Mockingjay

Finnick (and Sam’s) Darkest Day

While Sam Claflin has been making the rounds to promote Love, Rosie, he’s left a few crumbs about Mockingjay Part 2. In particular, during a chat with Josh Horowitz of MTV, he mentioned his “worst day of filming” on the movie (around the 35 minute mark). We know what that means.

barbie finnick lizard

Sam does’t say much other than to paint a picture that it was horrible for him as an actor, and that it was just him, all alone, all day (*sobs*). So if you were holding out hope that this was not gonna happen, sorry. It’s gonna happen. The question remains, how the scene will play out.

Some readers don’t like Finnick’s death scene because it’s so quick. Three mutts attack him, bite off his head, and then he’s dead, but not before these very poetic thoughts from Katniss,

It’s as if I’m Finnick, watching the images of my life flash by. The mast of a boat, a silver parachute, Mags laughing, a pink sky, Beetee’s trident, Annie in her wedding dress, waves breaking over rocks. Then it’s over.

And it is over. The remaining crew move on with the mission. There is no time to mourn while in battle. Suzanne Collins gives Finnick, through Katniss, a final goodbye to his life, but then Katniss has to move on quickly because the perils in the Capitol don’t give her time for a breather. Granted, in these books, it’s a scenario we see time and time again in the arena deaths. I suppose it is harder for fans because they feel more connected to Finnick and they want more time spent acknowledging the loss. Will they try to translate the “life flashing before his/her eyes” moment visually in the movie or will it stay grounded in the action at hand?

Come back all year as we wonder about the death scenes of so many other characters!

I know we say this about every one of these movies but this one is going to hurt.

JJ

Number One, Times Two

It’s the Mockingjay edging out Guardians of the Galaxy by just the tip of her beaky beak beak for top 2014 domestic box office. Before Mockingjay Part 1’s release, we were expecting the movie to be #1 in 2014. But then the opening weekend was 30 million + less than Catching Fire’s, and the race to the top got a bit more dramatic. Fortunately (for this particular “race” to the top), the domestic box office overall had lower numbers than last year, so Mockingjay just had to crack over $333 million instead of 2013’s number 2 contender Iron Man 3 at $409 million. A smaller hurdle to get to the top spot, but still quite a challenge.

Fortunately for THG fans, the holiday season was good to the Mockingjay box office, and the numbers got there just in time, as the movie is almost out of most theaters (it is 2 months after release, after all). Some speculate that American Sniper, with its huge wide-release last weekend could be a challenge for the top spot (it opened in limited release in late December, so it counts as a 2014 film). Even with the Oscar buzz and the ability to attract viewers who don’t often go to the movies, it’s doubtful this R-rated movie will have the legs to get it to the top during the snowy dregs of winter, so I think you can relax. Katniss for the win, 2 years in a row, as Lionsgate reminded us.

2 years

So, other than fan bragging rights, why is this interesting or important or anything other than more money in Lionsgate’s coffers? I think these two tweets say it well.

The #1 celebratory news from Lionsgate was paired with info on the digital/Blu-Ray/DVD release, which was nice to get, cause we really do want to see the movie again, and the bonus features. But we’re also really itching to see Mockingjay Part 2’s logo poster. That would put us in even more of a celebratory mood. *HINT HINT*

Break free, Mockingjay!

JJ

Another Bout of Peeta Paranoia

When stuck in these dark times of no news, we sometimes get a little crazy. Look back on interviews, over-analyze, and let our minds dwell on our most anxious thoughts. That’s my explanation for a resurgence of Peeta Paranoia that I’ve been noticing over the past few days.

We’ve gotten pretty good confirmation from interviews and subtle hints that the Epilogue will be a part of Mockingjay Part 2 in some way.  We’ve heard that Jennifer has one remaining scene to film that they need to do when there are leaves on the trees and the scene may be with her nephew(s).

Here’s where the Peeta Paranoia sets in and goes something like this:

In interviews, Josh hasn’t said he will be filming any more scenes. Neither has Francis or Jennifer mentioned filming with Josh. Josh has his brown hair again and it can be difficult for him to get that perfect Peeta blond hair back.

So, the “obvious conclusion” is  PEETA WILL NOT BE IN THE EPILOGUE!!!1!!!1  I HATE LIIIIIIIFFFFE.

mockingjay-part-1-peeta-beatenI consider myself a champion worrier. I can take most situations and look at all the possible negative “what ifs” and make myself miserable. And, like most super-fans, I desperately want the ending of MJ Part 2 to be perfectly in spirit with the end of the book. And that means recognition of Katniss and Peeta healing and forging a life together.

