Mockingjay

Rallying Behind The Hanging Tree

(Small spoilers for the Hanging Tree sequence in the film)

The Mockingjay score is available to buy today, and after hearing it during the movie, I bought it first thing this morning and it’s been my musical buddy all day. The score, and in particular, The Hanging Tree, is the talk of the fandom, and we couldn’t be happier. With fan-created hastags like #BuyTheHangingTreeOniTunes flying everywhere, the song is rising on the digital download charts. It’s nice to see fans take hold of something from the movie they love and rally behind it. So why ALL THE LOVE?

It’s a great sequence in the MOVIE

From the earliest reviews, this was the scene that everyone was talking about. In a hugely positive way. Even the grumpy reviewers who couldn’t get over the fact that this movie was a Part 1 seemed to like the Hanging Tree scene, which is ironic, because this scene would very likely have never been filmed, much less make a final cut, in a one-movie-only Mockingjay. The way the song moves from Katniss’s thoughtful, quiet singing to a rebel anthem fits so well in the film. We like music that actually fits the film!

And it made a beloved scene in the book EVEN BETTER

It’s the best of both worlds when you can translate a tricky book scene like this so well in the film. This scene was a major call-out of what fans wanted to see in the movie. There’s a lot of ways this could have gone very terribly wrong. But somehow Francis & Co found a way to do it in a way that made it even more moving than it was in the book.

Jennifer Lawrence is singing, y’all

We’ve heard Jennifer Lawrence repeatedly insist that she’s an awful singer, but we all know that’s just some overly modest insecurity talking. She may not have the professionally trained chops of a Broadway singer, but that works for the song. Her bluesy tone and style feels real and honest and just right for that scene. Anything more polished would feel fake and too much like the choreographed propaganda that failed. There’s a definite novelty to hearing Jen sing, yes, but it’s not just because it’s Jennifer Lawrence, the big movie star signing it that we’re so enraptured. It’s the way she sings it – and the arrangement of the piece by the Lumineers and James Newton Howard.

And now we’ve got a tv spot with the song too.

We’re hoping Lionsgate pushes this song for awards contention. Even with all the lack of awards love this franchise gets, we think this song has a shot.

It’s going to be running through our heads for quite a while, but that’s just fine.

JJ

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Mockingjay Has Been Split into Two Movies. Get Over It or GTFO.

This post will be about the fact that Mockingjay was split into two movies, but there will be no mention of where the split happens or spoilers about the film.

If you’ve read any negative reviews of Mockingjay Part 1, you can be sure that a major gripe with the reviewer is that Mockingjay is continuing the trend of making the final book of a series into multiple movies. These people want the trend to DIE because they don’t want Hollywood to make more money on blockbuster movies at the expense of the sanctity of cinema. It’s a cash grab that offends them on behalf of the moviegoers that actually have to pay to see movies. Meanwhile the publication they write for probably has articles every other week about how Hollywood isn’t growing box office receipts enough. Negativity begets web traffic which begets more ad dollars which keeps that person in a job.

Katniss CoinWhen Lionsgate made the decision to split Mockingjay into two movies, I think the decision was purely financial. They weren’t thinking it would make the fans happy, they were thinking that the audience who had miraculously made The Hunger Games into a monster hit would be willing to stick around, so it would be fiscally irresponsible NOT TO make an additional film. If you’re a studio executive, you don’t leave money like that on the table if you want to keep your job for long.

I don’t own any Lionsgate stock, so I don’t have any stake in their financial success. However, I would be pissed if they decided to keep the budget low and make two cheap films to squeeze even more dollars out of the franchise. But they didn’t. They bankrolled talented people to make these movies and gave it a large enough budget to look great. If they give me two movies I enjoy, I will happily pay to see each one.

D8-Hospital1-620x413And you know what, I’ve seen Mockingjay Part 1 twice now, and I love it. I’m glad I get two films to go more into detail of a book that means so much to me. If they had made just one movie, it would have been rushed, and long, and left too much out.  Yes, at the end, I really wanted the movie to keep going, but that’s the point. It’s not going to end in a neat little bow. I was prepared for that, so I’m a satisfied movie-goer.

So let’s break it down, who is going to be unhappy about Mockingjay being two movies?

  • People who don’t really like the book.
  • People blinded by the “YA” heritage of this series to see the universal relevance of the story.
  • People who haven’t read the book but just show up for THE HUNGER GAMES killin’ action movie or because Jennifer Lawrence is hot, without any self-awareness or care of how “Capitol” that sentiment is.

