Mockingjay

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.

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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

 

 

Little Moments We’re Thankful For in Mockingjay Part 2

Now that the second week of release is here, we’ve had time (and multiple viewings) to digest more of our thoughts and emotions about Mockingjay Part 2. We’ve seen a lot of discussion about the BIG moments in the movie – from the craziness of the pods, mutts, Finnick’s death, “Stay with me… Always,” epilogue, etc, but it’s some of the little moments that stick with us too.  Sure, there are some little things we wish had been done differently, but we’ll focus on the positive today, with our favorite little moments from the book we’re thankful (and a little amazed) actually made the cut of the movie. We’re still full of Thanksgiving spirit, so we’ll go with it.

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“I’m planning for you to have a long life”

Boggs is a character that you fall a little more in love with upon each reading of Mockingjay. He’s an overall good dude, and time and again he’s there for Katniss. He sees her as a person, not a symbol or a pawn, but a brave young woman who’s had WAY more than her fair share of sacrifice, and his support of her warms our heart. I’ve always loved this exchange between Boggs and Katniss in the books. It serves a narrative purpose of explaining Coin’s ominous intentions, but also just reinforces Boggs’ loyalty to her. Considering Boggs leaves us way too soon, we’re glad he at least got this nice moment.

Pollux and Castor when they first go underground

It was wonderful to have Pollux’s backstory fleshed out a little, and the support Castor gives his brother as he starts to get a little panicky at all the revived memories of being underground was so sweet. (Funny how they give us these moments just before a character is about to die, huh?) But it was well done to reinforce the bond between these brothers, and we loved to see it.

“You’re a painter, you’re a baker…”

Much has been written about this discussion between Peeta, Katniss, and the squad. It’s our introduction to “Real or not real,” and the movie could have just left it at the favorite color discussion and moved on. But we got the gift of the painter, baker, windows open, double knotted shoelaces, unsweetened tea of details that shows just how much Katniss was paying attention to Peeta Mellark all this time. The mundane details that she knows about him reinforces how close they became before the Quarter Quell. This is a moment for the book fans and we’re forever grateful for it, film pacing be damned!

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Tigris’s small smile when Katniss reveals her mission to kill Snow

It wasn’t a long scene, but they took the time for Katniss to recognize Tigris as an ex-stylist from the Games. The horror of Tigris’s transformation is evident when she shares that Snow didn’t think she was “pretty enough” after all the disfigurement she inevitably went through to try to meet his unobtainable continued favor. Her tiny smile when Katniss shares her plan to kill Snow is another moment we’re glad made the cut. We already knew that among Capitol elites, Snow’s friendship was fickle, but this was a reinforcement that no one was safe under his regime.

What other small moments in the film stood out to you?

JJ

 

 

 

 

The Fantastic Mockingjay Part 2 Score – And that Cynical Remix

Yesterday the Mockingjay Part 2 Soundtrack went on sale on iTunes and Google Play. This soundtrack is just the musical score, not songs “inspired by” the movie but we LOVE it. James Newton Howard has once again blown us away with music for the movie, and has brought back many of the musical cues from previous films that give us ALL THE FEELS.

mj2 soundtrackIf you’ve seen the film, you know that Jennifer Lawrence sings “Deep in the Meadow” over the beginning of the closing credits. The song is a lullaby, and with the final scene of MJ2 featuring Katniss comforting her baby, it’s a lovely, quiet way to end the film. The song carries a huge amount of emotional weight throughout the series, as it’s the song Katniss sings to comfort Prim at the beginning of the first movie, and the song she sings to Rue as she dies. Fans have been talking about how much they love the inclusion of this song since the movie’s release.

The peace and happiness was short-lived however, since yesterday as well saw the release of this lullaby AS A DANCE REMIX. Cue the awful Hanging Tree Remix flashbacks, everyone!

