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!

Mockingjay-Part2-Soundtrack

Goodbye Gale

From “Damn you, Gale” to “Goodbye Gale” the movie story of Katniss Everdeen and Gale Hawthorne was full of quotable, meme-worthy moments. It’s been a contentious ride, and the “Goodbye Gale” scene ends with such a sense of finality, you just know those two won’t be talking again soon, if ever. I’ve seen Mockingjay Part 2 five times now, and the scene breaks my heart every single time. The sorrow at Prim’s death, the uncertainty about where Gale’s culpability lies, and the mutual understanding that something has broken between them that can’t (or won’t) be repaired.

So the question I ask myself is, “WHY DO I LAUGH EVERYTIME I SEE SOMETHING ABOUT IT?” It can be anything. Someone can just tweet the words and I laugh. Or they can do something like this, which was a literal LOL for me.

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(There’s a huge number of other ones people have added to the post. Check them out, you will not be disappointed).

So why do we find this scene so funny? Are we trying to avoid the sadness of the situation by laughing? Are we channeling our disdain for some of Gale’s douchier moments? It’s probably both those things. We are a complicated fandom, and we like it that way.

Laughter aside, there is an undeniable honesty to “Goodbye Gale.” Katniss is not great at expressing her feelings, and the abruptness, the coldness, to how she dismisses him rings true to her character (and the numbness she feels at that time).  It works for the movie, however hard it may be to watch.

Keep laughing through the pain.

JJ

 

 

Mockingjay Movie Moments That Mattered

Back in our post about spoilers, we talked about how moments specific movie moments are important and have their own unique value. Now we’re going to talk about the special movie-only instances that caught our eye!

We should mention that a great one was already mentioned in JJ’s latest post: Castor and Pollux in the sewers, pooling their strength and solidarity to make it through a tough scenario.

“Plucked!”

President Snow’s need for control is so immense, he feels the need to correct President Coin when she misquotes him. No one can hear him and the rebellion is knocking at his door, but it doesn’t matter because dammit, Coin was misrepresenting him!

Those eyebrows though.

Those eyebrows though.

Leeg’s Last Stand

This isn’t what happened in the books, but we might have liked this better. Rather than Leeg 1 and Leeg 2 dying in completely separate instances, they take a final stand together. One is immobile, but the other stays by her side, knowing the inevitable outcome. There’s a really harrowing shot of the twins hunkering down and aiming their guns toward the stairs, where they expect the Peacekeepers to storm in at any minute.

Finnick’s smile during The Capitol’s tribute to his “death”

The Capitol tries to capitalize on the destruction of Squad 451 almost immediately, flashing a Hunger Games-style tribute to them with the anthem blaring in the background. No one is more amused than Finnick, who’s on hand when a mega-watt smile. It would be adorable… if you didn’t then remember that Finnick was minutes away from death, thus crushing your soul.

It's like this smirk but later away from Annie and... *lip quiver*

It’s like this smirk but later away from Annie and… *lip quiver*

F^%&KING MUTTS!

Yes, we knew they were coming. But the build up was so tense! Damn it all if we didn’t freak right the fuck out in the moment that the first lizard mutt jumped out. There’s a stark difference between reading about these thing and having them leap into your vision after being strung out by shadows and blurs for the three minutes prior. Jump scares get us every time, so frankly we’re just lucky we didn’t pee ourselves a little!

Plutarch’s Letter

We saw the stills from this scene, but we didn’t realize exactly what it was. Haymitch is reading Plutarch’s final words– or rather, Woody Harrelson was delivering them in the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. The speech is bittersweet to begin with, but read in this fashion, your heart sinks and you give it all a little more consideration. Not the best pick-me-up, but a really solid scene!

The Hayffie Kiss

Guys. GUYS. WHAT EVEN. Up until a couple weeks ago, Hayffie was a moderately popular bit of fanon supported by Elizabeth Banks. It always seemed to be an inside joke, but then they were kissing in the movie! Not a first-time passionate kiss, a “We’ve been at it for months while you were too busy looking elsewhere” kiss! It’s not quite Greedo shooting first (if compare book-to-movie against movie-to-“remastered”-movie), but it definitely affects opinion in the fandom going forward!