At the end of the day, if Mockingjay had been one movie, I don’t think it would have won over those people anyway. The book is a huge departure from the first two in the series. It’s darker and more introspective and not for everyone. But I’m ready to see Mockingjay Part 1 yet again, and will enjoy the ride up to the finale next year.

Happy Mockingjay PART 1 weekend,

JJ

 

Mockingay Part 1 Premiere Day Fan Frenzy

It’s another milestone day. The LA premiere! Reddit AMA, Twitter Chat, Facebook Fan Events! So much goodness all at once, it’s hard to pick just one.

mj la premiere starsWe were very excited to see the Facebook Fan event, because we saw previews of it from when it occurred on Saturday. It did start, how should we say, fashionably late so we haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, because it was PREMIERE TIME.

But while we waited for the Facebook event and the Premiere Livestream to start, we noticed something interesting. Music that seemed very much to be the Mockingjay Part 1 Score started playing. And then that theory was cemented when a female voice started singing The Hanging Tree. At first it was confusing. Who is that singing?

OMG THIS IS JEN SINGING THE HANGING TREE.

Yes, I kept listening because it was on and IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. So beautiful. I can’t wait to see it on film. The score beyond that sounds great, with tones from the previous films.

More bts stories!

More bts stories please!

But onto the Premiere! The WHITE carpet looked super cool and everyone was there. New faces like Patina Miller, who wanted to keep her Commander Paylor boots because it helped her immediately get into character. Mahershala Ali told us that Francis Lawrence made blooper reel that documented how things were so wacky off camera and then would immediately become serious at the word “action.” WE MUST SEE THIS. THIS MUST BE A DVD EXTRA PLEASE.

The livestream hosts kept asking about pranks. It seemed to be their go to question. So we learned that Jeffrey Wright had a close call when Jennifer tried to push him in Beetee’s wheelchair. Liam shared that he tries to be zen when around the Jen and Josh craziness. Jen’s favorite costume was her tribute parade costume in Catching Fire and Josh wanted to keep Finnick’s trident from Catching Fire. A lot of soundbites given. A lot of pictures taken. But the best thing about today is that we can now say this is the week the movie opens!

It’s almost movie time!

JJ

Mockingjay Cast Late Night Antics

The time of interviews and MORE interviews is here, and the leading cast has been making the late night talk show rounds in New York (and the morning show talk show rounds, these guys are busy). The “late night” shows are actually taped in the afternoon/early evening and are just aired later at night, but anyway, the cast is everywhere and bringing the funny.

Jennifer stopped by Letterman and she had 4 segments of the show (which really really rarely happens) where she shared some funny stories about meeting her friend Lauren for the first time and trying to get a (platonic) couples colonic with Josh. If only Letterman didn’t phone it in so hard and gave her a little more to work with. But ah well, he’s heading towards retirement, and to get Jen ready for the next CBS late night host, she also visited Steven Colbert at The Colbert Report. He had no problem understanding that Mockingjay Part 1 is “the third installment in the rare four part trilogy.” And he has big plans for either leaving it all to fight crime with her. Or have a downward spiral. Let’s scrap those plans for now, eh?

Meanwhile, Josh Hutcherson stopped by Jimmy Fallon to answer Twitter questions. We know Josh doesn’t tweet much, and he admits that he doesn’t do the daily tweet stuff like “Gettin my Starbucks. So sad. #Frappuccino.” Which I’ve been seeing all over twitter all day now in various forms.

He also displays his awesome talent of gibberish and did a repeat of the eerily accurate cricket noise (how?). The guy is talented. Thanks to a cool fan question we also learned about a new Catching Fire easter egg.

Though Josh has lots of talents, he may need to work his at beer hockey skills. But in beer hockey does anyone really lose?

No, I don’t think he was at all unhappy about that.

Now on to the other 39,452 more interviews.

JJ

The Big Big Big Mockingjay Part 1 World Premiere

It’s Mockingjay Part 1 World Premiere Day! And the lucky attendees are watching the movie RIGHT NOW. We really want to be those people. A lot. But we’re stuck telling ourselves that it’s ok – once we see the movie, we’re stuck back to waiting 365 more days to Part 2. And that brings its own struggles.

Hello Glamorous People

Hello Glamorous People

The part of the premiere that we COULD see was livestreamed on Yahoo UK, which is a mix of the host repeating herself ad nauseum to kill time while awaiting someone to arrive, watching the stars pose and sign things for the excited fans, and some super-quick interviews. All very shallow and silly sure, BUT WE LOVE IT and wait all year for this craziness.

