The Hunger Games

Shiny New DVDs: Mockingjay Part 2 and the 4-Film Collection!

Seriously guys, how good is JJ? She posted late last week with some hopes for the Mockingjay Part 2 DVD release and while didn’t come true yet, there were some goodies that have been confirmed!

First, let’s talk about the actual DVD release for the movie that just happened, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2!

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Per usual, there’s lots of behind the scenes goodness, including commentary with Francis and Nina (none with the cast! *weeps*), the “Pawns No More” Making Of documentary, and lots of photo marketing goodness.

Also featured is a look into The Hunger Games: The Exhibition that has us reeeeal nervous because the camersa were there when we were there for the preview but OMG NO OUR FACES WEREN’T READY WE SWEAR! And sadly, that terrible “Jet to the Set” special that spent more time on a Real Housewife of Atlanta than the cast is there as well.

Overall, we’re very excited to grab to final DVD. BUT THEN BUT THEN BUT THEN…

The 4-Film Collection, you guys. THE 4-FILM COLLECTION.

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It’s like a freaking buffet spread of Hunger Games deliciousness!

Particularly, THIRTEEN never-before-seen scenes. Twelve from The Hunger Games (here’s hoping for all the ones JJ mentioned) and one from Catching Fire. So much new information! Let’s not kid ourselves, half of it is probably hallucinations, dream sequences, and the like, but WE CARE NOT. We want it all.

On top of that. there are two new featurettes: “Picturing Panem” and “Capitol Cuisine.” We’re guessing that the first one is about the early visualizations of the Capitol. The second is a little clearer, focusing on all the crazy foods Suzanne Collins created in the books, though we don’t think they were necessarily emphasized in the movies.

That being said, we don’t expect that this is the actual DIAMOND MAC DADDY EDITION we’re all hoping for. This is just the initial collection, but it’s not going to give away all the secrets of the final film with that DVD coming out. Oh no! This is just a start. There’s gonna be an anniversary edition in the future that’s gonna make us cry fat happy tears, even more so than this baby.

Will you snag Mockingjay Part 2 or the 4-Film Collection? It all drops on March 22nd!

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The Girl With The Pearl

Our Blu-Ray Extras Wish List

As we move into February, the release of Mockingjay Part 2 on Digital HD and then Blu-Ray/DVD is inevitably coming soon. Along with the benefit of being able to watch the movie over and over and over again comes the fun of digesting all the extra stuff they add in to entice you to purchase.

We expect the features to be similar to previous Hunger Games movies – audio commentary with Francis and Nina, a few deleted scenes, and lots of behind the scenes featurettes on making the film. The fact that this is the last film makes us a little antsy about what bits they add to this release versus what they choose to add to any ULTIMATE, SUPER-SHINY 4-MOVIE SET that will be coming later in the year, or in 2017, or both. You know they’ve got to hold something back for those later editions. What do they have in that treasure trove to look forward to?

So now we present our not-very-grounded-in-reality wish list of Hunger Games movie (all of ‘em) extras that we’re dying to see at some point:

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Prim, what kind of nightmare sequence was this? Gary, stop holding back.

Those scenes we’ve seen in stills or BTS footage but never the actual footage. Prim in the tribute costume? Gary, what was that about? Katniss and Peeta having a chat in the tribute center. Again Gary, share that with us! Peeta getting his arm painted by the morphling. Francis, please!

Catching Fire Katniss and Peeta rooftop footage. We know something was filmed. We suppose it hit the cutting room floor early because why would you NOT include this footage as a Catching Fire extra? We’ll forgive the quality. Whatever it is, we JUST NEED TO SEE IT.

Revisions to the end of Mockingjay Part 2 after the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman. We know about the places where footage from other scenes was added. We know Haymitch reading Plutarch’s letter was a change. But we’re curious what the plan was originally, had tragedy not occurred.

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Don’t tell us you don’t want a cast audio-commentary. Not possible.

Cast audio-commentary. The Francis and Nina audio-commentaries give us some great insight into the making of the movies. But the fandom would completely lose their shit if Lionsgate were ever able to wrangle Jen, Josh, Liam, Woody, Liz et al into doing audio commentaries for the films.  It’s the dream, people. THE DREAM.

