfit in now way changes the plot. So yeesh, naysayers, calm yourselves before you pop a vein or something, ‘kay?

It’s More Of A Crimson, Anyway. The Crimsonjay!
The Girl With The Pearl

The Fingers Seen Around The World

“It means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love.” Katniss explains the meaning of the three finger salute early in The Hunger Games. But the meaning of the gesture transforms over the course of the books to also become a symbol of the revolution, like the mockingjay.

And so in the latest iteration of subtle in-universe marketing for the franchise, we have billboards of people giving this salute around the world.  Only the hand is visible, with a simple “Unite D13 – The Revolution is About All of Us” message.

unite world

If you’re a fan of the series, it has instant resonance, and in some countries, like Thailand, the salute has been used in real-world protests. We wonder what the average person thinks of the billboards – whether it’s enough to make a connection with them to these movies, whether they think it’s a REAL political advertisement, or whether they see it and see some other kind of innuendo, but it does “make an impression” so Haymitch would approve.

Lead the Revolution #Unite

At first we wondered if these hands were of the cast, as some kind of tease for character posters to come. Alas, no, these are ordinary people like you and me to tie better into the theme, so no clues of this kind. It’s pretty apparent from the theme and look of the posters, and the emails sent last night, that these are tied to the launch of Revolution.pn. So WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN AT REVOLUTION.PN? What mysteries do you hold behind that landing page? We hope there’s still some character posters or other movie-specific collateral hidden back there, even if their hands aren’t on the billboards. If the past movie campaigns are any guide, there will probably be some kind of puzzle to solve before we get to the goodies.

In the meantime, we’re all supposed to flood the internet with images of our own three finger salutes tagged with #Unite.

Go forth and put those fingers everywhere.

JJ

Mockingjay Part 2: Proud To Be 3D Free

…In the US anyway.

Look, we get it. 3D is a big thing. Some people really like it and in the grand scale of things, it’s revolutionized the way that audiences view and appreciate films in recent years. But can we just say…

THANK GOODNESS MOCKINGJAY PART 2 WON’T HAVE THAT BS!

Yes, 3D is amazing, but only when it’s done right.

Personal favorite 3D experience!

Personal favorite 3D experience!

There’s two ways 3D comes about:
1) The film is intended to be a vast visual experience from the get-go and the director and studio agree to shoot the film with 3D technologies and that style in mind.
2) The studio decides to convert the film to 3D in post, creating a lesser quality version that adds little to the film and gives some people headaches.

The Hunger Games franchise uses the latter. Why? We assume it’s because 3D ticket prices are higher, driving up overall profits when people inevitably get lured in by the idea of seeing the biggest, “best” version of the film. But in recent years, audiences have wised up to the conversion method most studios use and 3D sales have declined. And ya know, those tickets are effing expensive!

Sadly, this guy was only available in Fake 3D.

Sadly, this guy was only available in Fake 3D.

Don’t get us wrong, there are some GREAT 3D films out there. But we weren’t planning Mockingjay Part 2 in IMAX 3D because we weren’t about to pay extra for poorly converted nausea. Now, we’re really, really excited to see it in IMAX 2D without the silly, unnecessary “effects”. We’re just bummed that IMAX versions are still only being offered in 3D for the rest of the world!

So movie studios, know this– We’re not total fools. If you’re not going to commit to REAL 3D for your films, don’t come at us with the cheap conversion. We don’t want it!

2D Or 3D? You Tell Us!
The Girl With The Pearl

REACTION POST: Mockingjay Part 2 Trailer

We’ve got a Mcokingjay Part 2 trailer and lots of new feels along with it!

To celebrate our first glimpse at the franchise finale, we’re presenting you with another zany reaction post! We’ve got a lot to say about the new trailer, so let the gushing begin!

Oh, and this sucker is pretty long, so don’t forget to click READ MORE the see the whole thing.

THE FEELING IS BACK!

THE GIRL WITH THE PEARL: So how does this trailer stack up against the mountain of other THG trailers we’ve seen?

