Katniss Everdeen

Violence, Lies, and Videotape– The Parallels Between Panem and Ricegate

The good news: We’ve got a guest post today!

But there’s some important notes about this post: The subject is heavy and possibly triggering for some people. The opinions are those of the writer and they ain’t rainbows and kittens.

With that said… Take it away, Satsuma!

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NOTE: The following contains, toward the end, spoilers (though vague) for Game of Thrones Season 4, and another vague spoiler for (the original) Dr. Who.

First of all, let me apologize for not exactly bringing the funny in this post, because I just couldn’t figure out a way to do it.

Most of you likely know of, or perhaps even seen, the infamous video featuring the talented Mr. Rice, formerly an employee of the Baltimore Ravens, punching his then-fiancee (now wife) so hard she was knocked unconscious. Now, I have always been fascinated by the many parallels between Panem and the real world, but I must admit I didn’t notice any here, until I read the timely post by JJ regarding Josh Hutcherson revealing that Peeta is shown saving Katniss after she’s set on fire by the parachute bombs, and her comment that: “It may also help buy back some goodwill from the purely movie-going audience for all the times he *gulp* tries to hurt her in hijacked rage.”

And then I realized, that there IS a parallel between the Ray Rice video and Mockingjay. A pivotal MJ scene also features a video of a celebrated male contestant in a game known for violence, attacking his fiancee. Not only that, this incident is important in MJ not really because Peeta attacks Katniss, which he has before this point, but because, when he actually watches his actions on video, Peeta is shocked and horrified at himself, to the point of suicidality. The idea that SEEING something makes a unique impact on people, certainly seems to be the case in how quickly public outrage mounted after the Rice video was released, forcing powerful entities such as the NFL to make an about-face, and how even Rice’s defenders, who claimed earlier that “no one really knows what happened in that elevator”, were forced to as well.

Not that video footage is required for shock and outrage, of course; just see what happened in Ferguson, MO. And just because people see images of violence or its effects, doesn’t mean they’ll reject it; many of Adrian Peterson’s defenders admit to seeing the graphic pictures of the injuries he inflicted on his son, but still state that what he did was acceptable discipline. And certainly, what seems to be damning video can be edited or taken out of context, as the torturers do with the Katniss videos they show Peeta; Ray Rice is now claiming as much, as he appeals his indefinite suspension.

And then there's this in Part 2...

And then there’s this in Part 2…

But in general, it does seem images have an impact on people that the written word just doesn’t have. And now we get to JJ’s point about movie-only fans, and the idea that perhaps adding more positive Peeta-Katniss interaction in MJ might counter-balance the impact of seeing Peeta physically attack Katniss. I suspect that even for book readers who know what happened, actually SEEING him try to strangle her, as opposed to the brief, fade-to-black one-liner we get in the book, will have a quite different kind of impact. In general, the only fandom players I have really seen hate on Peeta, are anti-Everlakers who’d prefer Katniss wind up with Gale, Haymitch, Finnick, etc. Indeed, it’s KATNISS who seems to get most of the vitriol for her reactions to hijacked Peeta. But will this change when we actually SEE what he does?

Now, even before Ricegate raised the general awareness of intimate partner violence, I have thought that the MJ film runs a risk of coming across as condoning or excusing violence in relationships. Now, certainly, as far as we know, nobody gave Ray Rice toxic hallucinogens, BUT it’s certainly plausible he may have had alcohol in his system, or even that the hits he’s received on the field have affected his brain. Yet, the conventional wisdom about what he did now seems to be, “There is never ANY excuse for a man to hit the woman he claims to love”. So, what will the casual movie fan, think about Peeta’s actions? And what will they think of Katniss? Note that the public hasn’t exactly been THAT supportive of Mrs. Rice, either; many people have sighed at yet another example of a woman standing by a man who doesn’t deserve it, or even cynically suggested that she finds the occasional KO a reasonable price for the fame and fortune she can access through her husband.

