Mockingjay

Those Highly Scripted District Voices

Today Lionsgate announced a partnership with Google for a 5 episode series on YouTube. New videos focusing on different districts will debut daily through Friday. The videos star real YouTubers playing the roles of district citizens.

Today’s video comes from District 8 and features ThreadBanger.

With its fashion focus, this video reminds us a lot of Capitol Couture. It’s a cool extra bit of world-building and envisions more of what Capitol propaganda looks like. The use of those pyramids in the headpiece and on the dress – I can get behind that visually. The video’s futuristic, creepy vibe works. You can tell it’s meticulously scripted by the Capitol.

district 8 voicesIt’s also another slick viral marketing move that exposes Mockingjay Part 1 to people outside of the core Hunger Games fanbase. These videos are posted on the YouTuber’s own channels, exposing more people to the world of Panem. ThreadBanger has over 500,000 subscribers, which gives Mockingjay Part 1 solid additional exposure.

Here’s the full week’s schedule from Lionsgate:

Monday, October 20 – District 8:  Rob Czar & Corinne Leigh, co-helmers of the ‘Threadbanger’ YouTube channel, show how to best make use of excess Peacekeeper armor.

Tuesday, October 21 – District 2: Shane Fazen, of the ‘fightTIPS’ YouTube channel, showcases the training and techniques required to be a Peacekeeper in Panem.

Wednesday, October 22 – District 5: Derek Muller, known for the mind-blowing experiments and scientific discussions on his YouTube channel ‘Veritasium’, demonstrates new ways in which the Capitol may generate its electricity in the future.

Thursday, October 23 – District 9: Jimmy Wong & Ashley Adams, best known for their ‘Feast of Fiction’ YouTube channel, demonstrate baking techniques from Panem’s Grain District.

Friday, October 24 – District 6: iJustine’s Justine Ezarik, gives a glimpse at the driving force that proudly supports the transportation needs of Panem’s vaunted Peacekeepers.

I’m not familiar with any of these YouTube channels so these will all be a big surprise for me. I hope they’re allowed to pull in a bit more about Peeta and Johanna in later videos (BAKING anyone?). The world-building opportunity here is really cool, but it resonates even more when you pull in our favorite characters.

Let those (highly scripted and controlled) voices be heard!

JJ

About these ads

The Courage of One… In Liquid Form

Once upon a time, 16-year-old me had typical teen job working concessions at a local arena. It did have its upside because I was technically in attendance at every concert there and also got to watch lots of hockey fights, but ANYWAY…

One very memorable concert we had was headlined by Nelly. Why, you ask? Because Nelly had his own special beverage that we were required to sell at the show.

I remember our supervisor, who was probably 21 and kinda old-ish in my eyes at the time, trying to ignore everyone’s snickering and control his voice as his radioed our manager to ask “So… Catherine… how much are we charging for the… Pimp Juice?”

Obviously, courage is found in your local organics market!

Obviously, courage is found in your local organics market!

This is how I imagine Whole Foods workers feel about the Mockingjay themed Courage of One juice.

Sure, it’s way less ludicrous than Pimp Juice (which seemingly received its own parody in Tropic Thunder with the fictional “Booty Sweat” energy drink), but it’s still odd. Not just because it’s called “Courage of One” juice, though we refute that whole tagline for pretty obvious reasons, but because it’s a juice based off of Mockingjay. And there’s nooooo good names for a Mockingjay juice. Because Mockingjay doeesn’t ave anything to do with juice and it’s kinda silly! It’s okay to giggle at it. REALLY!

Yes, selling that title IS indeed a challenge!

Yes, selling that title IS indeed a challenge!

But if food is the way they’re sponsoring these films, we’re going to take Whole Foods over Doritos and the various candy companies involved. First, because using something delicious yet extremely unhealthy and fattening to advertise a film in which a major issue is starvation just seems twisted and cruel. Second, because Whole Foods is the ONLY sponsor this time around who has any intentions to use their partnership with Mockingjay to fight back against poverty.

Whole Foods is home to the Whole Planet Foundation. Every time you buy a ridiculously named juice, a dollar of your money goes to this foundation, which provides loans to low-income entrepeneurs both in the US and abroad to start their own businesses and better their local economy.

Too embarrassed to go into a Whole Foods, grab a Courage of One juice, and try to look into the cashier’s eyes and feel their judgement as you pay? We are too. Thankfully, you can also go to the Whole Planet Foundation’s Courage of One page. There, you can make a donation, design a t-shirt, upload photos, watch videos, write essays, etc– and oh, be entered for a chance to win Mockingjay premiere tickets for every one of these! It’s a symbiotic relationship, y’all!

