The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has been released all over the world for a couple of weeks now, and that means that the world at large’s head vision of Finnick Odair should be transforming into one Sam Claflin for the most part, right? Wrong! Sadly as the person who was the mouthpiece behind the totally-defunct-dead-as-a-door-nail-dead-dead-dead campaign to have Armie Hammer cast as Finnick– I’ve unfortunately been privy to people just not fucking giving up and not accepting the very talented, the totally worthy, and the super nice person that is Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair. As of yesterday the Tumblr titled Armie Hammer for Finnick Odair was still in existence, but that doesn’t mean it had been updated for over a year– and get this, I was daily getting multiple follower alerts for it. Not only was I getting them daily mind you, they actually, and dumb-foundingly started increasing once The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was released. Pretty weird, huh? I think so.
Guess what I did yesterday!? G’head, guess? Yep, I deleted that floundering sucker! Why? Because as I said above, it hadn’t been updated in probably about a year, and also I think it was kind of sad that people were still following it. Yeah, I said it– sad. I honestly thought that once Sam was cast that people would give up, that people would fall away, that the campaign would just out quietly, and that my dears is exactly why I lazed and didn’t delete the stupid, silly thing. Erm, also I had relinquished control of it to PeetaToast over on Tumblr sometime towards the end of the initial campaign, and thought maybe she would eventually step up and say or suggest, “shall I delete this very dead thing?” But that never happened, and the follow alerts kept pouring in to my inbox, and well– annoying me. Yeah, you could say I deleted the thing because it was more annoying than painful to be reminded that who I wanted to be cast was in fact not? But, well– yes, that is the case. Annoyance thy name is silly, sad people who cannot accept Sam Claflin as Finnick Ordair, ’cause, damn it all to hell people– I sure as hell have, and I don’t know why you bloody have not!
Hey you guys! You annoyed me enough to make me delete something I didn’t care about anymore! Now to ditch the Facebook page as well!
Them There Eyes
PS. I’m still a fan of Armie Hammer’s.
I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I’ve been feeling a tad bit smug since The Hunger Games: Catching Fire came out. There are a few good reasons for it.
1) Catching Fire blew that other November sequel out of the water, both critically AND at the box office.
For those not catching my drift, I mean Thor: The Dark World. The first Hunger Games came out in March with practically no competition in sight, but we’ve known for a long time that Catching Fire would have serious competition with a Marvel sequel. But as soon as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire came out, it was a little like “Thor who?” And generally, Catching Fire is thought of to be the better movie (89% vs. 65% on Rotten Tomatoes if you want to quantify it). Catching Fire also took the November box office, even though Thor has been out longer.
2) We can finally stop hearing about the goddamn shaky cam.
Ok, that’s just one example. But, in general, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire seemed to take care of the most complained about parts, especially those from the type of viewer that might not be too familiar with The Hunger Games. That would be shaky cam (nixed) and visual effects (upgraded big time). I’ve always felt that Catching Fire would be the one to snag the more action-oriented moviegoer more so than the first, and I was proven right when several friends and family members who were underwhelmed by The Hunger Games told me over Thanksgiving how impressed they were. It took every bit of willpower I had not to dance around them singing “I told you so”.
3) Catching Fire seems to be less divisive than the The Hunger Games among fans.
Not that there aren’t any haters or mild complainers, because the movies can never be perfect for everybody, but I’ve noticed that people who have had serious problems with the first movie seemed far more content with Catching Fire. And that’s awesome!
So forgive us if we hold our heads high for a little while, at least until The Hobbit sequel comes out and has its day in the sun. It’s a good time to be a Hunger Games fan, wouldn’t you say?
Let’s just bask in the glory of it all, shall we?
There’s one particular truth that eludes a lot of Hunger Games fans ignore when it comes to their opinions, especially just after a film release:
You are NOT the most important person on the effing Internet. Crazy, we know!
From professional critics to casual fans, they’re always there: The people who don’t know how to sit down, shut up and just enjoy the ride, for once! We’ve seen a whole tide of them roll in since the release of Catching Fire and we’re sure you have too!
To be clear, we’re not talking about everyone who pointed out a thing or two they wished they’d seen or didn’t like. We don’t think any movie, even Catching Fire, is perfect. It’s especially difficult with an adaptation. Everyone will have moments we wish were included or different.
It’s the people who say “I loved Catching Fire, but…” and then go on to provide a fucking LIST of every nitpicky, typically inconsequential issue they saw with the movie, a large portion if it based on their own fanon more than the actual book.