Everlark sex. JUST KIDDING, but with all the messages Francis gets about that from fans, we couldn’t NOT mention it. The thought of that actually being filmed makes us feel really awkward, and the inclusion of a scene of that nature would HAVE NOT fit the end of Mockingjay Part 2. If you want that, there’s a whole wide world of fan fiction to explore. BUT I would be really curious to know about the creative decisions that took place in the execution of the actual, final “real or not real” scene. As much as I hate to say it, as more time passes, I find it disappointing. Or maybe I just need to watch the movie again when it comes out and learn to let it all go.

What other extras should we be pleading for?

JJ

 

Visualizing Panem Post-Movies

Now that the entire Hunger Games series has been adapted to film, I’ve been taking stock in how these movies have impacted how I think about the book series. I’ll come right out with it and say it – while I LOVE SO MUCH about the movies, they will never top the books for me. There are some creative choices in the movies that I will adamantly reject forever and try to forget (mainly some parts of The Hunger Games movie and some scenes from the last 25 minutes of Mockingjay Part 2). Hmm, that sounds like fodder for a post, but for a later date.

On the other hand, there are some parts of these movies where everything fell into place and just was so RIGHT that it’s taken over how I visualize certain characters or scenes when I now re-read the books.

Right from the Start: Snow and Coin

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From first casting announcements of both Donald Sutherland and Julianne Moore, I felt really good about how these characters would translate to screen. They look the part and inhabit those roles in a way that fits so well with how I’ve imagined the characters. Donald Sutherland owns Snow so much for me now that I get chills when hearing his voiceover work on orange juice or airline commercials. President Snow wants me to drink orange juice. Yes, sir! I remember being surprised how sympathetic Coin was in Mockingjay Part 1, but it seemed very right for the progression of the character, and how she would have been without the framing of Katniss’s “unreliable narrator” perspective.

Oh. My. Finnick

Finnick cfFor those around the fandom in Catching Fire casting days, you remember what a BIG FREAKING DEAL this was. Lots of names thrown around to play Finnick. Lots of fan favorites. And Sam Claflin, a relative unknown (outside of roles in Snow White & the Huntsman and a Pirates of the Caribbean movie) was chosen. We had time to “get to know him” pre-CF. He was delightful on Twitter. Set photos leaked that were very promising. There was that Capitol Portrait with the pirate look. And then we saw him in the movie and YAY, IT WORKED.  He was Finnick. He is how I see Finnick now. Bravo.

Awesome Surprises From Smaller Roles: Paylor and Jackson

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One of the great, wonderful surprises of the Mockingjay movies was the development of these two characters, who I honestly never paid much attention to, at least during my first reading of the books. So Patina Miller and Michelle Forbes had the benefit of a cleaner slate to build these characters. And build them they did. They project authentic power and leadership so well that you don’t question the news that Paylor will be president, or Jackson’s role in Squad 451 in the slightest. When I re-read Mockingjay, I see those actresses in full costume. They ARE those characters now for me, and it’s enriched the reading experience.

An Interesting Mix: Effie and Haymitch

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The overly bright, colorful world of the Capitol in Suzanne Collins books is intentional. You have to admit though, that the Candy-Land-on-acid-type buildings would have been too distracting to deal with on screen so the “Capitol color” is restricted mostly to the people, not buildings. But with the costume, makeup, and hair styling of Effie, the team really nailed it, and Elizabeth Banks surely took charge of making that character her own. I think the decision to add Effie to District 13 was a good decision for Mockingjay Part 1, but still think Book!Effie follows a more realistic path for that character. I love how Elizabeth Banks gave the character more heart, but I don’t see Effie really changing that dramatically so quickly. In terms of how I visualize the character though, it’s all Elizabeth Banks in her full Capitol glory. Kudos to her and the design team for the creativity and transformation.

Then we come to Haymitch, who I always though of as more “Seam” in looks with darker hair and complexion, more damaged, more dirty, more foul, and much more drunk than we see in the movies. Regrettably, the movies give us a PG-version of Haymitch. Sure, you see him drinking, and his mockery and wit is there, but he’s nowhere near the abrasive drunk he is in the books.  I would have loved to see Woody Harrelson given full reign to make the character more rough. All of that being said, when I read the books, my mind sees Woody Harrelson and that blond wig. Somehow, he’s convinced my brain. He is Haymitch. The mind does what it wants. It’s interesting that this happened, considering this next part.