I AM NOT WORRIED THAT PEETA WILL BE LEFT OUT OF THE ENDING.

YOU WILL NOT LEAVE PEETA OUT OF THE ENDING!

YOU WILL NOT LEAVE PEETA OUT OF THE ENDING!

Yes, the first movie screwed Peeta’s character over in terms of development, and that gives us trust issues. But think about the progression since then in Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1. Pretty good, right? And the filmmakers and Lionsgate know how we feel about Peeta. Message received – THEY KNOW. I don’t think we need to be concerned that there will be any reversion back to Hunger Games-era Peeta neglect in the final film. If anything, his story is going to get more attention as he recovers from the hijacking and rebuilds a relationship with Katniss.

Maybe they’ve already shot his Epilogue-ish scenes. Or maybe they’re just not mentioning that he’s a part of that final shoot in spring because they like to keep some secrecy. Maybe he’ll wear a wig. There are so many explanations and so little reason to worry about THIS.

If you want a different worry, it’s waaay more likely that all the other characters will get no closure in the end.

JJ

The Final, Final Mockingjay Part 1 Trailer

You thought we were done with Mockingjay Part 1 trailers? Ready to see something for Part 2? Well, I guess we need to slow it down cause yesterday we saw the Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital release Mockingjay Part 1 trailer thanks to the heads up from our friends at QuarterQuell.org

The theme of this trailer seems to be “Now’s the time to show them everything” because wow do we see a lot of different scenes here. Way more than in the earlier trailers (QuarterQuell.org also pointed out that this is actually the longest trailer of them all, but that doesn’t mean it’s very long either since the MJ1 pre-release trailers were shorter than usual).

So much action!

Peeta rescue action!

It feels like we see every single action scene in this trailer. It might even be too much if you’re someone who hasn’t seen the movie yet. And it may be overselling the action. We know there’s a lot of quiet moments in the movie, which we loved, and they show several of those beats as well. The predominant feel though, is ACTION. We get it, this trailer is about the hard sell to all those people who didn’t bother to head to theaters this winter. ACTION, ACTION, upset Katniss, ACTION, bruised Peeta, Emo Gale, ACTION!! BUY NOW BUT GET IT IN MARCH.

The trailer did its job though. It got us really excited to finally see the movie again. The one thing we wish they hadn’t included was that tag of “The courage of one will change the world” which we weren’t fans of before, and still think is a little too “cheesy generic hero” for the story.  This trailer will likely be the last time we see that tag though, so we’ll push that aside. We’re just really itching to see it again, just as it’s leaving theaters! Ahhh.

There’s still no confirmed release date, but it’s looking like early March is a good bet.

Soon you’ll be faced with the quandry of deciding which version to buy.

JJ

Homeless Peeta

Mockingjay Part 1 had some significant changes from the book. The biggest is Effie in District Thirteen, and I think we all love that.  There was another change that’s insignificant in Part 1 but raises some questions for the ending of Part 2.

The Capitol destroyed Peeta’s house!

Movie Catching Fire already changed where Peeta’s house was a little – making him live directly across from Katniss instead of “three houses away.” The closer proximity made for a more cinematic snow kiss reunion scene, so that makes sense.

It’s clear from the short scene in Mockingjay Part 1 when Katniss returns to District 12 that the houses across the way from Katniss’s home are destroyed. This is another change from the book, where “the grass has been scorched and the gray snow fell here as well, but the twelve fine houses of Victor’s Village are unscathed.”

Sorry, Peeta. In the movie you not only lose your mind and your family, but you lose your house too (on the bright side, you got to keep your leg!)

VV MJP1

As mentioned, this change has no bearing on Mockingjay Part 1, but it does raise questions about the ending of Part 2 when Peeta returns to District 12. Does he live with Haymitch first? I can’t really imagine him planting the Primroses and then saying to Katniss, “I planted them for her. Can we shack up now?” Nah, that’s got to take a little more time.

The nearly total destruction of the Victor’s Village could indicate that they’re going to make the ending stray even more from the books, but I don’t really want to wrap my mind around that possibility yet. For now, I’m just going to assume that Peeta stays with Haymitch for a while, continuing to recover, as Katniss and Peeta “grow back together” and then shack up, maybe even in a new house eventually. Because in the end, I can’t imagine Katniss and Peeta choosing to live in a house given to them by “winning” the Hunger Games if they could live anywhere else. I think they would want to start fresh in a different home as soon as they were able to get out of there.

I hope Haymitch’s oven is still working. Boy’s gotta bake.

JJ

The 3D Mockingjay

This week Lionsgate announced that Mockingjay Part 1 finally would be released in China on Feb 8. The movie was initially planned for release in 2014 but what pushed back for some reason. China is an ever-important market for pretty much everything, so if marketed well, Mockingjay could pull in some big bucks here.