Common Issues on These Lists:
- Pacing was too fast / too slow and contained too much but also not enough action.
- The relationship between any combination of Katniss/ Peeta/ Gale/ Haymitch/ Effie/ Cinna/ Finnick/ Johanna/ Prim/ Buttercup/ Those Turkeys in the Woods wasn’t exactly what existed in their headcanon. It was too intense or not intense enough and why can nobody ever read their minds right?!
- Why wasn’t so-and-so featured more?! GOOOOOOSH!
- The adaptation wasn’t true enough of the book / too true to the book (Seriously, we’ve heard both.)
- One scene or another that offered some extra character development but was not entirely necessary to plot was left out for time and IT RUINED EVERYTHING.
- The movie did not include enough yet was too long… or vice versa. Because if there’s one thing we’re seeing among the nitpicking, it’s a total lack of consistency.
Essentially, these people will accept no less than the film as written and directed by themselves. Everyone is suddenly a skeptical popular film critic of hipster-esque portions. Even after reading this, there’s likely to be one or two who make their way to the comments to explain why they’re right in pointing out Catching Fire’s flaws, thank you very much. Because again, they think their opinion is the most important one on the Internet.
All things considered, both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire are excellent adaptations. We consider Catching Fire to be the richer, more character-driven of the two. If you think differently than us, that’s fine! But to claim to love the movie, then proceed to tear it apart because you can’t just allow yourself to enjoy how lucky you are to have solid adaptations of your favorite books? REALLY?!
There are fandoms out there who would kill for the level of care, talent, and attention put into this franchise. Maybe you also belong to one of them. You know! The ones where books they love have fallen into the hands of movie studios who repeatedly bang their heads against the wall, trying to create a popular film while casually ignoring everything but a thin outline of the original book because they think they can create something better than a bestseller.
Again, it’s okay not to like everything! You know what’s not okay, though? HATING EVERYTHING. Pointing out everything you dislike about something that’s well-loved (in what often seems like an attempt to prove you’re above the hype) does not make you insightful, intellectual, or even book savvy. It makes you THAT GUY who, by virtue of his or her inability to fully enjoy the big picture despite the occasional flaws, drowns out the positivity for everyone else.
There’s another name for the hyper-critical– Giant freaking buzzkills.
C’mon, Hunger Games fandom. You’re better than that.
DON’T BE THAT GUY!
The Girl With The Pearl
Welcome to your newest addiction!
If there’s one thing The Hunger Games franchise has done well so far, it’s creating games to go along with the series that don’t promote the violent aspects of the series, therefore ripping the whole message of the series to shreds (they’re too busy doing that with their other advertising, but anywaaaaay…)
For the first film, we were given mission-based The Hunger Games Adventures.
For The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Lionsgate teamed up with Reliance Games to create Panem Run, a mobile endless runner game that takes you through the districts!
In Panem Run, you control Katniss (you can also play as a male character, though the identity isn’t specified) as she moves through Panem, dodging, sliding, and leaping to avoid obstacles. Along the way, she collects sparks and resources to boost points. The more sparks you gather, the more hope you can spread to the districts! But if you fall behind or hit an obstacle, you’ll be greeted by a swarm of angry trackerjackers.
If you’ve never played an endless runner game before, they are strangely addictive! You’ll start off on wobbly legs if you’re not already an endless runner game expert, but don’t give up! My first few times playing, Katniss met her gruesome end pretty quickly. The controls are simple: Just swipe left, right, up or down to get your avatar to go that way. But in the hype of the moment, I swipe up to go down, down when I meant to go left, and directly into the nearest obstacle. Not to mention that we’re seeing a semi-official rendering of many districts for the first time, so there’s an urge to gaze at graphics and then, well… SPLAT! Eventually, even I managed to get a hold of it, so I know you can too!
Soon, it becomes a mission to see how long you can keep Katniss going. When you’ve got a hang of things, you can plug into your District or invite friends, then compete against others! It’s not all challenges, though– you can also share resources with each other.
In between gameplay, you can break things up with some high speed archery practice. Just flick your arrows in the right direction with a slide of your finger for some sweet bonus points!
While we wish we had l33t gaming skillz, we’re pretty much n00bs. But Panem Run is something everyone can manage and enjoy, either for an individual challenge or a neck-to-neck race to the top of the leaderboard against friends.