Is it a perfect campaign? The COURAGE OF ONE JUICE campaign? I just… *gigglesnort* Probably not? But are you really getting more satisfaction out of scanning labels for a few graphics and 5-second videos?

Though This Juice Could Be Made From Wheatgrass Or Something Equally Awful…
The Girl With The Pearl

A Powerful Return to District 12

Wednesday was a very emotional day for Hunger Games fans. First we went through the turmoil of being very clearly played with in the game to #UnlockMockingjay and all we could do was joke tweet our way through it. Fortunately though, by the time 7pm ET neared the unlocking % was going up so much quicker than it had the past few hours and then….

THE CLIP. A ONE MINUTE CLIP. LONGER THAN THE TEASER TRAILER IF YOU TAKE OUT THE GREEN BAND TIME.

This clip actually got us much more emotionally engaged than the teaser trailer. Probably because it totally is more engaging. And very devastating as we walk with Katniss through her destroyed district.

Where'd you come from Gale? But you're supposed to be there so we like it.

Where’d you come from Gale? But you’re supposed to be there so we like it.

But first, it starts similarly from the teaser, with voiceovers from Plutarch and Coin as Boggs leads Katniss to a hovercraft. It looks like there’s a cut because Gale seems to magically appear behind her when she’s getting on the hovercraft and then Boggs stays behind.

Then the hovercraft flies through a very green forest back to District 12.

Like Katniss, WE WERE NOT PREPARED FOR THIS.

Plutarch was right, the impact of seeing what the Capitol did to District 12 is so very powerful.

As Katniss walks through the district, there are visual cues to remind of us of the places we know from Catching Fire. When placed side by side, the effect is appropriately horrific.

cf vs mj preview

 

And THEN you notice the charred bodies. This may be PG-13, but thankfully, Francis Lawrence doesn’t seem to be sanitizing anything he doesn’t have to.

katniss dadBy the time Katniss gets to her house in the Victor’s Village, it’s a relief to see her donning the familiar leather jacket and game bag. The shot of her picking up her father’s picture makes our heart hurt but also glad that she at least can take this back with her. She needs some comfort, some familiarity to get through this awful “walk.”

But all of that is again shattered when she finds the fresh white rose. We’ve seen that scene before, but her expression will always haunt us.

In all of these scenes, Jennifer Lawrence is just nailing it. Reminding us that we are lucky lucky fans to have her playing Katniss. Yes, we are.

I think we’ll buy those tickets on the 29th.

JJ

Mockingjay Gets Self(ie)ish

As a collective fandom, it turns out that we like to do things BIG.

1_0_0

A little mosaic sampler action!

Premiere turnouts, trailer views, book re-reads, merchandising, fan fiction obsessing.. whatever! We want it all in massive numbers and full force. It’s part of sharing the love, right?

So it should be no real surprise that the German film distributor for The Hunger Games (or Die Tribute Von Panem, as it’s known in that neck of the woods) wants to break a world record. For what, you ask? THE MOST GIANT COLLECTION OF FAN SELFIES EVER… formed into a Mockingjay poster.

Okay, maybe not just selfies. You can submit an actual photo taken by someone else (because when is that selfie angle EVER actually flattering?!) or a selfie over at the Mockingjay Mosaic website and be turned into part of a giant poster!

Is it the most daring, brilliant concept ever? No. But here’s why we’re liking it: In the first bit of publicity we’ve really noticed from an international distributor working alongside Lionsgate, we’re feeling the fan appreciation. The mosaic poster is the first notable effort in the Mockingjay campaign (so far) to have fans showcased as part of the overall experience. Sure, the OLTM app allowed you to make Mockingjay part of your life, but it didn’t make your life part of the Mockingjay campaign.
…Does that make sense? Can you see the forest through the trees? Are you hearing what I’m not saying to you?!

Also, it looks WAY COOLER spelled "Mosiak"

Also, it looks WAY COOLER spelled “Mosiak”

Oftentimes, it seems like movie campaigns are all about trying to get you talking about how much you love something. It makes sense, of course, word-of-mouth and continual references are how many people manage to crack and get into a series they’ve been avoiding, especially this late in the game when they’ve seen many of the official ads and probably weren’t all swayed by them. A friend saying “Trust me, it’s good” in some way, even if it’s through supporting an official movie campaign like the OLTM app, is way more convincing than media ads that easily make us cynical. But really, these campaigns don’t have much benefit for the people who are already fans other than probably “unlocking” content that the studio is going to release either way.