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This is way adaptations are a big deal from fandoms. Books are incredible, the life force behind most fandom. The screen adaptations add new layers of quirk, heartache, fear, and everything in between!

So Many Feels To Revisit…
The Girl With The Pearl

Little Moments We’re Thankful For in Mockingjay Part 2

Now that the second week of release is here, we’ve had time (and multiple viewings) to digest more of our thoughts and emotions about Mockingjay Part 2. We’ve seen a lot of discussion about the BIG moments in the movie – from the craziness of the pods, mutts, Finnick’s death, “Stay with me… Always,” epilogue, etc, but it’s some of the little moments that stick with us too.  Sure, there are some little things we wish had been done differently, but we’ll focus on the positive today, with our favorite little moments from the book we’re thankful (and a little amazed) actually made the cut of the movie. We’re still full of Thanksgiving spirit, so we’ll go with it.

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“I’m planning for you to have a long life”

Boggs is a character that you fall a little more in love with upon each reading of Mockingjay. He’s an overall good dude, and time and again he’s there for Katniss. He sees her as a person, not a symbol or a pawn, but a brave young woman who’s had WAY more than her fair share of sacrifice, and his support of her warms our heart. I’ve always loved this exchange between Boggs and Katniss in the books. It serves a narrative purpose of explaining Coin’s ominous intentions, but also just reinforces Boggs’ loyalty to her. Considering Boggs leaves us way too soon, we’re glad he at least got this nice moment.

Pollux and Castor when they first go underground

It was wonderful to have Pollux’s backstory fleshed out a little, and the support Castor gives his brother as he starts to get a little panicky at all the revived memories of being underground was so sweet. (Funny how they give us these moments just before a character is about to die, huh?) But it was well done to reinforce the bond between these brothers, and we loved to see it.

“You’re a painter, you’re a baker…”

Much has been written about this discussion between Peeta, Katniss, and the squad. It’s our introduction to “Real or not real,” and the movie could have just left it at the favorite color discussion and moved on. But we got the gift of the painter, baker, windows open, double knotted shoelaces, unsweetened tea of details that shows just how much Katniss was paying attention to Peeta Mellark all this time. The mundane details that she knows about him reinforces how close they became before the Quarter Quell. This is a moment for the book fans and we’re forever grateful for it, film pacing be damned!

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Tigris’s small smile when Katniss reveals her mission to kill Snow

It wasn’t a long scene, but they took the time for Katniss to recognize Tigris as an ex-stylist from the Games. The horror of Tigris’s transformation is evident when she shares that Snow didn’t think she was “pretty enough” after all the disfigurement she inevitably went through to try to meet his unobtainable continued favor. Her tiny smile when Katniss shares her plan to kill Snow is another moment we’re glad made the cut. We already knew that among Capitol elites, Snow’s friendship was fickle, but this was a reinforcement that no one was safe under his regime.

What other small moments in the film stood out to you?

JJ

 

 

 

 

The Hunger Games: The Reunion

So something weird happened last night: I went to my 10 year high school reunion. YES I AM OLD. I accept this and you should too. Moving on!

It turns out the reunion situation was pretty similar to what I expected (read: fairly lackluster), but it got me thinking about the people I reunited with and how, inevitably, some of them exist in every crowd.

For instance, I was convinced to go thanks to the Effie Trinket-esque friend. The girl who still has lots of lovely memories from back in the day and remains largely positive, determined to see us take advantage of the fun promised by this event. “Its’ going to be a big, big day!” And once we got there, she was a total champ.

Naturally, it got me thinking where the rest of the characters would fall if they met in a function hall ten years later.

Still never mastered how to smile!

Still never mastered how to smile!

For instance, Gale would probably be the best dressed guy in the room. He’d make polite small talk with the girls he missed out on in high school. But ultimately, he’d have a few too many drinks, viciously insult one of those said girls and get her all upset, reminding everyone that he’s still kind of a dick.