Some highlights from the livestream:

  • Francis Lawrence teased that yes, there is one remaining scene to film. And Jennifer later said that he had promised her it would involve a horse. We’re not so sure about how that’s going to work, but we’ll let the two of them work that out.
  • Nina has enjoyed interacting with fans on twitter. So continue being nice to her so she keeps tweeting us little teases. She was the saving grace of the long winter of no Mockingjay news in 2014.
  • We want to listen to Jeffrey Wright discuss the books for hours, not just a minute. Let’s make that happen. He can bring anyone else from the cast too.
  • Jena Malone is aware of the fanart and fanfiction. Does she read the fanfiction though? We want to know.
  • The host tried to say that Effie and Katniss were “best friends” and Elizabeth Banks found a way to graciously find a way around that completely wrong comment without making the interviewer aware of how dumb it was.
  • Josh Hutcherson was well enough to attend the premiere, but still not fully recovered. It didn’t seem to scare away any of the screaming fans though (we get it – I GOT JOSH HUTCHERSON GERMS is a fun story to bring home with you. Just maybe stay away from your friends for a while to keep from passing it along).

mockingjay premiere photo call

 

Finally, this cast is gorgeous and appreciates us, even when we scream and shove things at them to sign. We really love them for that.

Can we see the movie yet?

JJ

 

 

 

Meeting Cressida and Crew

The deluge of Mockingjay stuff has begun, and it’s hard to know where to begin. Actually it’s not, because there’s ANOTHER clip, with Cressida introducing her crew to Katniss as they’re about to take off in the hovercraft.

It's time to go to work, Mockingjay

It’s time to go to work, Mockingjay

This is the first time we’ve gotten to hear Natalie Dormer speak as Cressida. As we would expect, she doesn’t have the Capitol affectation that Effie does in her speech. But there was something surprising about the way she talks.  Maybe it’s her hard, no-nonsense tone, or maybe it’s Dormer’s interpretation of a person raised in the Capitol who wants to cut all ties with the culture, or more likely it’s just me not being used to hearing Natalie Dormer with an American accent. I loved her line “We all fled on our own. For this. For you.” She delivers it with a mix of pride and condescension, but it doesn’t make you dislike her because it’s clear that they’ve all made sacrifices to be where they are today. No, Katniss, Plutarch did not rescue us. We made the decision to leave, risked our lives to escape to this completely uncomfortable life in the concrete bunker of District 13. But we did it FOR YOU. Could you please buck up and help with the cause now? It’s tough love, but it seems to fit the character.

You've had like 5 seconds of screen time and we already love you.

You’ve had like 10 seconds of screen time and we already love you.

It will be interesting to see how Cressida, and the whole crew, evolve over the next two movies. In the books, none of them are very well fleshed out as our narrator Katniss was mostly concerned with her own troubles. So these movies will give us an opportunity to see them outside Katniss’s lense.

We can’t say much about Messalla or Boggs, other than they were all business in this first meeting, but I liked to see the interaction between Castor and Pollux as they were signing to one another. Just with that little moment you could feel the bond they have, which was nice. I think we’re going to fall in love with them.

Now to watch more of the many things released today!

JJ

The Mockingjay Clip That Left Us With One Wish

Have you been hiding in an underground bunker recently? If so, you my not know this already, but… THE FIRST MOCKINGJAY CLIP IS HERE! And it’s a heart-wrencher!

OBSERVE!

For people who don’t know the books, this clip is misleading. It almost looks like Peeta is friendly with Caesar Flickerman and possibly even enjoying their conversation. Sure, you can hear the hitch in his voice, but someone might assume it’s because of the tense subject– the surprise ending of the Quarter Quell. His tone could even represent his disappointment in what Katniss did and shiny new alliance with The Capitol. But we also think this clip is meant to be misleading.

Of course, we know better, but think about it: Katniss is really the one person who believes that Peeta isn’t willingly working in conjunction with the Capitol. The audience shouldn’t fully believe that he’s being held against his will, either. We’ll see Katniss advocating his innocence constantly, slowly the audience will start to believe her despite every other character being skeptical because she’s the protagonist, only to see him attempt to murder her somewhere toward the end, and it’ll be a glass case of emotion, Ron Burgundy style.

movie2

I’m imagining that clip wise, we probably won’t see much Peeta outside of this one. Because it sets up that “Wait.. is Peeta a traitor now?” mindset that will make moviegoers eager to solve the mystery. Anything to negate that would be kind of counter-productive. Of course, that doesn’t mean other clips won’t mention Peeta. He’s kind of a big discussion point in this one and scenes discussing what should be done with him will be pretty spoiler-free on the grand scale of the story.