The Big Three: Love You Guys SO MUCH, but…

What about Katniss, Peeta and Gale? Jennifer Lawrence did a phenomenal job with Katniss. She grabbed hold of that character and owned the performance throughout the four movies. So much so that her voice is very much Katniss’s voice to me. I feel the same way about Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth (well at least 90% for Liam, but he got better as the movies went along). For all the wonderful ways they inhabited these roles, my mind still can’t (or won’t) adapt. The way I perceive these three in my mind’s eye when reading the books is much different. The cast is perhaps too physically beautiful, too Hollywood, and for Katniss and Gale, yes, too much of northwestern European ancestry to cancel out how I’ve always imagined the three. It’s nothing against the actors, because those are things they can’t change and these were movies with certain expectations of super-Hollywood-esque attractiveness from the leads.  Katniss and Peeta especially remain murky visual concepts in my head, and I’m fine with that. It’s probably better that way for the two characters who I love the most.

Movies – they mess with your head in unexpected ways.

JJ

 

A Hunger Games Resolution

How soon we do forget, huh?

It’s already January 7th and this is our first post of 2016. Why? Because we’re getting older, life is busy, and frankly, there just isn’t that much to talk about on The Hunger Games front in that topsy-turvy time period between the movie leaving theaters and the DVD release. There also the landslide of information from other fandoms we’re interested– every show restarting, every movie trailer, every new book released. And Star Wars. HOLY SHIT GUYS, STAR WARS.

But let’s be clear:

It ain’t over. It’s never over.

Yes, eventually this fandom will slow down as there’s a stop in new information. More than likely, it will pick up once again when Lionsgate goes through with a questionable sequel or two in future years. Somewhere in between there, Victor’s Village will probably say “Sayonara!” because running a website costs money and is a bit discouraging when you don’t have anything to post about. Yet in the infamous words of another fandom we really enjoy… BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY!

hunger-games-district12-saluteThis fandom still brings us tons of joy. Not necessarily in news form at the moment, but with the friendships we maintain and fond memories and following the actors as they explore new ventures. Those things don’t disappear as soon as the steady stream of news does. There’s something bigger than the mass media we consume.

So here’s our Hunger Games resolution for 2016: We’re not going to be “so over it” now that the story is done playing out on the big screen and not being thrown into our news stream everyday. We’re not going to let the new things we may like to talk about make us forget about the things that originally got us talking five years ago. Our attention span isn’t that short, right?

Yes, we’re all probably going to be talking about The Hunger Games like a 92-year-old recalling their 20s in about two years, but when we do, we’re still going to champion the fuck outta this fandom. Because there’s meaning and value in the content, even when there isn’t something shiny and new to go with it.

Once A Tribute, Always A Tribute,
The Girl With The Pearl

Victor’s Village Hunger Games Holiday Gift Guide 2015

The final Hunger Games movie is out, but our hunger for cool Hunger Games merch is far from over. As in previous years, we’re back with our holiday gift guide with ideas for The Hunger Games lovers in your life… or to add to your own wish list!

The Hunger Games Funko POP! Figures

Funko POP! figures are our favorite collectibles of all the collectibles out there, so we’re in love with The Hunger Games collection! It covers all of Katniss’ major moments in four different figurines, plus Peeta, Effie, and President Snow! Was there ever a better desk decoration?

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Minimalist Poster Print by GreaterGeek

Besides having an excellent shop name, GreaterGeek also has stellar minimalist posters. This “Hope” poster offers up style, a favorite quote, and a pop of color!

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Peeta’s Necklace

Mockingjay symbols are thrown around all willy-nilly these days. Peeta’s necklace is an adorable choice for people who sometimes have to be a little quieter about their love for the series in everyday life. Fellow fans will get it and love it, but your strict boss will just think it’s a cute pendant.

