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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

 

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

SnowCoin

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).

mockingjay part 2 poster throne

 

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

The Fantastic Mockingjay Part 2 Score – And that Cynical Remix

Yesterday the Mockingjay Part 2 Soundtrack went on sale on iTunes and Google Play. This soundtrack is just the musical score, not songs “inspired by” the movie but we LOVE it. James Newton Howard has once again blown us away with music for the movie, and has brought back many of the musical cues from previous films that give us ALL THE FEELS.

mj2 soundtrackIf you’ve seen the film, you know that Jennifer Lawrence sings “Deep in the Meadow” over the beginning of the closing credits. The song is a lullaby, and with the final scene of MJ2 featuring Katniss comforting her baby, it’s a lovely, quiet way to end the film. The song carries a huge amount of emotional weight throughout the series, as it’s the song Katniss sings to comfort Prim at the beginning of the first movie, and the song she sings to Rue as she dies. Fans have been talking about how much they love the inclusion of this song since the movie’s release.

The peace and happiness was short-lived however, since yesterday as well saw the release of this lullaby AS A DANCE REMIX. Cue the awful Hanging Tree Remix flashbacks, everyone!

Having a dance remix of this song is so out of place and unnecessary it seems like a joke. Add on top of it the fact that fans more or less hated the “Hanging Tree Remix” and preferred the version from the movie, this decision feels like awful trolling. In fact, back in January I joked that they would do this.

There’s definitely a huge disconnect between what Republic Records and/or Lionsgate thinks is appropriate or what even in the slightest way works as music. As long as they see some money to be made, they seem to think anything is worth trying. Our friends at Jabberjays.net explain our frustration very well.

…all this remix signifies is a clear-cut showing of corporate greed and exploitation of Jennifer Lawrence and Katniss Everdeen. Never mind that any fan of The Hunger Games would gladly buy Deep in the Meadow in its pure, original format. Never mind that the song is supposed to have a beautiful, lasting legacy and provide peace for fans new and old alike. Never mind that this song is supposed to comfort, not inspire finger-tapping on the steering wheel.

If there was any question about the fan response to the remix, it can be found in the replies to this promotional tweet.

I don’t think the fandom could be any clearer.

So anyway, let’s go back to enjoying the score, cause it’s fantastic. And we’ll listen to THE SCORE’S version of “Deep in the Meadow” and try to forget about remix nightmares.

We need some comfort, Katniss.

JJ

 

Critics, Box Office, and Mockingjay Part 2

The opening weekend of Mockingjay Part 2 is in full swing, and the reactions to the film have been very interesting. Fans seem happy with it on the whole. We all have our things that we wish were included or changed, but all in all it seems like the fans are pleased because this is a solid, faithful adaptation of the book. We got to see this story end in a way that is true and respectful to the source material and the important themes we value.

297A9B5D00000578-3117094-image-m-29_1433866860839Movie critics have been mixed. Some have really loved it, some liked it, but some are on the way other extreme calling it a major disappointment. The reasons why some critics have panned the movie offer an intriguing look into expectations of blockbuster movies, and the Hunger Games movies themselves. They say it’s too bleak, somber, gray, slow. It also seems like they were expecting some kind of exciting battle at the end, for Katniss to lead the rebels to triumphant glory of a new day in Panem.

As fans of the books, we knew not to expect that, and frankly the fact that there ISN’T a triumphant final battle and Katniss doesn’t go on to some glorious future of power, wealth and fame is what really hits home to us. An ending like that would have been a complete fairy tale and out of step with what these stories are trying to teach. But we understand the surprise that there isn’t one here. The story structure that the negative critics expected is as old as time. It’s one that appeals to people because of its extreme fantasy. You fight the brave fight and win and all is well.

We all know Mockingjay doesn’t portray the struggle in such a simplistic or clean way. Mockingjay Part 2 may be a PG-13 war movie, but it’s a war movie that doesn’t gloss over the ugliness of war. It doesn’t pretend that there’s anything glorious about the violence and destruction of war. That these things are arbitrary, unfair, and cruel. That discerning from “good” and “bad” actions are impossibly difficult. There’s a subtlety and lack of easy answers. AND WE LOVE THAT ABOUT THIS STORY.

The fact this film doesn’t offer a massively fun, popcorn chomping Hunger Games-y time may also be a reason why this film will open domestically as the lowest of the four movies. It’s still expected to rake in $100 million plus this weekend, plus a massive amount overseas, so without doubt this movie will still make everyone involved a nice pile of cash. The pile just won’t be so obscenely big this time. For fans though, whether this movie just makes A LOT of money versus A SHIT TON is moot.  It’s about having a film that met OUR expectations, and it looks like we got it.

The desire for panem et circenses persists, but we’re happy that the popularity of the franchise is getting lots of people to see this film. It’s good to see something different from the movies sometimes.

Now go remind the normals to see this movie.