But what to do to give the movie some extra “spark” considering the delay? And how to maximize any potential revenue there? Premium format, y’all, namely….

3d logo

Yes, Chinese audiences will have the option of seeing Mockingjay Part 1 in converted 3D format. Are you curious what kind of changes they’ve made in the conversion? We are, but we’re also pretty skeptical that it would actually enhance the viewing experience. Francis Lawrence did not create the film with 3D in mind, so this after-the-fact conversion, while common, can end up being more of a distraction than an actual enhancement to the film.

It's like the beak is coming right out of her neck... Oh, this poster isn't 3D?

It’s like the beak is coming right out of her neck… Oh, this poster isn’t 3D?

But some people like that more in-your-face experience, and are willing to pay more for it. So go ahead China, see the rubble and skeletons of District 12 pop out with even more horror, be amazed as Boggs and Gale propel down to the Tribute Center on the mission to rescue Peeta, watch Katniss’s eyeballs bulge just a bit more as Peeta strangles her. You had to wait so long, at least now there’s still something to buzzy to talk about with your release.

This move makes us wonder about Mockingjay Part 2 however. Will Lionsgate go more wide with the 3D release in the US and everywhere else? They’ve already announced plans to use the 3D box-office bump with Insurgent, and we know Mockingjay Part 2 has more 3D-fodder action scenes. If they go this direction, I hope they had this in mind for a while so Francis Lawrence could plan ways to make the 3D relevant, and not cross the line into glorifying the horrors of war and violence. This move in China makes it seem just that more probable that the final Mockingjay will be coming at you in more premium format$.

Imagine those parachute bombs in 3D… or don’t.

JJ

Jeffrey Wright Channels Beetee to #CrushEbolaNow

For the past week or so, Jeffrey Wright has been channeling Beetee, teasing of a “pirate transmission” to come, and today we got to see it. It’s a video featuring the Mockingjay cast to raise awareness of the need for more medical resources in West Africa to help fight Ebola and increase the survival rate there.

The video is called #MisinformationHack and follows the Beetee-like hacking structure from Mockingjay promotion. His voice cuts through American news clips during the media hysteria when the first patients were treated in US hospitals and then to Ebola survivors in West Africa and the Mockingjay cast.

If you follow Jeffrey on Twitter, you know that he has been very active in this cause this year, using the platform to raise awareness and even organizing a contest where donations to the Ebola Survival Fund gave the winner the opportunity to attend the Mockingjay Premiere with him and meet some of the cast. He’s clearly tapping into the huge audience of Hunger Games fans to increase awareness and try to raise money for the cause.  And we say KEEP IT UP!

We all recognize the truth in Jeffrey’s tweet – that we are often too much like the Capitol. We post about this tension we feel as fans a lot. We love that the movies have gotten as big as they have, but along with the success and the fancy parties and corporate sponsorships it’s important to remember the struggle of wealth/power inequality that is so central to the books. It’s one of the things that we connected with so strongly because Suzanne Collins was using Panem to make us think about the problems we face now, in our world. We love that the cast embraces causes such as this, and uses their fame to amplify attention to ways we all can help.

Rally that fandom, Jeffrey.

JJ

 

Looking Forward to Spring

As we in the northern hemisphere endure the shortest days of the year and the cold of winter, it’s good to remind ourselves of hope. It may be bleak now, but the seasons change, days get longer, the leaves return to the trees…

mj part 2

We obsess about the Epilogue, yet we don’t even have an official Part 2 logo yet, but zsoltzedd.tumblr.com has an idea.

Yes, we’ve reached that time of year where little tweet responses are the only news we get, but this one had fans in full meltdown mode if you look at the replies. Cause it’s the Epilogue, and we all get mushy about that. We’ve been following these Epilogue news bits carefully – from the fact that it would be included (YAY THANK YOU), to the tease that Jennifer Lawrence’s nephews would be a part of it in some way. I also think the enthusiastic response from some fans about this news is the fact that it’s not ALL OVER yet. It’s really not all over – there’s still another year of promotion AND THE ACTUAL MOVIE to go, but no doubt, this upcoming year is a big deal.

So leaves on trees are (at least one of) the reasons why there’s still the Epilogue left to shoot. They need nature in full bloom to get the right vibe. I’m betting there were other factors at play as well in terms of scheduling. Maybe they ran out of time. Maybe they wanted to give Jennifer (and Josh?) another year of maturity to reduce the amount of CGI/makeup aging-up required and avoid the less-than-well-executed aging of the cast in the Harry Potter Epilogue. Yes, please avoid that. Fans are only expecting perfection out of the ending.