Having a dance remix of this song is so out of place and unnecessary it seems like a joke. Add on top of it the fact that fans more or less hated the “Hanging Tree Remix” and preferred the version from the movie, this decision feels like awful trolling. In fact, back in January I joked that they would do this.

There’s definitely a huge disconnect between what Republic Records and/or Lionsgate thinks is appropriate or what even in the slightest way works as music. As long as they see some money to be made, they seem to think anything is worth trying. Our friends at Jabberjays.net explain our frustration very well.

…all this remix signifies is a clear-cut showing of corporate greed and exploitation of Jennifer Lawrence and Katniss Everdeen. Never mind that any fan of The Hunger Games would gladly buy Deep in the Meadow in its pure, original format. Never mind that the song is supposed to have a beautiful, lasting legacy and provide peace for fans new and old alike. Never mind that this song is supposed to comfort, not inspire finger-tapping on the steering wheel.

If there was any question about the fan response to the remix, it can be found in the replies to this promotional tweet.

I don’t think the fandom could be any clearer.

So anyway, let’s go back to enjoying the score, cause it’s fantastic. And we’ll listen to THE SCORE’S version of “Deep in the Meadow” and try to forget about remix nightmares.

We need some comfort, Katniss.

JJ

 

Critics, Box Office, and Mockingjay Part 2

The opening weekend of Mockingjay Part 2 is in full swing, and the reactions to the film have been very interesting. Fans seem happy with it on the whole. We all have our things that we wish were included or changed, but all in all it seems like the fans are pleased because this is a solid, faithful adaptation of the book. We got to see this story end in a way that is true and respectful to the source material and the important themes we value.

297A9B5D00000578-3117094-image-m-29_1433866860839Movie critics have been mixed. Some have really loved it, some liked it, but some are on the way other extreme calling it a major disappointment. The reasons why some critics have panned the movie offer an intriguing look into expectations of blockbuster movies, and the Hunger Games movies themselves. They say it’s too bleak, somber, gray, slow. It also seems like they were expecting some kind of exciting battle at the end, for Katniss to lead the rebels to triumphant glory of a new day in Panem.

As fans of the books, we knew not to expect that, and frankly the fact that there ISN’T a triumphant final battle and Katniss doesn’t go on to some glorious future of power, wealth and fame is what really hits home to us. An ending like that would have been a complete fairy tale and out of step with what these stories are trying to teach. But we understand the surprise that there isn’t one here. The story structure that the negative critics expected is as old as time. It’s one that appeals to people because of its extreme fantasy. You fight the brave fight and win and all is well.

We all know Mockingjay doesn’t portray the struggle in such a simplistic or clean way. Mockingjay Part 2 may be a PG-13 war movie, but it’s a war movie that doesn’t gloss over the ugliness of war. It doesn’t pretend that there’s anything glorious about the violence and destruction of war. That these things are arbitrary, unfair, and cruel. That discerning from “good” and “bad” actions are impossibly difficult. There’s a subtlety and lack of easy answers. AND WE LOVE THAT ABOUT THIS STORY.

The fact this film doesn’t offer a massively fun, popcorn chomping Hunger Games-y time may also be a reason why this film will open domestically as the lowest of the four movies. It’s still expected to rake in $100 million plus this weekend, plus a massive amount overseas, so without doubt this movie will still make everyone involved a nice pile of cash. The pile just won’t be so obscenely big this time. For fans though, whether this movie just makes A LOT of money versus A SHIT TON is moot.  It’s about having a film that met OUR expectations, and it looks like we got it.

The desire for panem et circenses persists, but we’re happy that the popularity of the franchise is getting lots of people to see this film. It’s good to see something different from the movies sometimes.

Now go remind the normals to see this movie.

JJ

 

Inside the Mockingjay Part 2 New York Screening

Tonight, I was super lucky to attend the Mockingjay Part 2 “Special Screening” in New York. Not a premiere, so it didn’t have the huge atmosphere of what we’ve seen in the previous days & weeks, but a huge number of cast attended, as well as Francis Lawrence, Nina Jacobson, and Jon Kilik.