Certainly, there are many incidents of male – on – female violence in the story so far in the context of the Games, but fans seem to have accepted that there is nothing specifically “gendered” about, say, Thresh killing Clove, or Marvel killing Rue; it was fairly obvious that they would have handled a male tribute in the same position, no better or worse. And some fans argue that Peeta’s acted out of perceived self defense, and that this motivation is MUCH different than that of an abuser. But there’s also the take that, as JJ stated, Peeta acted out of “hijacked rage” and vengeance, not just self-defense, which comes a lot closer, uncomfortably closer, to real-life stories of spurned suitors turning violent.

IMHO, many people who commit acts of domestic violence are NOT inhuman monsters who we can safely consign to the “Other” category; Adrian Peterson seemed honestly perplexed as to why anyone would label him an abuser, and he very well might NOT have beat his son to satisfy some twisted sadistic urge; many of his defenders seem to honestly think harsh “discipline” is the only way to prevent their kids, especially in tough neighborhoods, from becoming juvenile delinquents. But then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if, say, Mrs. Mellark reacted the same way to an abuse allegation. “How dare you call me an abuser? I’m just trying to show my sons how to survive in this cold, hard world, and if I have to be a little harsh to make my point, so be it. Would you rather they get a few swats from me, or be whipped in the public square?”

So, just because Peeta is not a monster (even though he actually calls himself one), does that make his actions acceptable? I’m not talking about legal prosecution, certainly he’d likely qualify for an insanity defense. The issue is, will people who actually see visual images of him attempting to strangle Katniss to death, then later attempt to beat her head in with a rifle butt, find these actions forgiveable? Will they find the eventual Peeta-Katniss ending to be acceptable, or send some kind of dangerous message to women that “if the man in your life was mentally ill at the time he attacked you, you should forgive him, marry him, and have his kids”? Or will the casual fan conclude, “See, I told you this was just another Twilight. Why do those silly teenage girls lap up this nonsense that there’s something noble about loving a man who has insidious urges to kill you?”

And here’s another interesting example (beware, GOT S4 spoilers ahead) of fictional scenes that stir up controversy about real life issues.

Remember the tremendous controversy around a scene in GOT S4, that most show-only fans interpreted as an obvious rape? The source scene from the book, which is notably in the POV of the more sexually aggressive partner, is more ambiguous, and GRRM himself denied that he meant to write a rape scene. But one interesting fan debate that took place was this; are the showrunners at fault for misinterpreting canon and writing a rape scene without realizing it? Or, does a close reading of the original book scene, reveal that it was GRRM himself who did so, it only became apparent that he did when we actually got to SEE the scene, not just read about it?

So, I am very curious as to whether the movie WILL manage to redeem Peeta, and the P-K ship, or whether movie-only fans will wind up with a far different take on whether an Everlark ending casts a ray of hope, or just adds to the tragedy of war. I have wondered myself if Peeta and Katniss really were capable of raising well-adjusted children, or if they were doomed to repeat their respective cycles of family dysfunction. And since Peeta’s mental state certainly seems to be based in part on real PTSD sufferers, flashbacks and all, I wonder if the wider fandom wind up debating, whether SC wrote an apologia for acts of domestic violence committed by military veterans and other PTSD sufferers against their families, without realizing it.

Of course, as I have noted before, the idea that Peeta CONTINUED to be violent toward Katniss during flashbacks post-war, despite his treatment, is fanon, not canon. Also, SC never claimed that she was trying to provide her readers with models for healthy romantic relationships. But neither did GRRM, yet that didn’t quite shield him from criticism.

(And now my Who spoiler):

On the other hand, the original Dr. Who program managed to show the Doctor almost strangling a woman while in a temporarily insane state, without apparently detracting from his hero status; and that was when Dr. Who was still considered a safe kiddie show. IMHO, the Doctor post-reboot is NOT really that much darker than his pre-Time-War self, though he apparently received a testosterone infusion during his hiatus. (Okay, I finally managed to bring in some humor).