Now that we’ve all reveled in THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE several times, it’s time for Victor’s Village’s infamous reaction post!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with our reaction posts, our three admins in a chat get together and say anything and everything we feel about the topic at hand… and it gets pretty damn hilarious, if we do say so ourselves!
This post is also long, mostly hidden under the READ MORE cut, and contains ALL THE SPOILERS. Beware!
THE FIVE WORD CHALLENGE
The Girl With The Pearl: Since we made our readers answer this: Give an overall review in FIVE WORDS or less!
Them There Eyes: Not the Hunger Games, bitches. Sorry, was channeling Spike from Buffy.
Twiffidy: Oh no this is hard.
TGWTP: Mine is turning out to just be “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!” That could be taken several different ways.
Twiffidy: Spectacular with all the feels.
DRUNK HAYMITCH AND EFFIE’S ALIEN BABIES
TGWTP: And said feelings start with some MAJOR character development? Whose was your favorite?
Them There Eyes: I think everyone got an ample amount of character development, even Buttercup. But, I think I’m going to have to go with Effie!
Twiffidy: Effie for sure. I mean, they did finally say her name!
TGWTP: Buttercup was so very… orange! T’was lovely.
TGWTP: I agree Effie takes the cake. We finally get to see the pure Capitol in her that was downplayed before AND a more sensitive side!
Twiffidy: When it comes to Effie, I was relieved to see her humanized.
Them There Eyes: Effie crying was like watching an alien have a baby, and then you cry… because it had a baby.
TGWTP: Somehow, that description works. LOL
Them There Eyes: Okay, now we have to talk about how the joke could finally be made! “Go home Haymitch, you’re drunk.”
TGWTP: YES. He was ACTUALLY DRUNK.
Them There Eyes: Really drunk! I’ve never been so glad to see a man drunk before in my life!
Twiffidy: That entire scene like a slice out of my imagination when I read the books
Them There Eyes: I know! Right down to the bread, and the “burrrr!”
Twiffidy: He was the right amount of drunk from how the books describes without being too comical.
TGWTP: For sure! It’s a hard line to walk, but Woody knows what he’s doing.
Them There Eyes: Still made me wish for Drunk!Haymitch from THG, falling off the stage at the Reaping. I hope non book fans aren’t too surprised by his sudden change from social drinker to rubbing alcohol pilferer.
TGWTP: And you know what? Peeta was manned up! And it wasn’t some massive dissolution of his character like people made it out to be. Quelle surprise!
Them There Eyes: I know, just seemed like a boy grew up after he saw some pretty horrible things, and… also had his heart broken.
Twiffidy: Yes, it’s understated but that’s how it appeared to me. I’m a big fan of Peeta’s journey through this movie.
Them There Eyes: I loved Peeta, I had Peeta feels for days after seeing it… also sleep deprivation. People change, Peeta’s one of those people.
TGWTP: Peeta Mellark is the ninja-silent emo badass of Panem, though for good reason.
Twiffidy: It’s important to realize that this is the Peeta that Katniss will miss in Mockingjay.
TGWTP: URGH MOCKINGJAY. MY HEART IS NOT READY.
Them There Eyes: My body is.
Twiffidy: I almost involuntarily squeak out “No!” at that final look at Peeta as Katniss leaves with the wire. Every. Time.
TGWTP: I understand. It’s “Don’t do it, idiot! I know what happens and you don’t want that shit!”
Twiffidy: I’VE SEEN YOUR FUTURE AND IT IS BLEAK.
In order to score spots in the prestigious fan camp area of the Hunger Games: Catching Fire red carpet, I, along with the rest of the staff of Welcome to District 12, stayed two nights on Chick Hearn Ct. outside of the Nokia Theatre in LA Live.
Saturday started at 5:30AM, leaving early to make it to our 8:30 check in time with all of our stuff.
Our fansite friends, including fellow Victor’s Village staff members The Girl With The Pearl and Them There Eyes, arrived soon.
Good thing too since Willow Shields and Stephanie Leigh Schlund came to sign posters for fans.
There was also that Kindle Fire booth from the mall tour where we could take our pictures with Katniss.
After grabbing dinner, everyone took their camping chairs and blankets from the camping area to the square to watch the first Hunger Games movie. It was a pretty cool way to watch this movie we’ve seen so many times, considering it was a Saturday night and they were playing the movie in the midst of people heading to clubs and fancy restaurants.
