Characters

rogue one felicity jones

Star Wars: Rogue One And The Everdeen Effect

Be prepared. We’re about to make some fanboys whine and cry!

Something big happened today outside of this fandom, but what you might not have noticed is that something big happened today within this fandom too. And they’re both kind of the same thing.

It starts with the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which looks pretty freaking fantastic:

That’s the first thing. But the second is within the trailer itself– a young woman with dark hair tied back, fierce but unsmiling in utilitarian clothing. She faces a mentor who isn’t too impressed with her off-the-cuff decisions. She puts on her battle gear leads a team of rebels in a life-or-death attempt to destroy a dictator.

Yup. Rogue One’s Jyn Erso definitely seems to be influenced by Katniss Everdeen!

rogue one 2

Before anyone loses their minds, we’re not saying that Jyn is a Katniss rip-off. She’s clearly got her own mission, some original snark, etc. By the time the movie comes around, we imagine we’ll notice even more differences between the characters. But right now, there are plenty of fans having feelings (many of a defensive mansplaining nature) because at first glance, Jyn feels similar to Katniss. They’re both strong women from impoverished backgrounds leading their team, taking action, and ultimately inspiring change in a futuristic landscape overwrought by a dictator.

Do we mind the comparison? Hell no!

To us, this trailer is a major victory for The Hunger Games fandom. It’s an example of the influence of Katniss Everdeen– an amazing, fierce, vulnerable female hero– has had on the entertainment media, just as Katniss was influenced by fearsome female figures before her. The Hunger Games’ main character is a point of reference for strong female representation in film and she absolutely should be. A few basic plot details and similar clothing choices don’t necessarily make the two characters alike. Star Wars is not becoming The Hunger Games. But we appreciate the homage, intentional or not.

Even with the obvious points of comparison, guess what? Fans are pretty damn happy. Young, badass ladies are in charge and most people are cool with it, because they’ve learned from The Force Awakens and series like The Hunger Games. The complaints so far mainly consist of a small group of particularly pathetic male fans complaining that the Star Wars franchise had the gall to create not one but TWO FEMALE LEAD PROTAGONISTS… IN A ROW! But we’re just going to ignore the fuck out of those ignorant, bitter whiners PLZKTHX!

Whether you’re obsessed with The Hunger Games franchise or not, you can’t deny that it’s success has probably spurred more movies with action and adventure and depth driven by female leads. We couldn’t be happier!

KE + JE = 5eva,
The Girl With The Pearl

Scars (Or Lack Thereof)

As we wait for the Blu-Ray/DVD release of Mockingjay Part 2, there are some more BTS featurette clips to tide us over in the meantime. One of the clips shows the work makeup designer Ve Neill and her team did for the movie.

No doubt Katniss has a rough time in Mockingjay Part 2, and the makeup team did a great job making the neck and chest bruising very believable. And it sounds like the team went to a lot of effort on the burn makeup as well. Only those burns (and the inevitable scars) barely made it on screen, and we think that was a mistake.

Don’t get us wrong. We didn’t WANT to see more damage done to our favorite character really. Our poor girl is strangled, shot, and then the massively burned, and it’s awful that she endures that. But the physical hurt she experiences is a part of the Mockingjay journey, and part of the lesson of Mockingjay. We were disappointed at how Katniss’s injuries were glossed over, because it took weight out of the story’s message.

burned katniss

First of all the fire completely misses her face, in an “amazing” stroke of Hollywood luck. Then there’s the magical Capitol burn medicine that seems to fix everything in a flash (to be fair on that point, we don’t know how long Katniss is in the hospital, but the movie’s quick cuts make the recovery FEEL too quick). Was the burn makeup deemed too intense to be given more than a few seconds of screen time? What was behind the decision to make Katniss look physically well so fast?

Beyond the magic of the complete burn recovery, the moment that really seemed out of place was when she returns back to 12, goes hunting and Katniss’s gorgeous hair is blowing in the wind. She looks beautiful. She looks physically healthy. But accelerating her physical recovery SO MUCH faster than her mental one was a change from the book that felt a little too much like Hollywood being afraid to show a woman with physical imperfections. After 2 hours of trauma, suddenly seeing “shampoo commercial Katniss” took me completely out of the movie.