I suppose only time will tell.
Satsuma

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The Courage of Tacky Taglines

As we’ve mentioned before, the new issue of The Hunger Games Exclusive is practically exploding with fandom goodness, including stills and lengthy interviews with the stars. But among all that glorious, visually lovely magnificence, something happened. Something we weren’t quite as enthusiastic about.

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No, we’re not talking about how Samsung Galaxy seems to present just about everything in this fandom nowadays. Or the level of Photoshop achieved here. It’s that damn movie tagline.

THE COURAGE OF ONE WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.

Is that really the best we can do?

Yes, Katniss does have courage by the ton. And though she struggles, said struggles ultimately end in her defeating the Capitol and thus changing the world. But to suggest that she simply does it alone without extreme amounts of pressure and/or encouragement from people behind the scenes is just preposterous. Does she deserve credit? HELL TO THE YES. Her alone? NOPE. She is the symbol of the rebellion, a rallying figure and a catalyst for action, but she is not the whole damn rebellion.

But it’s not even that, really. It’s the actual phrasing of the slogan. Something about it just screams “CHEESY 80s ACTION FILM!” This tagline seems more suited to Chuck Norris or Arnold Schwarzenegger, running in slo-mo toward a helicopter in camouflage, than Katniss Everdeen. Or one of those inspirational films about the fight to change some unfair, old-fashioned political policies. Again, not The Hunger Games.

It’s also reminding me of those really persistent military ads from a few years back:
ArmyOfOne

For those of you outside the US, this campaign was EVERYWHERE for a number of years and apparently did its job well with the branding, so much so that we think of it every time we hear something referring to the general power or strength “of one”.

Maybe we were spoiled by the first two films, which both had taglines that referenced back to the books and got us excited. “May the odds be ever in your favor.” “The world will be watching.” “Every revolution begins with a spark.” “Remember who the enemy is.” By comparison, this latest tagline feels like it was picked out of a general action movie slogan catalog.

But we only get one trailer, so I’m assuming there’s only one tagline. In the meantime, I’m putting the tagline with a movie that seems more suited for it:

THE COURAGE OF ONE WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.

THE COURAGE OF ONE WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.

The Girl With The Pearl

What We Learned From The New Mockingjay Part 1 Stills

In case you missed it, with “The Mockingjay Lives” trailer also came a new edition of Hunger Games Exclusive featuring interviews with Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, and Natalie Dormer, quick bios of Boggs, Pollux, Castor, and Messalla, and a boatload of new stills.

And oh, there’s messages behind messages about the movies in those stills!

1) Gale and Cressida either hate each other or totally get each other

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There are a couple pictures of Gale and Cressida together that make us wonder about how other character relationships will be expanded in the TWO parts of Mockingjay (because hell, that’s definitely room to expand things!) Yes, they’re facing away from each other which suggests that this isn’t a romantic twist– THANK GOODNESS– but there’s some sort of deal going on between these two. On one hand, neither looks particularly happy and they won’t look at each other. On the other, they have each others’ back and it seems like these two share a similar ideology that might have them teaming up quite a bit.

Are we just talking nonsense? We’ll find out in two months!

2) Jen’s wig is pretty solid.. except for when there’s running.

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Witness ZEE WIG.

Not bad, right? Flowy, realistic frizz, and a hair line that doesn’t make you facepalm. It’s not very noticeable at all!

Now.. a second glance:

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IT JUST GOT SO MUCH MORE NOTICEABLE.

Stills of action scenes are very rarely kind to the characters involved. This just proves it. We probably won’t notice it so much with actual, rolling footage, but this shot is a definite reminder that our homegirl got wigged up for these movies.

3) There’s always that one guy.

Extras. Very rarely does one really catch your eye because they’re out of place, but it happens.

Take the District 8 shot. Almost everyone looks tense, resilient, perhaps even a bit frightened and then… Wait. Is that one guy smirking at her?

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It may not be enough to draw most people’s attention, but something about this guy’s look here says “Dude! They put me right next to her! I’m totally going to be in the movie.”