Instead, this easy little idea says “We KNOW you love The Hunger Games! We’re so glad, we want to make you a part of what we’re doing for the film! Let us include you!” And even though it’s a tiny, practically invisible photo in a massive mosaic that will ultimately mean next to nothing in our lives, a single tear runs down our collective fandom cheek because… they like us! They really like us! And it’s fun too, so why the hell not?!

Now If Only I Liked A Single Picture Of Myself,
The Girl With The Pearl

Caption Those New Stills

A few new stills have surfaced over the past day or so, thanks to Mockingay Part 1’s distributor in Russia. And we mean THANK YOU. We’ve been expecting more stills soon, as the various press articles start appearing. There have to be pictures to go along with those articles, right? The character images released a few weeks ago are great to have, but actual full movie stills are better. You’ve probably seen these stills by now, and you can probably guess what movie scenes they reference, but let’s have some fun and pretend like we haven’t read these books many times and have no clue what could be going on here.

Gale crossbow stillGale is eyeing that target pretty intensely. It’s not quite Blue Steel, but he does have a bit of smugness to his expression. I hope he’s eyeing a shooting target and not Katniss or something. Cause that would be awkward Gale, don’t do that.  And we have Beetee in the background paying attention to something else. He makes the weapons, he doesn’t shoot them.

Katniss RosesKatniss’s homecoming seems to be going well, someone even left her a “Welcome Home” flower arrangement. But damn it, they’ve all wilted except for a single white rose.  A florist in the Capitol is going to be hearing about this.

Cressida PolluxCressida is enjoying some well-needed outdoors time, letting her fabulously tattooed skin get some sun but keeps getting annoyed about WHERE Pollux is pointing that camera [*Update yeah I know it's Castor. I was tired, but let's pretend I really have no clue about things and go with it cause all of this is silly anyway].  Be careful there, buddy.

Peacekeepers in 7These Peacekeepers have wandered onto the set of The Return of the Jedi and are really worried about Ewoks. Nah, they’re actually pissed they got assigned to the tree-climbing district. First Katniss, and now these rebellious District 7 citizens. Who knew that tree climbing could be so effective at evading people with weapons?

Katniss CoinKatniss longs for the days when she had to maintain this fakely triumphant pose for the Capitol, cause at least it was Peeta’s hand she got to hold. And the outfits were better.

The sad thing is there will probably be legit press articles with even more off-base photo captions coming soon.

More stuff to look forward to!

JJ

 

 

 

 

Something To Look Forward To

Over the last several months, it’s sadly come to my attention that there’s a vital part of The Mockingjay story that keeps getting looked over, or forgotten from the fan perspective. The music, or most importantly, The Hanging Tree.

I’m no music expert, But I’m a music the_hanging_tree_by_alys23-d4temogfan– I listen to all sorts of genres, but one genre I listen to in particular has a thread that weaves its way throughout The Hunger Games series, traditional American folk music, or Americana. Music that originated in Scotland, England, and Ireland, but immigrated along with the influx of immigrants from the British isles in the 18th century, and earlier to North America. The Hanging Tree however is an original song, penned by Suzanne Collins, but in the style of the folk music that amazingly was preserved for more than 200 years in the Appalachian mountains, purely by the isolated nature of the location, and its people.

The Appalachian mountains is where District 12 is located though, so that means that if and when we hear The Hanging Tree sung on-screen in Mockingjay Part 1, or 2, it may sound like this, rather than the multitudes of fan-made versions that from my experience are decent, but rarely take traditional folk rhythms, and lyrical cadences into account.

The Hanging Tree is a haunting song, a dirge, like “O Death”, which was brought back to the worlds attention when it was used in the Cohen Brother’s film O Brother Where Art Thou in 2000. That was 15 years ago though, and nothing like the Oscar winning O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack has come about since. And, get this– T Bone Burnett the producer of The Hunger Games soundtrack, produced O Brother. The Hunger Games soundtrack was good, I’ll give it that– I like to pretend however that it was better, and that certain pop singers had not recorded certain songs that were written and performed by a certain other Oscar winning singer/ song writer originally. The Hanging Tree, like the song I’ve feigned to above, will probably get the same treatment– erm, how do I say this nicely–? Jennifer Lawrence is not the best singer, in fact in the film The House at the End of the Street where she played a teenager with musical proclivities– they dubbed her voice out during the portions of the film where she was required to sing. So, I think for The Hanging Tree, we’re going to get someone else’ pipes being heard by that placid lake. That is unless Jen has become an amazing singer since House at the End of the Street was filmed.