JJ: It’s right at the top for me. I love the teaser and theatrical trailers for CF, and this one made me feel that same level of astonishment/amazement.

normal_Mockingjay-Part2-Unite024TGWTP: I’m in the same boat. The second CF trailer was my favorite up until now, but I think this one actually beats it!

JJ: That feeling of “THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN I EVEN DREAMED. PRAISE FRANCIS LAWRENCE” type of feeling. I didn’t quite get it with the MJ1 trailers. But now it’s back, baby!

THEM THERE EYES: Not joking, I’ve had to go back and watch them all… I tend to forget.

TGWTP: Nina and Francis got harassed about wanting an amazing trailer a lot on Twitter. WE DO NOT APPROVE OF THIS. Buuuut they certainly delivered!

TTE: I wonder if they have the same team on the trailers?

JJ: It varies. I believe this one was by Trailer Park. But they’ve had different companies work on them.

TGWTP: I have no idea. The teams behind trailers obviously need way more credit than they get.

JJ: But it was just overall well done. The structure, the shots they chose, it gave us hints at a lot of scenes throughout the movie… but not TOO much.

TTE: Yes, even the music they choose to buy, and sample from the scores are perfectly placed.

WEDDING FEELS HIDDEN BEHIND SOME SERIOUS HAIR

normal_Mockingjay-Part2-Unite017TGWTP: How many feels did you have when you realized it began with the wedding scene?

JJ: THAT was a great choice.

TGWTP: I made an uncomfortable gaspy-sob sound that was probably not meant to come out of a human.

JJ: First, it just LOOKED beautiful, but then you realize what it actually is, and as a fan, you’re hooked in completely from the start. And Katniss’s voiceover for that moment is so perfect. Well played.

TTE: Well, the first time I viewed it I was in a hot car, watching it on my cell phone… but I had the sound up on my car’s stereo… so that made it kind of dramatic in probably not the way they wanted it to be… for me at least.

TGWTP: I must admit though… I didn’t notice Johanna in that scene until about the fifth time I watched it. Too distracted by Effie’s Edward Scissorhands hair

JJ: I didn’t notice her either. But that doesn’t take points away for me. There will be moments with Johanna later, I’m sure.

TTE: I didn’t see her! *runs off to pause video like crazy person*

TGWTP: How could you behind Effie’s flair, really? Though man… Jena is handling that bald cap like a champ in the scene when you DO notice her

TTE: Oh, there she is… ten seconds in, over Effie’s shoulder.

normal_Mockingjay-Part2-Unite081TGWTP: And did you guys notice that when we finally see Katniss talked to Coin, she’s still got the bruises on her throat?! *weeps* Then you realize that her voice sounds REALLY ROUGH.

JJ: Yes, the bruises are a great detail. And her voice. Poor dear.

TTE: I was about to say “Her voice sounds really trashed.”

TGWTP: Obviously, we know the story picks up immediately after Peeta’s attack. But knowing and seeing are way different

JJ: “Snow has to pay for what he’s done…” Cue Lionsgate logo lol

TGWTP: BAM!

EFF YOU, SPEECHES!

TGWTP: I also find it funny that Katniss says “I can’t make another speech about it…” and then is launches into her District 2 speech shortly thereafter lol

JJ: “Can’t” versus “God help me I DON’T WANT TO”

TTE: I think that’s on purpose! she’s very speech-y.

JJ: But Katniss, you do some pretty good speeches. Impromptu is hard to do after all.

TGWTP: Exactly. Poor girl is just like “NO MORE FUCKING SPEECHES! LET ME TAKE OUT MY RAGE ON THE BATTLEFIELD.”

(more…)

Friendly Fandom Tips for Conan O’Brien Before the Comic-Con Panel

conanThere’s good news – Mockingjay Part 2 will get some time in Hall H during San Diego Comic-Con for a Q&A with the cast and filmmakers. During the panel they’ll also release some exclusive footage that should make its way online… eventually. The big event will be moderated by Conan O’Brien, who definitely has lots of experience bringing the funny in front of large audiences. We just want it to be the right type of funny, good time. We’ll only get 30 minutes or so of our beloved franchise on the big stage. Please Conan, help us make the most of it!

So here you go Conan – we graciously present some tips to hosting a Mockingjay panel that will make THG fans love you forever.