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THG Color Changing Mug by MugDesignStudio

We’re a sucker for these color changing mugs. They’re deceptive: Plan black with a cold beverage, but revealing a great design with your morning coffee or tea to perk up the day!

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Mrs. Mellark Apron

We will forever associate The Boy With The Bread with our baking projects, though ours are way more haphazard. Now that the whole world knows the canon Katniss/Peeta ending (sorry not sorry, Team Gale!), why not celebrate your love for the character WHILE baking?!

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 score

We recognize that we live in a Wild Wild West in which nobody buys music anymore, but this isn’t any old music. The Mockingjay Part 2 score is lovely, intense, and emotional. It will help fans through their major ending feels. Plus, it’s got that original version of ‘Deep In The Meadow’ that we all covet!

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Mockingjay Movie Moments That Mattered

Back in our post about spoilers, we talked about how moments specific movie moments are important and have their own unique value. Now we’re going to talk about the special movie-only instances that caught our eye!

We should mention that a great one was already mentioned in JJ’s latest post: Castor and Pollux in the sewers, pooling their strength and solidarity to make it through a tough scenario.

“Plucked!”

President Snow’s need for control is so immense, he feels the need to correct President Coin when she misquotes him. No one can hear him and the rebellion is knocking at his door, but it doesn’t matter because dammit, Coin was misrepresenting him!

Those eyebrows though.

Those eyebrows though.

Leeg’s Last Stand

This isn’t what happened in the books, but we might have liked this better. Rather than Leeg 1 and Leeg 2 dying in completely separate instances, they take a final stand together. One is immobile, but the other stays by her side, knowing the inevitable outcome. There’s a really harrowing shot of the twins hunkering down and aiming their guns toward the stairs, where they expect the Peacekeepers to storm in at any minute.

Finnick’s smile during The Capitol’s tribute to his “death”

The Capitol tries to capitalize on the destruction of Squad 451 almost immediately, flashing a Hunger Games-style tribute to them with the anthem blaring in the background. No one is more amused than Finnick, who’s on hand when a mega-watt smile. It would be adorable… if you didn’t then remember that Finnick was minutes away from death, thus crushing your soul.

It's like this smirk but later away from Annie and... *lip quiver*

It’s like this smirk but later away from Annie and… *lip quiver*

F^%&KING MUTTS!

Yes, we knew they were coming. But the build up was so tense! Damn it all if we didn’t freak right the fuck out in the moment that the first lizard mutt jumped out. There’s a stark difference between reading about these thing and having them leap into your vision after being strung out by shadows and blurs for the three minutes prior. Jump scares get us every time, so frankly we’re just lucky we didn’t pee ourselves a little!

Plutarch’s Letter

We saw the stills from this scene, but we didn’t realize exactly what it was. Haymitch is reading Plutarch’s final words– or rather, Woody Harrelson was delivering them in the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. The speech is bittersweet to begin with, but read in this fashion, your heart sinks and you give it all a little more consideration. Not the best pick-me-up, but a really solid scene!

The Hayffie Kiss

Guys. GUYS. WHAT EVEN. Up until a couple weeks ago, Hayffie was a moderately popular bit of fanon supported by Elizabeth Banks. It always seemed to be an inside joke, but then they were kissing in the movie! Not a first-time passionate kiss, a “We’ve been at it for months while you were too busy looking elsewhere” kiss! It’s not quite Greedo shooting first (if compare book-to-movie against movie-to-“remastered”-movie), but it definitely affects opinion in the fandom going forward!

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This is way adaptations are a big deal from fandoms. Books are incredible, the life force behind most fandom. The screen adaptations add new layers of quirk, heartache, fear, and everything in between!

So Many Feels To Revisit…
The Girl With The Pearl

The Hunger Games: The Reunion

So something weird happened last night: I went to my 10 year high school reunion. YES I AM OLD. I accept this and you should too. Moving on!

It turns out the reunion situation was pretty similar to what I expected (read: fairly lackluster), but it got me thinking about the people I reunited with and how, inevitably, some of them exist in every crowd.

For instance, I was convinced to go thanks to the Effie Trinket-esque friend. The girl who still has lots of lovely memories from back in the day and remains largely positive, determined to see us take advantage of the fun promised by this event. “Its’ going to be a big, big day!” And once we got there, she was a total champ.