4) Everyone posed in those D13 uniforms (also, see #1)

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Military or not, we’re guessing everyone had a photo-op in District 13’s gray fatigues, just to reassure us that all the characters hate them and even the pretty ones look a bit drab. Alas, more reassurance that District 13 is a fashionista’s worst nightmare.

5) Someone put a tiny braid in Natalie Dormer’s hair EVERY. DAY.

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And yet we can barely manage to braid our own hair without it looks like a rat’s nest. Kudos to Mockingjay’s official braider (we assume that’s their title) and their tiny little hands!

Reaction Post: Mockingjay Part 1 Trailer

It’s that time again, that time where the bloggers of Victor’s Village sit down at our respective computers, and chew the fat about the trailers, and in this case it’s the final trailer for Mockingjay Part 1! Yep, the one we’ve been waiting for for about four months!

 

WHERE SOUND OF MUSIC REFERENCES ARE MADE WITHOUT SHAME OR IRONY
The Girl With The Pearl
: Okay, let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to staaaaaart!)

Them There Eyes: Sew… a needle pulling Katniss around like a marionette!

JJ: Katniss’s line is fantastic.

TGWTP: Katniss is talking, and there’s these nice shots of her and Prim and Gale… and then you realize she’s pretty much face-timing with President Snow?

JJ: A big new addition to the screenplay! Snow looks so fiendish there. It’s so unnerving.

TTE: Also Jennifer Lawrence has a Sexy Lauren Bacall voice, which is über important to note.

TGWTP: I’m not sure if I like them chatting. Doubt it will ruin the movie, but it felt weeeeeird. Though the Lauren Bacall voice IS lovely. (more…)

It’s HERE! #TheMockingjayLives and WE REALLY NEEDED THIS.

Please excuse all the caps in that title but it’s necessary because we finally have it and it’s HERE. After much agonizing waiting we have a full trailer and a bunch of new goodies at The Hunger Games Exclusive.

DEEP BREATHS.

First thing’s first. THE TRAILER.  Yes, it is only 1 minute 45 seconds. And we would have really have liked to have that additional 45 seconds, but what we did get is pretty damn epic. We get glimpses at most all of our favorite characters and some interesting new surprises (Katniss talking directly to Snow… whoa). We’ll have a group reaction post soon once we’re able to process all the amazingness.

But that’s not all! This big, big, big day also means the latest edition of The Hunger Games Exclusive is out. And that means more STILLS (again, finally). And more than one of Katniss! And interviews with the actors! It’s like all the gift giving holidays in one day guys!

Katniss and Gale bringing full action movie.

katniss gale

 

Cressida in full fierce-fire-background mode!

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And more. Go check it out. All of it. After waiting for so long, it’s a lot to take in. And if you note at the end of the trailer, tickets go on sale Oct 29, which is almost a full month later than for Catching Fire, but if that means more days like this leading up to ticket day, we’re sold!

In the meantime, we’ll be watching that trailer a few hundred more times.

JJ

Don’t Blink! Trailer Teaser Time

Happy trailer eve!

Tomorrow we finally, FINALLLLLLLLY get the trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. “About damn time” doesn’t even begin to say how much this trailer is needed, but we’ve already talked about that.

Instead, we’re going to discuss the mini-previews of the trailer that have been released in anticipation of the big day.

First off.. Don’t blink. Not because there’s weeping angels or anything.

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Just kidding, there totally are weeping angels here. Just to make you aware that we are THAT serious right now! (Non-Whovians: These things can kill you in the blink of an eye. Pay attention to the previews!)

These bits are about 10-15 seconds, but how much is actual footage?

3 seconds of footage, 7 seconds of President Snow quotage.

2 seconds of footage. Almost 3. 2 1/2, to be fair.

The trailer is short, so we suppose it should be no surprise that even their trailer previews are short. Most movies give you a solid 5 to 10 seconds of actual footage in mini-teasers. Buuuut we’re nitpicking because we’re desperate for more.