Until then, if you’re at all interested in hearing and seeing more American traditional folk music performed on film, I recommend the 2000 film Songcatcher, O Brother Where Art There of course, Cold Mountain, and Inside Llewyin Davis.

Them There Eyes

It’s #HungerGamesWeekend Movie Marathon Time

It’s a cool and rainy evening in my part of the world, the perfect evening to stay in and watch movies until you fall asleep on the couch. If you live in the US and have cable, you can do that with the Hunger Games movie tonight on ABC Family (or all throughout the weekend). It’s Hunger Games Weekend y’all. You can watch it again and again for the cost of your cable subscription.

If you’re like me and have digital, online, and or Blu-Ray/DVD copies of the movie, you may opt to watch it without all those commercials. Or, I don’t know, maybe those commercials could add to the experience. IT’S ALMOST LIKE YOU REALLY LIVE IN THE CAPITOL! Imagine that. We really love you, Suzanne Collins.

And if you’re in some countries like the UK or Canada, you can watch Catching Fire on Netflix now. It comes to Netflix US on October 22, as I keep reminding my co-workers who haven’t seen the movie yet. (Yes, there are people who STILL haven’t seen it. Weird)

We’re now 6 weeks from Mockingjay Part 1. SIX WEEEEEKS. And while we wait for the drizzle of promotion to turn into a full-on hurricane of awesome, it seems like the perfect time for a movie marathon. So depending on your country and media access, pick your preferred method, watch away, and feel all the feels again.

It’s one of the many ways of preparing for November.

JJ

125 Minutes

The latest rumor in Mockingjay Part 1 waiting-land concerns the movie runtime.  The movie’s IMDb page (which can be edited by people with a paid account) now lists 125 minutes. If true, that would be about 21 minutes shorter than Catching Fire and 17 minutes less than The Hunger Games, but who’s counting?

All we want is for you to make another incredible movie for us. NO PRESSURE!

All we want is for you to make another incredible movie for us. NO PRESSURE!

Well, all the fans are, from the buzz about it. That, or we’re just trying to take our minds off the silly snack food promotion. Whether the runtime is actually 125 minutes or not, we’ve heard from Francis Lawrence himself that the individual Mockingjay movies would be shorter than the previous movies. There’s two movies to cover one book, after all. We would hope that having the luxury of two movies means that there will be no need to rush through scenes or edit out material we love for the sake of run time. And we have every indication that there will be some new material added because we are able to see beyond just Katniss’s perspective.

Of course, the cynical business person in me also notes that a shorter runtime adds up to the availability of more movie showings per theater per day, but I’ll put that aside in favor of the thought that the movie will be as long as it needs to be to tell the story.  Catching Fire’s end credits were 10 mins 20 seconds (yes I did just check that on my digital copy of the movie), so 125 minutes means about 115 minutes of real movie time. If Francis Lawrence thinks 115 minutes is enough to tell this part of the story I’m going to trust him. And then we’ll have some extra time to sit and cry during the end credits and wonder about how appropriate that Lorde song really is for the movie.

Until the next rumor…

JJ

Missing from the Mockingjay Part 1 Cast Pictures

Early this week wrapped up the 8 days of exclusive picture releases on Instagram, which make up the Mockingjay Part 1 Cast & Crew page on Hunger Games Explorer. And, in light of no other news right now, I’m going to speculate like crazy about why some pictures are missing.

We're missing a few cast pictures but this one of Katniss kind of makes up for it.

We’re missing a few cast pictures but this one of Katniss kind of makes up for it.

First, the obvious. Delly’s not there. Delly never had a casting announcement. Delly has definitely gone the way of Madge into book/movie re-writes.  I argued ages ago that this can be a really good thing for the movie because it can allow Prim’s character to become more substantial. Any Delly remaining believers can hold onto the tiniest shred of hope that Part 1 ends with Peeta just getting to 13 so her part wouldn’t have happened yet I suppose. But nah, it’s looking quite clear that she’s gone.

Then onto someone who had a casting announcement and made us go HUH WHO IS ANTONIUS AND HOW DID I MISS THAT IN THE BOOK? Yes, the new character of Antonius, to be played by Robert Knepper. His character is supposed to be some deputy of President Snow. The actor and role were worthy of a casting announcement, so why doesn’t he merit placement here? Did the size of the role get reduced? Is it more of a Part 2 role? Or is Lionsgate holding everything back about him because, as a new character, he can be a complete surprise?