Naturally, it got me thinking where the rest of the characters would fall if they met in a function hall ten years later.

Still never mastered how to smile!

Still never mastered how to smile!

For instance, Gale would probably be the best dressed guy in the room. He’d make polite small talk with the girls he missed out on in high school. But ultimately, he’d have a few too many drinks, viciously insult one of those said girls and get her all upset, reminding everyone that he’s still kind of a dick.

Katniss sits at her table while almost everyone else kind of flutters around the room. She sticks with the people she knows best, but chats with anyone who comes over to say hi. She gets a little alarmed if anyone is too enthusiastic, because nobody cares about how you’re doing that much. Moderate alcohol consumption and avoiding eye contact is key to surviving the night.

Peeta is also looking decent, but in a more basic way than any of the other men. He’s friendlier than Katniss, but still sticks by her side for most of the night. Your single friends lament the fact that he’s still with “that girl he’s been dating forever” with a twinge of jealousy. Also, he gives the awkward welcome speech.

The “Oh hell he better have a ride home” guy

Haymitch is in ripped jeans and a t-shirt, drunk to the nth degree about 20 minutes arrival. He greets everyone as if they’re his best friend, even relative strangers. Upon seeing friendly faces, he thanks them for being one of the fellow “normals” to show up in comparison to the more popular folks from back in the day (P.S. That happened) and by the end of the night, he’s flashing everyone as they try to say goodbye (P.P.S. Also happened).

Annie Odair (Cresta? Cresta-Odair? WE DON’T EVEN KNOW) is there as well. She’s smartly dressed, a bit shy, but so lovely. She’s the person everyone hasn’t fully kept in touch with but is still a total joy to see. For a few seconds that the other characters catch up on news about her kiddo and life, a reunion feels like an actual reunion and not a giant puddle of awkward.

Plutarch is the guy who’s forcing everyone to take pictures, because the memories. And the Instagram account. Everyone knows he’s in not way a ruler of Panem, but he’s sure gonna act like it. He’s a little too slick for his own good and a lot of attendees roll their eyes when he turns away.

There are probably dozens of mostly nameless others involved in this reunion– Gale’s family and Katniss’ mom and several residents from both District 12 and District 13. If it were an actual Hunger Games reunion, we’d have this:

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Plus, with more people, you could probably repeat this formula several times over!

Or Just Leave For A Bar After 2 Hours. That Worked Too!
The Girl With The Pearl

The Illegal Spoiler Games

Okay kiddos, let’s talk about over-excitement and why it could get you in some serious trouble!

When you’re as immersed in The Hunger Games fandom as most of us are, it’s hard to TALK spoilers. We’re not talking about the very movie-specific spoilers now, but we talk book spoilers all the time, so we get it. You know what’s happening, so you just want to go out there with other fans and DISCUSS.

Officially released stills = Fair game DUH

Officially released stills = Fair game DUH

We shouldn’t just throw all our obvious spoiler feels all over the Internet because, ya know, we’re all probably friends with someone who hasn’t read the books and didn’t get to see the movie right away for one reason or another. It’s obnoxious, but we’ve noticed it’s not even the worst of it nowadays.

Let’s talk technology, young’uns.

Pretty much everyone has a smartphone. And Twitter or Instagram or Tumblr or something like that. It is still 1000% illegal to take photos or clips of the movie screen during key moments and put them online. There’s a huge difference between visuals and the written word. There are specific revelations you can only get from visuals. But there’s more to it than that– not only does posting or reposting visual spoilers make you an absolute tool, there’s a wide variety of punishments awaiting, many of which involve a legal team coming after you.

Cressida says "Make smart plans so you don't look like a douche!"

Cressida says “Think before you post so you don’t look like a douche!”

Yes, your post could get lots of reaction from other fans. Please remember that getting lots of likes on a post on social media regarding a popular fandom does not actually make YOU popular or special (Trust us, we’ve reminded ourselves plenty. We are experts in this realization.) Is the inflated sense of ego worth an account suspension or a cease and desist letter? The answer is NO.

Also, a lot of fans just think what you’re doing is uncool and ruining the full experience for others. So there’s just that good ol’ “Don’t be a dick” factor.