DON’T

  • Joke or ask questions about “Teams.” Just don’t. No Team Peeta/Team Gale/Team Buttercup/Team Anyone. No.
  • Bother mentioning how Peeta’s name sounds like bread. Fans own those jokes, and we ran through all the good ones by 2011. It’s over.
  • Same thing goes for the “Peeniss” ship name. That was fun in 2011 or if you’re currently 12, but we’ve moved on. It’s EVERLARK, cause after all they’ve been through, Katniss and Peeta deserve some dignity at this point.
  • Talk about height differentials among any of the cast.
  • Waste time asking questions about the past Hunger Games movies. We already saw those AND THERE’S NOT MUCH TIME. ALL MOCKINGJAY PART 2.
  • Let the Last Witch Hunter panel, which will inevitably run before Mockingjay during Lionsgate’s slot, run long.  Vin Diesel’s not a wordy guy. Keep it moving so we can get to the main event.

DO

  • Know your stuff. (Re)read the books and (re)watch the movies before getting on that stage. We love people who do their research!
  • Add “real or not real” into one of the questions. Example: “Jennifer, you loved working with this cast, real or not real?”
  • On that note, ask about filming the REAL OR NOT REAL scene, or anything about Jennifer and Josh filming scenes together.  Get those two to joke around. We love that shit.
  • Make sure Francis Lawrence (and Nina Jacobson if she’s there) get some good questions. They may be “behind the scenes,” but they are universally loved by fans.
  • Ask about filming the epilogue scene (pssh, don’t worry about Lionsgate not wanting you to mention it, that will earn you 1 MILLION fandom points if you do. Nina Jacobson can tell you all about that).
  • Dress up like Caesar Flickerman. We would dig it. (But please keep the main spotlight on the cast & filmmakers. We don’t get an opportunity like this very often).

Any other tips for Conan? Put ‘em in the comments.

JJ

The Mockingjay Part 2 Trailer: Reactions on the Fly

No, this is not this official bomb diggity trailer reaction post we do for every film, sadly. Getting a bunch of busy ladies together to chat takes time, but it’s coming!

Here's a hug. We all need one!

Here’s a hug. We all need one!

In the meantime, let’s discuss some off the cuff reactions!

For me, this was probably the best trailer for the series we’ve seen so far (followed by the second Catching Fire trailer, if you’re curious!) Some really awful fans have been jumping all over Nina and Francis on Twitter demanding that this trailer be freaking fantastic because they’d had to wait so long– as if Nina and Francis control the release of trailers– and now those two can be smug. It WAS freaking fantastic!

We got a major sentimental scene, Finnick and Annie’s wedding, for which the visuals were gorgeous. We see the extreme sister love between Katniss and Prim. And then the tension seeps in and we remember that it is NOT ALL GOOD. War is happening, people are rallying, Katniss is dressed up as the Mockingjay, and Effie and Haymitch are there to attempt to be reassuring but probably kinda failing.

Then there’s the hug continuation that hit all the feels, as noted here by a Twitter user:

Shot through the heart!

Shot through the heart!

From there, the action begins! Did anyone else think the Star Squad was running from a crazy huge deluge of oil when those set photos from Paris hit the Internet? WE SURE DIDN’T.

Altogether, it was an exciting, uplifting, heartbreaking, INSANE experience to watch the first trailer for the final film.

However, there has been one thing pointed out to us that we can’t un-see. Something straight out of the Catching Fire trailers:

THIS NOVEMBER
COMES THE EVENT
THE WORLD HAS BEEN WAITING FOR

We mean… both “events” have that November release and the world is waiting / waited for both (not the whole world, of course. There’s undoubtedly some countries out there where people do not give a daaaaamn about these films.) The lettering is the same in each but the background is different– CF is black, MJ2 is crimson with little embers floating. Still, are there NO OTHER WAYS to say “Everyone is anticipating this movie coming in November” without recycling?! Are we budgeting the biggest franchise Lionsgate has?

Still, we’ll try to let it go because all the other stuff.

Real Freak Out Reaction Post Coming Soon!
The Girl With The Pearl