The red carpet was in a tent located outside the AMC Lincoln Square theater. It was filled with press, who missed out on the LA premiere, and the small “fan pen” where I was. As per usual, everyone was very nice about accommodating fan requests for pics and signings. Here are some of my pics in the zoo-like media madness. (You will notice a lack of selfies, I don’t really do selfies, and I doubt you all care so it’s cool).

 

Then after that, IT WAS ACTUALLY TIME TO SEE THE MOVIE.

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It’s been a lot to take in, so we’ll dig into the movie after official release (but spoiler alert, we’re really happy).

Nothing could prepare us for the end, so we didn’t.

JJ

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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

MJ Interviews

Mockingjay Part 2 Interview Silliness

The Mockingjay Part 2 promotional tour is in full swing, which means press and various personalities lucky enough to get a sit down with the cast all compete to get the silliest moments on tape. We won’t lie, we’re total suckers for this stuff, which must be why this is the approach every year. We would feel cheated without it. So here we go…

First up, was the OFFICIAL Fan Tribute Event, which landed online this week. It definitely has its moments with funny stories, forehead kisses, and Liam doing a hilarious line reading of “If we burn you burn with us” that he swears was not him making fun of Jen, but Conan (at around 4:30 on the video – if you don’t watch the whole thing AT LEAST watch that).

Moving beyond Lionsgate events, we get to enjoy everyone making the trio do different challenges. Like spelling Mockingjay backwards (which went about as well as you’d think). Still, it’s good times. And Jen got a muffin/cupcake.

Finally, how about real life games of Real or Not Real? (Warning, after this initial question at the beginning of the video, it veers off into spoilerish movie territory).

It’s hard to imagine the amount of interviews that are involved with this scale of press tour. But we’ll be seeing them flood the internet in about 3..2..1.

Might as well try to have fun with it.

JJ

We’re Emotionally Damaged by the New Clip, Real or Not Real?

Who wants to see the scene where Peeta discusses some of his confusing memories and plays “Real or not real?” with Katniss? OH, THAT’S RIGHT, EVERYONE DOES!

We had to suffer a bit to get it in high quality though. First they debuted it during the weekend’s fan event, where you could watch a low quality phone recording of the scene online. Then Lionsgate gave the clip as an exclusive to TEENS REACT where we could only watch it with silly commentary and squealing interrupting the mood.

But today, finally we get the scene on its own, in all its quiet, beautiful glory.

Do we love this clip? Did it break our hearts? Did it make us feel really good about how Josh handled the tricky arc of “hijacked Peeta in recovery?” Yes, yes, and yes.

hijacked peeta

We know the screenshot on the video has Peeta, but we thought more Peeta would hurt more. ENJOY!

Hello gravely voiced Peeta, we can feel your pain and your exhaustion. Bravo, Josh. And the suffering in his face (and Katniss’s) is so painful to watch in the most appropriate way. Then you get to hear the ultra-beloved “Real or not real” uttered from Peeta. They change Katniss’s line slightly from “we protect each other” to “we keep each other alive” but that’s no biggie. It’s good. This is the good stuff here, guys. And it’s sweet.

We’d make a “but it felt like we had to go through torture to get it” joke about this clip, but we can’t joke about hijacked Peeta. Nope, can’t do it.

We’re too busy hurting at the moment.

JJ

Mockingjay Part 2 Production Note Goodies

The massive production notes from Mockingjay Part 2 came online today, and there’s some GREAT INFO to enjoy. Yes, we mean massive as in 97 pages (including all the end credits). We did a run through and these were some of the bits that made us curl up into a ball of feelings.