Katniss sits at her table while almost everyone else kind of flutters around the room. She sticks with the people she knows best, but chats with anyone who comes over to say hi. She gets a little alarmed if anyone is too enthusiastic, because nobody cares about how you’re doing that much. Moderate alcohol consumption and avoiding eye contact is key to surviving the night.

Peeta is also looking decent, but in a more basic way than any of the other men. He’s friendlier than Katniss, but still sticks by her side for most of the night. Your single friends lament the fact that he’s still with “that girl he’s been dating forever” with a twinge of jealousy. Also, he gives the awkward welcome speech.

The “Oh hell he better have a ride home” guy

Haymitch is in ripped jeans and a t-shirt, drunk to the nth degree about 20 minutes arrival. He greets everyone as if they’re his best friend, even relative strangers. Upon seeing friendly faces, he thanks them for being one of the fellow “normals” to show up in comparison to the more popular folks from back in the day (P.S. That happened) and by the end of the night, he’s flashing everyone as they try to say goodbye (P.P.S. Also happened).

Annie Odair (Cresta? Cresta-Odair? WE DON’T EVEN KNOW) is there as well. She’s smartly dressed, a bit shy, but so lovely. She’s the person everyone hasn’t fully kept in touch with but is still a total joy to see. For a few seconds that the other characters catch up on news about her kiddo and life, a reunion feels like an actual reunion and not a giant puddle of awkward.

Plutarch is the guy who’s forcing everyone to take pictures, because the memories. And the Instagram account. Everyone knows he’s in not way a ruler of Panem, but he’s sure gonna act like it. He’s a little too slick for his own good and a lot of attendees roll their eyes when he turns away.

There are probably dozens of mostly nameless others involved in this reunion– Gale’s family and Katniss’ mom and several residents from both District 12 and District 13. If it were an actual Hunger Games reunion, we’d have this:

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Plus, with more people, you could probably repeat this formula several times over!

Or Just Leave For A Bar After 2 Hours. That Worked Too!
The Girl With The Pearl

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

 

The Illegal Spoiler Games

Okay kiddos, let’s talk about over-excitement and why it could get you in some serious trouble!

When you’re as immersed in The Hunger Games fandom as most of us are, it’s hard to TALK spoilers. We’re not talking about the very movie-specific spoilers now, but we talk book spoilers all the time, so we get it. You know what’s happening, so you just want to go out there with other fans and DISCUSS.

Officially released stills = Fair game DUH

Officially released stills = Fair game DUH

We shouldn’t just throw all our obvious spoiler feels all over the Internet because, ya know, we’re all probably friends with someone who hasn’t read the books and didn’t get to see the movie right away for one reason or another. It’s obnoxious, but we’ve noticed it’s not even the worst of it nowadays.

Let’s talk technology, young’uns.

Pretty much everyone has a smartphone. And Twitter or Instagram or Tumblr or something like that. It is still 1000% illegal to take photos or clips of the movie screen during key moments and put them online. There’s a huge difference between visuals and the written word. There are specific revelations you can only get from visuals. But there’s more to it than that– not only does posting or reposting visual spoilers make you an absolute tool, there’s a wide variety of punishments awaiting, many of which involve a legal team coming after you.

Cressida says "Make smart plans so you don't look like a douche!"

Cressida says “Think before you post so you don’t look like a douche!”

Yes, your post could get lots of reaction from other fans. Please remember that getting lots of likes on a post on social media regarding a popular fandom does not actually make YOU popular or special (Trust us, we’ve reminded ourselves plenty. We are experts in this realization.) Is the inflated sense of ego worth an account suspension or a cease and desist letter? The answer is NO.

Also, a lot of fans just think what you’re doing is uncool and ruining the full experience for others. So there’s just that good ol’ “Don’t be a dick” factor.

If you haven’t seen this on your timelines much, this rant may sound odd. But we’ve been seeing it everywhere–some of it is even directed to us– and we know we’re not the only ones, which is pretty ridiculous. We want fans to have more respect for the film than that.

Let’s all learn our boundaries and the world will be a better place!

Everyone Deserves A Fair Spoiler Warning!
The Girl With The Pearl