JJ

 

Inside the Mockingjay Part 2 New York Screening

Tonight, I was super lucky to attend the Mockingjay Part 2 “Special Screening” in New York. Not a premiere, so it didn’t have the huge atmosphere of what we’ve seen in the previous days & weeks, but a huge number of cast attended, as well as Francis Lawrence, Nina Jacobson, and Jon Kilik.

The red carpet was in a tent located outside the AMC Lincoln Square theater. It was filled with press, who missed out on the LA premiere, and the small “fan pen” where I was. As per usual, everyone was very nice about accommodating fan requests for pics and signings. Here are some of my pics in the zoo-like media madness. (You will notice a lack of selfies, I don’t really do selfies, and I doubt you all care so it’s cool).

 

Then after that, IT WAS ACTUALLY TIME TO SEE THE MOVIE.

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It’s been a lot to take in, so we’ll dig into the movie after official release (but spoiler alert, we’re really happy).

Nothing could prepare us for the end, so we didn’t.

JJ

Jennifer Lawrence and Those Dirty Rumors

Oh, media. You sure know how to make something out of nothing!

Surviving weeks of nearly non-stop travel and press interviews and premieres is infamously taxing on celebrities– recall the great Catching Fire influenza of 2013– so they deal with it however they can. Usually, it involves getting a little loopy and messing with each other.

Fans have watched the dynamics through three previous press tours. So when Jennifer Lawrence said she didn’t wash her hands after going to the bathroom in an interview with MTV, getting the proper gross-out reaction from Josh and Liam, the sarcasm was pretty evident to us. But not to everyone, apparently!

After the interview, the Internet blew up with outlets talking about Jennifer’s dirty bathroom habits. Like it was a dark, disgusting secret they must expose to make the world know she is not perfect. DUN DUN DUNNNN!

It’s amazing what folks will post in the hopes of clicks, but fear not! Our girl Jen had it handled!

When the rumors began to fly, she took it upon herself to put a little something on Facebook.

As Jen said, it’s pretty amazing that she even HAS TO clear it up, but we cannot give her enough kudos for handling an awkward rumor with wit and sass.

With so much judgement out there and essentially no margin for error for stars, it’s always great to see the celebs have the occasional crack at parodying the ridiculousness of it all.

She washed up pretty good after that, we’d say:
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At least she’s not rumoredly hooking up with Josh, Liam, or both of them in some strange menage a trois this time around, AMIRITE?

We Have Faith In Your Hygiene!
The Girl With The Pearl

Testing Out The MJ2 App (And Looking Like An Unconvincing Drag Queen)

O hai, it’s a Mockingjay Part 2 app!

In a less complicated, cutesy twist, the OLTM (Our Leader The Mockingjay, in case you forgot) app has become MJ2 to promote the final Hunger Games movie.

Honestly, not too much has changed. The big new draw is that that graffiti feature has been readjusted for YO FACE!

This post contains my face… and for that I apologize.

First off, the Mockingjay war paint!

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Apparently, my forehead is not big enough for this feature. But otherwise, not terrible!

Fun fact: You CANNOT smile when you take this picture. Something about the facial shift angers the overlay and it disappears. So go for your war face!

Next, you can get into the Capitol spirit and become Effie with a bazillion different make up options. Mind you, all of these options will make you look like an unconvincing drag queen or perhaps a six-year-old who has raided mom’s make-up stash.

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The stupid duck face WAS intentional. I regret nothing.

The old feature has also been given an upgrade. You can still point and shoot at certain clear surfaces to add “graffiti” to your surroundings, but there are plenty of new graffiti options.

Remember the MockingToilet? IT JUST GOT BETTER.

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Katniss is on the throne while ON THE THRONE and we are not even a little bit sorry for this.

So if you love The Hunger Games and like to go crazy with funny picture sharing on social media, today is your day! Dance through the fields of Internet glory! …But charge your battery first, because this app will kill it in about 5 seconds.

I Barely Wear Real Makeup And I AM OVERWHELMED,
The Girl With The Pearl

The Final Trailer You’ve Probably Already Seen

After a weekend only at Best Buy and lots of online leaks, the FINAL Mockingjay Part 2 trailer has hit the web officially.

The trailer has extended shots of footage seen before with some sneaks of new things (hi Johanna). We have a new impassioned plea from Katniss to “STOP KILLING FOR HIM (Snow), but we definitely understand some of the fan criticism about a lack of new footage. It’s more extensions of what we’ve already seen, but there ARE lots of new things to see within the trailer. You just need to slow things down to truly dissect them.  Also creating a sense of deja vu is the drum arrangement from this summer’s propo and featured in a lot of THG’s social edits. We wish they had chosen a different piece of music. It didn’t create the same sense of building tension that we’ve felt in other trailers.

Maybe it was the exclusionary “preview weekend,” the leaks, or the fact that there wasn’t much true build up to this trailer’s online release (it was just plopped up on YouTube at noon eastern time today without public warning) that dampened our excitement. But it’s here, and we’re glad it’s out for everyone to see. FINALLY.

No more trailer angst, please.

JJ