There’s really not much to comment on, but we are liking what we see. Katniss looks positively horrified as she discovers the beautiful white rose amongst the dead flowers in her abandoned house. Katniss and Gale fighting off Capitol predators together in District 8 is pretty much the only form of Katniss/Gale “togetherness” we can get behind.

And that right there is the big point:
The campaign for this movie has been very slow and some fans are losing enthusiasm, but we’re still pretty damn sure the movie will be among the best for the year. Why? Because the movie was made by Lawrence Squared, J-Hutch, Hemsy, Nina Jacobson (we don’t have a fun nickname for her), and some of the most celebrated actors out there and the promotional packaging, well… isn’t. In the end, the overall experience feels dimmed, but the movie will probably still leave us all like “OHMYSWEETGOODNESS DID YOU SEE THAT?”

And hopefully the trailer makes us super excited too. Because if we’re only getting one full trailer, it better be freaking glorious.

Looking For To Basking In The Glory With You (Hopefully),

The Girl With The Pearl

The Mockingjay Is Revealed-ed

The Mockingjay has been revealed! And, and, and– um, well, she looks like a cross between Batman and Jesus. Take a look for your selves!

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To steal from a dear friend from the fandom (thank you Erin), we’re going to call this poster “The Beakness” from here on out. ‘Cause if you look, and not even that closely, the Mockingjay’s beak looks like it is in fact poking out of Katniss’s neck. That’s right folks, Katniss has been impaled by a giant, gold, bird. It’s just what we’ve always wanted, right?! Probably not.

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Yesterday when I saw this poster for the first time, ’cause– hey it was up on a Lionsgate affiliated promotional materials website, so it was fair game, I thought thoughts that were none too flattering. These were not good thoughts to be having about something I’m supposed to hold in high regard, but– I couldn’t help it. I have high standards, like Vermeer kind of standards, and this poster looks like something that was worked over so much with Photoshop that Jennifer Lawrence’s cheeks have been whittled out so much that that may not even be Jennifer Lawrence! That’s a frightening thought, the entire poster could be computer generated, and they were working from a facsimile of Jen, that they forgot what she really looks like, and– and now whoever that is looks like a boy wearing a molded breastplate, or Bat-Jesus. I want to banish these thoughts from my mind! Also if you’ve got a problem with me saying Katniss looks like Jesus, she is a savior figure– it’s not an unfounded comparison. These are not good things to be thinking, damn it! I wish so hard that my impressions of this work had changed since yesterday, but obviously they haven’t. I want to be thinking good things about the materials that are being released in promotion for this film franchise! And to put a bright red cherry on top of this disappointment, we were given another teaser to tease the release of the final trailer!

WHAT?! My actual reaction to this information was a lot more colorful, lemme tell you! F words, people– F words, and C words, and phrases that sound like “flock meeses”, and “flu falls”. If that was not your reaction as well, I’d like you to explain to me how you can, in your right mind be all right with the way in which this film has been advertized so far. Because from where I’m sittin’, it’s been less than stellar– and if that pisses the Powers That Be Off, SO BLOODY BE IT. I’m disappointed! I’m not connecting to the material, it feels empty, and I want better for the franchise based on one of my all time favorite book series’! Is that too much to ask for?

Resting on your laurels only makes one thing happen– people forget you, and will find something else to pay attention to.

Them There Eyes

 

What’s Going Down on September 10?

We are all wondering what will be revealed on September 10. Based on some now-deleted social posts from Lionsgate, at least one thing MAY be another poster.  Which we hope has Katniss’s face. Because we really like Katniss’s facial expressions.

Just four of the many Katniss facial expressions that we love.

Just four of the many Katniss facial expressions that we love.

We live for Katniss’s facial expressions. At the very least, what is being released on Wednesday has something to do with Our Leader the Mockingjay. So that’s cool. We’re excited.

But is there anything else in store? Say, for example, something that starts with a Tr and rhymes with Paylor? And maybe has a shot of Paylor in it? Well we just got a really big clue that…. it will not.