We're sad because there was no Annie picture, but here's Peeta. Let's cry.

We’re sad because there was no Annie picture, but here’s Peeta. Let’s cry.

In the same vein as trying to keep the surprise, Jena Malone is the only cast member to not get a new still in this section. It looks like a grab from the Capitol’s propaganda poster. They’re keeping the Capitol torture under wraps for now. If Antonius is involved in the torture/hijacking plot, which I believe he is, not having him pictured makes some kind of sense. But I wonder why they couldn’t be able to capture some kind of non-spoilery still of him from the movie? Is it all just too terrible???

Maybe I’m reading more into this than necessary, but Paula Malcolmson isn’t pictured either. We know she’s in the movie – she’s in the trailer. She was pictured on the Catching Fire movie page, but not The Hunger Games. I’m going to say that her exclusion here hints that her role will be minimal, but let’s face it, Mrs. Everdeen’s role in her daughter’s life, even sharing a compartment in District 13, is minimal.

Finally, I know people were hoping to see Annie Cresta, but she’s also a no show. I think this is partly because she will get very little screen time in Part 1. But I also think it’s a little bit of Lionsgate trying to keep whatever they can secret for as long as possible. At least we no longer have to wait too long.

Next month we actually get the movie!

JJ

 

 

Spine Spoilers, Story Secrets, And Whether It Still Matters

Victor’s Village has never been a spoiler-free zone. In fact, we relish in our spoiler discussion. It’s pretty freakin’ awesome ’round here! However, when it comes to most of the media covering the Hunger Games outside fandom-related websites and forums, we’d still like to think most sites and media outlets are relatively spoiler-free. It’s not that they won’t discuss or hint, but they’ll probably give a warning so you’re not diving into unwanted information. That way, someone who finally, FINALLY decides to delve into the series can have a relatively fresh start and experience everything the same way many of us did: Laughing, crying, gasping, and otherwise freaking out because

WHAT THE HELL WAS HAPPENING?!

But that seems to be changing.

Imagine the facepalming that ensued when Crystal from Jabberyjays.net pointed out the brand new Scholastic UK editions of the series, complete with a major spoiler right on the spine of the Mockingjay cover:
HUNGER-GAMES-BOOKS

Quick note that we love these covers! Between them and the luxury editions in Australia and New Zealand, our jealousy of foreign editions grows by the day.

But effectively, Scholastic is spoiling their own damn series for newbies. I know it’s hard to believe that people with little knowledge still exist, especially with the success of the films, but THEY’RE OUT THERE, MAN. Sure, the District 12 line was at the end of the Catching Fire movie, but not everyone saw (or paid attention) to that, necessarily. So if you’ve only seen or read Book One and you see that Mockingjay spine, you can safely assume that a) District 12 gets obliterated or b) District 12 is a figment of Katniss’ imagination, the latter of which just seems too damn far fetched. Aaaaaand there’s a major plot point!

Do we wish they had read the books by now? YES. EVERYONE SHOULD BECAUSE THEY’RE AWESOME. Are we going to hate on them for considering the books a little later in the game by shaming them for probably not being much of a reader? NOT TODAY.

Still, at this point, it seems like the large majority of people are very well-read (or well-watched, should we say?) on at least a chunk of the series. As such, it seems like information that’s technically a spoiler gets released pretty nonchalantly these days, almost as if to say to outsiders “Well, if you wanted to discover this on your own sometime, too bad. It’s your own damn fault for not doing it sooner.”

It’s not just The Hunger Games, of course. For instance, I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, but I can give you a pretty solid synopsis of all the major plot points on Game of Thrones. And because of this, I strangely feel LESS compelled to ever catch up on the show despite friends raving about it. Sure, knowing and experiencing are two different things, but knowing does take some of the fun out of experiencing it all. There’s this feeling that I’m too far “behind” and un-surprised by in everything for it to really matter.

So even though a huge amount of people can practically quote The Hunger Games books and movies, there’s still some value to keeping things relatively spoiler-free when possible. Again, we don’t really expect this from fansites and forums because the whole purpose of them is to thoroughly cover the series, but blatant spoilers elsewhere are pretty sucky. Because who knows how many potential fans won’t bother trying to get into the series now that they’re learning too much?

Or Are We Too Hopeful That New Fans Will Still Arise?
The Girl With The Pearl