The next day proved to be a big one, with even more Catching Fire people coming to sign posters for fans. We got to meet Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Jeffrey Wright, Josh Hutcherson, and Francis Lawrence, who are all awesome.
Throughout the day, the KIIS FM booth ran contests and giveaways, even a scavenger hunt that cause a kid to run up to us frantically asking for a belt (we thought at first he was trying to sell us one). The day ended with a dinner with the fansite runners that was delicious and fun.
At 5 AM the next day, we were all woken up by security to pack up and vacate at 6AM so they could set up completely for the red carpet later that day. Overall, the weekend was a lot of fun, and I would definitely camp again. It was great to be with the fans and to bond with others excited about The Hunger Games.
Being separated from my iPhone is proving to be a specific kind of anxiety I’ve never experienced before in my life. Thus is the rule however: When you attend a studio sponsored premiere of a major motion picture that’s touted to be one of the biggest box office draws of the year, you’re required to check your phone at a security check point, or entrust it to the confines of the walls of a friends over priced hotel room. The JW Marriott in downtown Los Angeles, California is enormous with over 20 stories of height to its name, it’s also painfully modern, with an ample use of glass and steel in its inner and outer design scheme, and its shiny cream-colored floors, and sumptuous carpets lining its corridors scream, “luxury! Luxury! Luxury!”, and just because my butter yellow iPhone 5c was being housed there for over three hours, luxurious amenities included or not are not making my anxiety any less great.
This is how I spend most of the evening, in a near constant state of anxiety, fear, and of course tempered excitement. Movie premieres are an everyday occurrence in Los Angeles, but I do not live in Los Angeles, and therefore movie premieres are not an everyday thing, or nuisance according to locals, to me. Yes, because god forbid they have to walk around the block to get to the Staples Center, and not cut across the plaza directly outside The Nokia Theater. Walking seemingly to the average Los Angeleno, at least from what I’ve gleaned, is about as pleasant as getting a bikini wax. And considering the amount of swimming pools in the metro area, a lot of bikini waxes are experienced on a daily basis in greater Los Angeles.
LA Live is buzzing, the plaza that so many wish was open for
cutting across to the sporting arena, is laden with red carpeting, cameras, screaming fans, famous, and also famous-ish people, and lots and lots of industry professionals that only deal with the behind the scenes. Almost the entire expanse of the plaza is blocked off by barricades, except to one side where sleek black town cars drop off a staggering stream of actors, actresses, and sometimes singers. The air is charged, and the never smiling guards all in black, holding their ever-present walkie-talkies, surround the area and act as an odd blanket to the atmosphere. I am allowed nowhere near the inside of this activity heavy place, I am not special enough, I am an out-of-towner who writes for a fan blog.
Eating and drinking is just something that’s not going to happen apparently, I came to this conclusion twice today: Once when the makeup artist I had paint my face earlier that day didn’t secure my stark red lipstick with the layering methodology I knew would ensure its not being mussed by anything short of a nuclear attack, and now. I’m sitting in Wolfgang Puck’s with nine other people, and I can’t seem to get the waiter’s attention to give me a much-needed straw so I can attempt to sip at the likely room temperature tap water he plunked down in front of each of us, once he realized that the lot of us were not ordering dinner, but finger food, or nothing at all– like me, because food smears unsecured lipstick. I totally get why he could care less about treating me like I exist, because I’m not obligated to tip him– straw or not. I want to get out of this restaurant, it’s loud, actually all the restaurants I’ve been to over the last three days have been loud, either the music is blasting right on the unfortunate edge of the need to shout almost everything you say to the person next to you, across from you, or standing behind you as they take your over priced order of humus and pita bread, or everyone has decided that that’s the night to have the loudest conversations they’ve ever had ever. Nope, it’s the music’s fault.