Jennifer Lawrence on Katniss:

She’s started to see the beauty in humanity in this film,” Jennifer observes. “In the beginning she had a short view of the way things are because of her upbringing. She did not have much hope then, and she felt alone for a lot of her life. During everything that has happened – in the Games, in District 13, in the Capitol at the end of this story – she found herself more and more connected to people.”

Notes on Peeta’s character:

Throughout, Peeta’s true feelings for Katniss keep surfacing in ways that keep him bonded to her at an unspoken level.

On that topic, THIS STILL found its way online today too. WE NEED SOME HELP.

everlark

Continuing on, Woodly Harrelson on Haymitch:

“Haymitch comes to care deeply about Katniss in a way that maybe surprises him and shakes him up, and it’s easy to get to that place with Jennifer,” he says. “She’s so much fun to work with, but also so honest and true in her performance. You’re always working at a high level with her.”

The final scene:

“One of the things that I’m most excited about is the film’s final scene,” says Francis Lawrence. “There was a really strong feeling on the set when we got to the scene – a feeling that all the history of all these characters through the course of these four movies had built up to this singular moment. I hope audiences really feel that history and also a sense of the future. Everything that has happened to Katniss and all the themes of the story have wound together to come down to this final glimpse of her world, so it was very important that we really get to live inside it.”

The ending remains as faithful to Suzanne Collins’ phenomenon-creating books as the beginning. As the journey comes to a close, one of the greatest satisfactions for Nina Jacobson is that the film franchise never strayed, the whole way through, from her promise to follow Collins’ vision.

There’s so much great stuff in these notes, we encourage you all to take a look for yourselves. The notes also reveal that there will not be an end credits song, and there will not be a pop artist soundtrack, just a theatrical score album for sale.

And oh yeah. Those end credits have something that’s not a surprise but still makes us wonder how the final scene will be shot. Bear Lawrence is listed as Everdeen Child #1 and Theodore Lawrence is Everdeen Child #2. Yes, these are Jennifer Lawrence’s nephews, as in 2 boys. I’m not ready to jump off the WHAT, WHY DID THEY DISREGARD BOOK CANON ON THAT NOW? ship, but it does make us wonder more about how the scene is constructed. Maybe they’re shooting one child through time. Maybe they’re doing some vague shots of kids playing and not doing a closeup on them so it doesn’t matter. But not gonna lie, it will bug us if they imply that Katniss and Peeta have two sons and forget completely about first born girl.

We’ll keep the faith though. Keeping the faith, because this is looking pretty great.

JJ

Testing Out The MJ2 App (And Looking Like An Unconvincing Drag Queen)

O hai, it’s a Mockingjay Part 2 app!

In a less complicated, cutesy twist, the OLTM (Our Leader The Mockingjay, in case you forgot) app has become MJ2 to promote the final Hunger Games movie.

Honestly, not too much has changed. The big new draw is that that graffiti feature has been readjusted for YO FACE!

This post contains my face… and for that I apologize.

First off, the Mockingjay war paint!

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Apparently, my forehead is not big enough for this feature. But otherwise, not terrible!

Fun fact: You CANNOT smile when you take this picture. Something about the facial shift angers the overlay and it disappears. So go for your war face!

Next, you can get into the Capitol spirit and become Effie with a bazillion different make up options. Mind you, all of these options will make you look like an unconvincing drag queen or perhaps a six-year-old who has raided mom’s make-up stash.

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The stupid duck face WAS intentional. I regret nothing.

The old feature has also been given an upgrade. You can still point and shoot at certain clear surfaces to add “graffiti” to your surroundings, but there are plenty of new graffiti options.

Remember the MockingToilet? IT JUST GOT BETTER.

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Katniss is on the throne while ON THE THRONE and we are not even a little bit sorry for this.

So if you love The Hunger Games and like to go crazy with funny picture sharing on social media, today is your day! Dance through the fields of Internet glory! …But charge your battery first, because this app will kill it in about 5 seconds.

I Barely Wear Real Makeup And I AM OVERWHELMED,
The Girl With The Pearl