Another thing we’re loving about this? The dialogue is very, very similar to the book. With this script, screenwriters seem to have really taken the time to figure out what quotes from the book really work on film rather than simply trying to rephrase everything. We think it’s a really nice homage to the original story.

Oh, And Our One Wish? MOAR CLIPS!

The Girl With The Pearl

Hints from the Mockingjay Part 1 Score Tracklist

The official Mockingjay Part 1 Score has been available to pre-order at Amazon for a few days now. We’re hugely excited for the score, which again is under the direction of James Newton Howard. We already knew that The Hanging Tree, sung by Jennifer Lawrence, would be a part of the score, but today, the track list appeared on the Amazon site. We are so intrigued!

MJ1 scoreSince some of the tracks could be a little spoilery, I’ll put a cut here before digging into the tracks and our predictions for WHAT IT ALL MEANS.

(more…)

Mockingjay’s Iffy Cliffy

It’s been debated, questioned, and mulled over for months upon months now: Where exactly will Mockingjay Part 1 end?

Movie splits are usually pretty high tension, some everyone had their theories. Realistically, it broke down to two: 1) Peeta and Katniss’ reunion in District 13 in which things get a little choke-y or 2) After Katniss has become fully aware of Peeta’s condition, feels hopeless, and begs to be sent to District Two. There are a few others, like after she gets shot in Two or after Finnick and Annie’s wedding, but we don’t see those as being quite so likely.

While Mockingjay Part 1’s ending still technically remains a cliffhanger, Jennifer Lawrence has got us thinking that there can only be one real scenario after she spoke to Cineplex Magazine about the ending:

cover

“Oh God, I don’t want to tell you that. It’s a really great ending, and you guys are going to be pissed.”

If audiences are really going to be as pissed off as J-Law seems to be suggesting… OH MY GOODNESS, WE’RE SO HAPPY!

Like 30 seconds after this shot, probably! *sobs*

Like 30 seconds after this shot, probably! *sobs*

Out the the two above scenarios, the truly justified RAAAAAAAGE scenario is the screen blacking out just as Katniss blacks out, while being choked by Peeta. It’s the ultimate WTF moment of the series. If the film ends there, there’s no explanations, understanding, or time for Peeta pity. There’s just confusion and rage for fans who don’t already know what’s coming (and even for some of us who do) and the outrage will be beautiful!

Outrage and anger is what this series is going for, but sometimes that’s easy to forget. The Capitol’s manipulations, the ones that turn people against each other so they can maintain power, are the major atrocities of this book. What better way to make people feel like that to have Peeta inexplicably turn against Katniss?

Also We May Be Sadomasochists,

The Girl With The Pearl

Record-Breaking Mockingjay Part 1

Mockingjay Part 1 tickets are now on sale and breaking records again. But will the opening weekend surpass Catching Fire? Will the overall film gross surpass it? Don’t worry, there are people who meticulously follow all this and love to announce their projections. Initial tracking has come out, and it’s similar to Catching Fire at this same time last year – about $130 million. Catching Fire ended up with a $158 million US open and prognosticators think there’s still ample time for Lionsgate to flood all media with MOCKINGJAY MOCKINGJAY MOCKINGJAY so that EVERYONE sees the movie opening weekend and potentially matches/surpasses that number.

mj katnissMockingjay Part 1 faces a challenge in matching Catching Fire’s gross because there are no IMAX (or 3D) showings which have higher ticket prices. So if they DO surpass Catching Fire’s opening weekend, it will be due to many more tickets sold this time. In any case, it’s very likely that Mockingjay Part 1 will have the largest US opening of the year, because it’s been a weak year in movie openings. But with next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron on the horizon, this is probably the last year for our beloved movies to win that crown. So we want Mockingjay Part 1 to go big.

Lionsgate executives are on record saying they anticipate Mockingjay Part 1 will surpass Catching Fire’s worldwide box office, but that growth will probably have to come from international markets considering the HUGE domestic box office for Catching Fire, and no IMAX tickets this time. It’s just hard to imagine topping $425 million domestic. It would probably also help if the movie was mind-blowingly awesome, but we have faith in Francis & Co. And all those trailers and tv spots make us feel as good as we possibly could about that at this point.

So what, you say? Why should we care, other than bragging rights that the thing we love so much is successful? Well, for fans I think it means PREPARE FOR MEDIA ONSLAUGHT OF EVERYTHING MOCKINGJAY. Yes, the time is here. TV spots, interviews, premieres, billboards, banner ads, Doritos bags. It’s time for Mockingjay saturation-level infinite, if those records are gonna be broken.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

JJ