No pressure or anything though.

JJ

Undercutting Finnick’s Secrets

There were some great comments to the post on some of the best and worst moments in Mockingjay. Thank you commenters (well the 99% of you who are polite and cool with us actually having opinions, even if they differ from yours). Anyway, I thought the discussion of Finnick’s propo was worthy of a post all on its own.

As mentioned in the best of/worst of post, I have mixed feelings about the whole rescue scene.  I was glad to have it added to the movie, but I felt it didn’t really show us enough of the Capitol and dragged on a bit too long. The sequence was mixed with the rebels’ “distraction” – Finnick revealing some of his greatest secrets about Snow to Panem.

finnick propoThe comments mentioned how cutting his secrets propo in with the rescue footage lessened the impact of what Finnick was saying, and I agree.  He’s being used as a distraction here, and as the movie audience we are wondering more about what will happen during the rescue than what Finnick was saying. He’s being asked to just talk for as long as possible to clutter the airwaves. His message isn’t as important to the cause here. I wouldn’t doubt that some non-book readers might miss a lot of those “secrets” because they are caught up in whether the rescue will succeed. And that’s a shame, because it’s a very powerful part of the book that helps us to connect and sympathize with Finnick.

Reducing the attention on what Finnick is saying may have helped filmmakers with any PG-13 rating worries about a man talking about being a sex slave. PG-13 tends to be very accepting to a whole lot of violence as long as it’s not too bloody, but sex, nudity, sex crimes, or the word “fuck” get you up to an R really quickly. And from a movie pacing perspective, mixing the two scenes together allowed them to use screen time effectively. Instead of having one stand-alone Finnick propo scene we get it with the bonus rescue scene.

The moments we did see were very well acted and tugged at my heart as it should. Do I wish it would have been allowed more time and attention? Yes, because I would love to see Finnick’s character further developed in these movies. Finnick’s role in Mockingjay Part 1 seemed smaller than in the book, but really, a lot of characters had short screen time, so it was probably proportional to many others. Who knows, they may address it again in Mockingjay Part 2, but my hunch is this is the last we’ll hear of Finnick’s secrets.

We’ll have other things to cry about concerning Finnick next time.

JJ

Mockingjay Meta Fiction Friction

Earlier this week, JJ made an excellent post about the best and worst moments in Mockingjay. It did a great job covering the bases, but I’ve still got a bit of a quibble that’s become pretty controversial among fans.

THE END OF THAT DAMN PROPO

The screening of the first propo was pretty brilliant, at first. We saw Katniss’ fierceness through the lenses of Castor and Pollux’s cameras, how District 13 cut and played upon her words for the ultimate effect. Then things got reallllllly familiar: A burning Mockingjay pin with outstretched wings, title treatment font, and Rue’s whistle, musically engineered to sound exactly like every Hunger Games movie promo in existence and the slew of popular ringtones.

THIS... Except with different words. Yep.

THIS… Except with different words. Yep.

Urghhhh.

We’ve talked to friends and fans alike about the decision and the results are pretty mixed. In fact, some people think it’s brilliant, that putting the movie advertising images in almost their exact form straight into the movie was a great nod to the audience and adverts alike. They consider it a tie-in of sorts. And truly, we’re glad they liked it.

Some others, including myself, found it to be so utterly displeasing. Besides taking you out of the scene by reminding you of the commercials, practically screaming “THIS IS A MOVIE! HOPE YOU WEREN’T TOO WRAPPED UP IN IT!” just after a powerful scene, it seems like an awkward pat on the back. Multiple people decided that their advertising style was so witty and perfect that they’d just add it into the movie itself, assuming District 13 would do the same thing a bunch of modern day PR folks did. We realize that big wigs we love, like Francis Lawrence and Nina Jacobson, were probably in on the decision too, so we’ll try not to judge so harshly. Perhaps it was supposed to be coming full circle, but instead some of us hit the fourth wall HARD and broke right through that sucker.

Mind you. we’re not saying that those elements aren’t good for a commercial or a propo. Both are meant to rile up a crowd, but for very different reasons. Could we have two equally smart but not quite so identical ways of riling up people on their couch considering a movie vs. people in a war torn dystopia considering revolution?

Did this ruin the movie for us? OF COURSE NOT! The movie was still incredible overall, but we all have our hangups and quibbles. it won’t haunt us forever, but my face will likely twitch in some fashion every time I watch that part. And then like two minutes later I’ll be fine because Effie is wittily insulting President Coin’s hair. So is the way of the world.

So what do you think? Was the moment a little TOO meta for you? Or was it just right?

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