We love it when Katniss is allowed to look real. No wonder critics and fans alike thought the Buttercup scene was great. Give us the slobbery ugly cry! That looks like a real person in despair, and Jennifer Lawrence OWNS that scene. After all that Katniss physically goes through, no one expects her to look perfect. (And if they do, screw them).

We love you, scars and all, Katniss

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

SnowCoin

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

paylor jackson

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

effie haymitch

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

 

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?

HungerGames-KatnissEverdeen-FunkoPop-1024x768

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!

il_570xN.834001413_nlxs

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.

-font-b-Hunger-b-font-font-b-Games-b-font-2-CATCHING-FIRE-font-b

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!

il_570xN.883481422_q9iu

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?!

hunger_games_mrs_mellark_apron_dark

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!

Mockingjay-Part2-Soundtrack

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!

tumblr_ny588olbWs1s9g40mo1_500

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:

hunger-games-reunion

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 Hunger Games Disaster Theme Park

It’s been a looming threat for a long time, but as of last week, it became a reality in America: The Hunger Games theme park is being developed.

We’re not even close to the biggest Hunger Games superfans out there, but we think we’re not too shabby. We run a website dedicated to The Hunger Games and its fans, travel to premieres and big events in the fandom, buy some of the merch, discuss the promotional releases, occasionally chat on a podcast about the series, and generally pour our fangirl feels all over the Internet. Though we don’t always love every single morsel that comes out of the franchise, we’re big freaking fans!

So does that mean we want to see a theme park?

NO. FUCK TO THE NO.

e8517a0a9c1d5a2e3c4adb27f0f5c945

There are few words to describe what a moronic idea this is, guys! The foundation for a Hunger Games theme park is:
A) Making entertainment out of desolation, poverty, and children being forced to murder each other, desensitizing visitors to violence and the world’s struggles in the ways that Suzanne Collins was trying to warn us against.
B) Yet another attempt to hype the Capitol glam, willfully ignorant to the fact that the lush Capitol lifestyles are a harsh criticism of the way the rich often manipulate and undervalue human rights.
C) A combination of both A and B.

We understand that Lionsgate owns the rights and can milk this cash cow however they want– which they will, lest they be forced to create something new and original to intrigue audiences instead– but really, this just proves how utterly shameless they are. This is not Harry Potter or Star Wars. There is no magic, there is no adventure in space. This franchise is focused around slaughter, human rights violations, and the need to stop it. This is not a fucking theme park topic!

For goodness sake, the negligent, terrible Capitol citizens even turn the arenas into theme parks IN THE BOOKS. Suzanne Collins literally put a warning against this shit in the source material!

A spokesperson for theme park developer Avatron is defending their decision to be involved, of course:
“There are so many positives about these movies, starting with the fact that she’s an empowered young woman.”

And we agree with that. But please, do tell us how you’re going to tell build a theme park with the “empowered young woman” theme alone without the terror, war, murder, torture, or political corruption also involved. Pretty, pretty freaking please. We’d bet you our life savings that someone is going to try to dress us up as Effie Trinket and just– No thank you. Because you’re missing the entire damn point.

There’s still a little hope: Lionsgate needs financing for these parks. Hopefully, people will realize that this is not actually a good investment and it won’t come to fruition, at least here in the US. That is how much we’re against this.

Go home, Lionsgate. You’re drunk.

“They Say The Food Is Excellent”,
The Girl With The Pearl

The Reality of Mockingjay Virtual Reality

The Mockingjay Part 2 virtual reality experience debuted this weekend at New York Comic Con, which is really cool in theory. We’ve found that in practice, standing around waiting for a VR experience for ages makes you way less enthusiastic when you actually get to it but that is besides the point!

Early reports told us it was a 6-minute walkthrough of the books that doesn’t give away the end of the series. It takes fans through the major moments, but still keeps you waiting for resolution. And thanks to the beauty of the Internet (via Quarter Quell), you can watch an example now.

We realize the experience is way more immersive at the screening booths with a shaky chair, goggles, and headphones. It’s probably much more entertaining that way, because you can feel everything as if you’re really there. But we’re really surprised at how this was put together.

Even Jena Malone tried it!

Even Jena Malone tried it!