Walking in six-inch heels is not as easy as it sounds. Wait, it doesn’t sound easy, does it? ‘Cause if it does the world is likely ending, or worse. Rephrase, walking in six-inch heels with ankle straps that are too tight, and rubbing your skin raw— is difficult. The majority of the group I am with have walked the length and breadth of most of LA Live three times in the last two hours, and no, we have not been seated inside the theater yet, that’s next on the agenda. The night has taught me many things and most of them are things I never wanted to learn, like that stairs are evil when you’re traversing them in six-inch heels, because this is just something you never have to think about when you spend majority of your time in nothing that resembles six-inch heels. Stairs are even more evil when studio executives are probably walking behind you, and talent from the film are meandering in from the Red Carpet after grabbing a complimentary Dasani from one of the many concession stands inside the lobby of the theater. My anxiety only increases after I’ve found my seat in row H in the orchestra section though, especially when I see Alan Ritchson walking up the aisle, greeting people he knows with his impossibly white smile, and helping his heavily pregnant wife into a seat three rows or so behind mine. I try not to look around me like a Meerkat, because people watching at a Hollywood movie premiere is like shooting fish in a barrel, and my eyes keep wanting to fall on people like Matt Damon, who I heard is in the vicinity, and Donald Sutherland– who I know is. I refrain from craning my neck around, and restrict myself to only looking to my left, my right, and to the front of me. My friends have no qualms about looking around like hungry children standing in front of a sweet shop window though, and when one of them declares that Bruno Gunn is seating himself a few rows behind us, I break my promise to myself and glimpse him for a brief moment, I quickly turn back and force myself to focus on the Yahoo! Livestream showing on the massive screen 8 rows in front of me, because it feels like I’m spying. There is nothing normal about this entire experience, and odder still is that a year and a half before I was in the same building one level up, my eyes taking in the blur of colors that was the talent, the executives, and the family and friends of those involved or half involved with the film, below me. A year and a half before we were seated in the Screaming Section, this year we’re 20 feet from the actress cast as Annie Cresta, and the fictional president of Panem. When the head of Lionsgate finally takes the stage, I’m ready to burst.
That’s all for now folks! Hope you liked my experimental style with this one. I am actually a fiction writer at heart, and this is what’s lovingly referred to as– Creative Non-fiction.
Them There Eyes
We all can do it, right? Relate to Katniss Everdeen that is. I mean sure a very small percentage of people can claim being forced to fight to the death on a televised reality program. Actually, I don’t think anyone can claim that that’s happened in their life, unless there’s some crazy programming going on over seas that I’m not privy to, and in that case– dear god, I hope that’s not happening! However there are other aspects to Katniss’ life that are relatable on more realistic levels, like most of us have families that we care about, most of us have fallen in love, or think we have, some of us have semi unhealthy friendships with people who possibly want to bone us, or marry us, we’ve all had to interact with weird people whose fundamental beliefs are vastly different from our own, unless we’re really really painfully sheltered, and many of us have endured unfamiliar and sometimes painful beautification practices, take your pick– oh, and some of us even have pets that we’d skin and eat if push came to shove. For me at least I can relate to, well– yeah only three of those things I just mentioned, and most recently I have to say the sometimes painful beautification practices is very, very relatable. No, wait, I have had unhealthy friendships with… you get the idea. Rough, I tell ya, also sorta a lot uncomfortable.
Beautification practices are weird, aren’t they? I mean think about it, we dye our hair unnatural colors according to the whims of fashion, we paint out finger and toe nails with shiny paint, we remove our body hair with wax and chemicals, and we douse our selves in oils and cremes to soften our skin and supposedly make our selves more attractive. Attractive to who, that’s entirely debatable. Recently I’ve been putting myself through a gauntlet of sometimes painful, sometimes awkward– actually awkward quite often, beautification practices. Yep, and for the most part I’ve been doing these mainstream body modifications because I’ll be attending The Hunger Games: Catching Fire premiere in Los Angeles. Yeah, yeah– why didn’t I go to the one in London?! Simple, couldn’t afford it, and wasn’t invited. God knows how passe it is to show up to a party you’re not invited to, Effie would not approve one bit! Anyway, I can’t help but relate to Katniss as I’ve found myself repeatedly vulnerable under the scissors, or wooden stick dripping with hot wax, or tiny paint brush wielding beauticians hands. And I’ll tell you, hand massages when given by bored, fed up nail technicians is not relaxing, or anything resembling a massage. But who am I to tell them that they’re hurting me– they’re the ones who have easy access to super sharp cuticle scissors, and I’m the one who was idiot enough to go to the cheapest place in a five block radius of my house! Stupid me for thinking that a 15% tip is enough as well, even though they made me bleed, and left a bruise on my instep! So, while I’m paying to be tortured more times than I’d like to admit, know this– Katniss may have been a beautification virgin when she stepped off that train in the Capitol, but we’re masochists if we continue to allow angry nail techs to touch the appendages that help most of us do the work in our lives.
Just say no, and listen to the Yelp reviews online! Also, my favorite nail color is Bubble Bath if you’re wondering!
Them There Eyes