According to the trailer listings for US theaters this week, the Mockingjay teaser trailer from July will continue to be shown. There is no new trailer listed. So if a new trailer is released this week, it won’t be in US theaters unless there’s some last-minute magic in store. And it would be VERY surprising to release a trailer online and not have it shown in theaters that weekend. Not totally impossible. Just surprising.

Crazy, surprising things can happen in the world, so who knows what Lionsgate has in store. But it’s probably best to prepare yourselves for NO trailer on Wednesday. (And if some crazy surprise does happen then it will make it even sweeter and you can dance around and cry and scream with joy).

So will it just be a poster on Wednesday? Or something more? At least we have less than two days to wait and wonder on this particular question.

If not Wed, we have a really really good feeling about next week.

JJ

Sufficiently Teased. Like REALLY REALLY WELL TEASED.

Every week, a new tease to enjoy on our road to November 21. Yesterday we got a cool poster of our long-awaited favorite, OUR LEADER THE MOCKINGJAY.

Turn around...

Turn around…

It was just of her back, which is yet again a huge tease, cause we would love to see our heroine’s actual face sometime in the near future. But there was a lot of great symbolism that you could draw from her body position, and the poster itself.

Along with the poster we were teased that Our Leader the Mockingjay would return on Wednesday, September 10 with something new. Rejoice!

People were overjoyed thinking it meant that the trailer would be revealed on that day. But one day later, now there is doubt and rumor and uncertainty again. It seems pretty clear going through the various social networks.

The fans are so tired, Katniss.

Movie marketing is all about the tease. You can’t reveal too much or people complain. You reveal too little and people complain. There is a very delicate balance. And fans can only take so much teasing before they get really angry or stop believing all together.

Today I was bemoaning the use of the word “soon” to talk about when things were coming because “soon” is so open to personal interpretation. I know we all wish we had more concrete details on what to expect so we could prepare sufficiently. What we do know – something new will be revealed on Wednesday. It’s extremely likely to be Katniss related (YAY KATNISS REMEMBER WE LOVE HER?).

But it’s also likely that what happens on Wednesday will be a tease for something else down the road, so it’s best we brace ourselves for continued emotional turmoil. It seems to be the theme around here.

I think Katniss would be a really good Batman, btw.

JJ

 

Behind The Mockingjay (Literally)

*blinks* Did we… did we just get Punk’d?

Starting late yesterday evening, international distributors started hinting that something would be happening today. It was something, all right, but not something that was saw coming by any means!

Namely, it was this:

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KATNISS!

Sort of. We can’t confirm that it’s Jennifer Lawrence and not a body double, but we’d like to believe it’s our leading lady.

Still, we don’t know how we feel about this.

If this poster was released three months ago, it would have been OUR JAM! Katniss’ Mockingjay suit is GOR-GE-OUS and fierce and breaks our hearts into a thousand little Cinna shaped pieces. Are feather shoulder pads going to be a new fashion statement? We hope so! The poster continues with the wonderful theme of Katniss going against the grain– She looks right when everyone looks left in The Hunger Games posters, then stands when everyone else sits in Catching Fire posters. Facing away from the camera is also a nice metaphor for her reclusive nature and even more extreme struggles with PTSD in Part 1.

But it’s not June. It’s September. At this point in the game, we at least want to see Katniss’ anxiety and haunting memories and reluctant strength on her face. Build-up and anticipation is great in the right doses, but we’re overdosing on that anticipation over here!

There’s a reason Apple products advertise a program called Face Time and not Back-of-the-Skull Time (besides the fact that it would be really uncomfortable to keep twisting your arm behind your head to get a proper shot): All humans speak the language of facial expressions, the eyes are the window to the soul, aaaaaand so on! Katniss’ soul is being denied its window, dammit! FREE KATNISS!

But with the poster reveal also came the notification to expect something on September 10th! THERE’S MOOOOOAR! We’re hoping we can finally get more than yet another tease at that time, but we have no clue. As long as it’s not a “Katniss turns around” poster six days later because we would legitimately just start weeping in frustration at the point.

“I’m So Tired, Katniss”
The Girl With The Pearl