In most VR experiences, you’re PART of the action, interacting with the surroundings and the characters. In this baby, it seems like the users are just following a recap with animated characters, not taking charge of the journey. Yes, they can look around, but when the user in the video above does so, it becomes pretty obvious that there’s only one focal point in each scene.

And the animation? Well, we’re a bit spoiled nowadays. We know CGI and animation can be so realistic that this feels a bit like playing an original XBox.

Hopefully, the fans who went through the experience loved it. Whenever The Hunger Games is involved, fans wanna love it, after all!

We Just Want The VR To Be Good PR,
The Girl With The Pearl

Hunger Games Halloween, Mockingjay Style

Brace yourselves! It’s our final look at how you can embrace The Hunger Games this Halloween!

We know fans may be dressing up at Hunger Games characters for years to come, but after Mockingjay Part 2, there won’t be any new designs for the crafty fans to minic and the rests of us to purchase in knockoff form.

But now, there’s still time. So like we did for The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, let’s consider our Mockingjay Halloween options!

Naturally, we start with THE MOCKINGJAY. Or “Warrior Huntress”, because legal purposes.

warrior huntress

There’s a strange spindly phoenix logo, but close enough. Unless you’re good with manipulating catcher’s pads into costumes, this is probably one of the closer designs you’ll find.

There’s even has a take on Katniss’ three-finger glove, which is key for fake arrow shooting!

katniss glove

Do the suit come in red? Not yet! But you can always gamble with red fabric paint!

We searched the Internet far and wide for suitable Star Squad replica costumes with no luck. BUT there’s costume body armor. Throw it over a long black collared jacket and some tactical pants and maybe it could work?

It’s pretty sad that there’s no Peeta specific costumes for Part 2, those guys could always grab a white suit and a turtleneck and go for Capitol Captive Peeta!

71mll9-ZKhL._UY679_

Still guys, remember, EFFIE IS THE BEST AND POSSIBLY EASIEST COSTUME. Poofy wig. Outrageous dress. Questionable makeup. Accessories, accessories!

Happy Halloween!
The Girl With The Pearl

The Final Fiery Action Hero Katniss

In the midst of earlier chaos, the final movie poster for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 arrived! And with it, the last misguided attempt at convincing non-readers that Katniss is a sleek, shoot-em-up style action hero.

Let’s start with the image, which may also end up being the DVD cover, if existing patterns remain:

CQKpYOBUkAAShfq

Particularly with Mockingjay Part 2, Lionsgate has been trying to make Katniss look like a badass war hero who will destroy ALL THE THINGS that oppress the Districts of Panem, gloriously outfitted and armed to handle to worst of situations with ease. For instance, in a red suit (that’s gotta be a District 13 propo suit… Irony kills us), bow and arrow pointed in the distance as a fiery, freed Mockingjay symbol bursts into flame just behind her.

It’s probably a sexy concept for people who aren’t too familiar with the books or the movies so far. If they’re into mostly mindless action, perhaps it will draw them in. But then they’ll be kind of shocked because they were presented with a totally false version of the story’s heroine and a bit of a disservice to the character.

Don’t get us wrong! Katniss Everdeen is a badass. But she’s not a badass because she runs out, arrows blazing, to single-handedly destroy the enemy in fearsome battle. It’s because she hates battle. She hates killing people, but she’s constantly put in situations in which she doesn’t have a choice. She wants to save her loved ones and she’ll go through hell to do that. Because she hates the attention and the way people look to her for answers she doesn’t have. Because she’s frightened and scarred, not some goddess warrior chick come to lead the troops and save the world. Katniss Everdeen is a badass because she doesn’t want any of it, but she comes to terms with her reluctance in the hopes that she can make a difference for the people she loves. To us, that matters so much more than the action, adventure, high-powered-thrills appeal this poster wants to convey.

We don’t know about you, but that’s not what this poster conveys to us. Yes, “reluctant hero” is a harder message to convey, but we don’t think anyone even attempted that route here. Instead, they just got stuck on the whole “Let’s try to make it look like the wings are hers” bit again.

It’s cool, though. We know the real Katniss Everdeen, thanks to the books and the much more accurate ways she’s portrayed in the movies. That Katniss Everdeen is our homegirl.

At Least The Beak Isn’t Coming Out Of Her Neck This Time,
The Girl With The Pearl