If you haven’t seen this on your timelines much, this rant may sound odd. But we’ve been seeing it everywhere–some of it is even directed to us– and we know we’re not the only ones, which is pretty ridiculous. We want fans to have more respect for the film than that.

Let’s all learn our boundaries and the world will be a better place!

Everyone Deserves A Fair Spoiler Warning!
The Girl With The Pearl

VV’s Spoiler-Free The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Review

We saw Mockingjay Part 2 last night and we want to scream all the details with absolute elation from the rooftops. But we won’t, because it’s only Thursday and we’re not terrible people who want to spoil it all for the masses. So we’re going to give a general, spoiler-free review.

12043070_10153658258916810_107667881438186217_nReally, this is all about THE FEELS. There are a lot of them. I went to the Mockingjay Double Feature and I started to tear up during Mockingjay Part 1, which is something I didn’t even do the first time I saw it, just from the sheer momentum of what was to come. It’s the end of an era, but if it’s gotta end.. Damn, at least it went out with a bang!

We’ve read the books more than once and talked about them at length here, so like many of you, we knew what was coming. Know this: Being aware of what will happen and watching it unfold in a visual medium are two very different things. There were several situations throughout the movie in which waiting for the other shoe to drop amped up either the tension or the excitement for me– sometimes both. It’s a testament to the way Francis Lawrence and his team purposefully crafted the film to squeeze every possible emotion from the tale.

297A9B5D00000578-3117094-image-m-29_1433866860839Likewise, the action is pulse-pounding and sharp. The film deftly portrays the horror of violence and war without glorifying it, exactly as its source material sets out to do. With the details covered pretty thoroughly in Part 1, this film wastes no time jumping into the action. The pacing isn’t too breakneck, but you don’t have much downtime until the last few scenes.

More than being utterly gripping, this film is the franchise’s best tribute to Suzanne Collins’ work. The film follows the book more closely than any movie before it without losing its cinematic glow. The popular scenes and quotes that you’re waiting for are there, perhaps delivered in a way you didn’t always expect but powerful nonetheless. That’s not to say there aren’t any changes, but they were pretty minor and didn’t affect the overall viewing experience for us. We were hit hard by one scene change in particular, knowing it was due to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s untimely passing.

19291497-20776541-thumbnailThe acting has always been superb in the franchise, but I genuinely think they give their best performances to date. Liam Hemsworth transforms Gale’s broody nature into something more fierce and palpable and Jennifer Lawrence just is Katniss Everdeen, but this is especially true for Josh Hutcherson, who truly rose to the occasion and portrayed Peeta’s compromised mental state with a zinging undercurrent of desperation and earnest. Of course, the supporting cast was also wonderful as always, particularly Julianne Moore as Alma Coin and the members of Squad 451, who really got to sink their teeth into this script.

new-effie-stillWhile I ultimately loved the film and its sweet ending, we do imagine that– as is the case with most epilogues– it will become a source of debate in years to come. It’s more about your perception of the characters and their lives in the aftermath than the actual content.. aaaand that’s all we shall say about that for now.

Urgh. We love this film. We love this franchise. We are clearly biased as all hell, but if you’re here, we think you will too. If you’re a Hunger Games fan, this final movie has so much to offer you and you will not be disappointed!

We’ll Do The Crazy Spoiler Edition Soon,
The Girl With The Pearl

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FINALLY, a Pre-Mockingjay Part 2 Special Worthy of the Franchise

As we head into the final week before release, we were pleasantly surprised to see a Hunger Games special on our televisions Thursday night that gave us what we wanted. Totally lacking in silly Atlanta shopping tours or dinners with “Real Housewives,” The Hunger Games: The Phenomenon is a 13 minute recap of the movies’s story and production. Loaded with lots of behind the scenes shots (including some from Mockingjay Part 2), this was serious fan heaven.

We loved this trip down memory lane. The clips, the interviews, the behind the scenes moments, the music. All of it came together so nicely. After being hammered recently with a glut of oddly out-of-place Capitol Couture content, it was refreshing to see a recap that gears us up for the final chapter so well.

We really needed this.

JJ