I have become so disillusioned with this series. I was really into it at first, and I wanted it to become huge partly because I was so “in” from the beginning, but the sequel books didn’t really live up to the promise of the first installment, and although I didn’t hate the last book, (Allegiant), it wasn’t exactly as good as I had been hoping.
Meanwhile, I can’t get excited about this movie adaptation. Everything about the way they’ve marketed it so far screams “conformity to stereotypical Hollywood tropes and generic YA action movie themes that are the SAME as so many other things!”, which is so ironic given that they’ve simplified the storyline into “Tris is the hero because she’s DIFFERENT!” Like, look at this poster:
Really, guys? Really?
This poster makes me absolutely rage. WHAT IS THIS BUTT POSE AND CAN WE STOP MAKING IT A THING THAT WOMEN DO IN ACTION MOVIE POSTERS PLEASE!???!! And other than the birds and the Ferris wheel in the background, what about this poster is actually specific to this story as opposed to almost anything else? (Hint: nothing). Then there are the character posters that apparently you don’t get if your character is not in the Dauntless faction because they’re all about “guys, look tattooooos! Doesn’t this make our movie look badass (and one-dimensional?!) Never mind that the original story was partially about struggling with multiple virtues and which one if any should be most highly valued; TATTOOOOOOS!”
So now we have our first official trailer, and it has done nothing to lift my curmudgeonly spirits about this movie:
Theo James is definitely too old to be playing Four. His American accent is not consistent. Shailene Woodley as Abnegation Tris is wearing TOO MUCH MAKE-UP! Yes I know it’s a movie but they didn’t have to go overboard obvious with the mascara and eyeliner before she’s even transferred to Dauntless. I still don’t like the over-stylization of Four’s back tattoos.
OKAY FINE, I will not be a 100% Negative Nancy, there are some good moments in this trailer. Like when the Dauntless jump joyously off the train at 0:28, and the fear landscape drowning scene from 0:46-0:55, (although in this cut it looks like it’s the aptitude test), Tris jumping off the roof at 1:15, Four’s intense stare in the knife-throwing scene at 1:39.
If anything, the disappointing path the Divergent movie marketing has taken just makes me more impressed with Catching Fire which has been consistently killing it. Well, internet, am I the only Initiate not jazzed about this trailer? What did you think of it?
A new trailer was released today for X-Men: Days of Future Past. The first thing I noticed was that the music sounded familiar, and it only took a minute to confirm my suspicions (and boost my music-recognizing-ego); it’s totally the same song that was used for the Star Trek Into Darkness trailer. It’s a different arrangement and the music in the second halves of the trailers diverge after both have a moment where the music stops completely for a line of significant dialogue to land by itself (“Patience isn’t my strong suit” at 1:24 for X-Men:DoFP and “You think you’re safe…you are not” at 1:04 for STID), but it’s definitely the same song. Compare:
I like the vocals the in the STID version, but I think I have to give the edge overall to the music in X-Men:DoFP, because the last part of STID‘s music is just “BWAAAAM! BWAAAAM! BWAAAAM!”, but X-Men:DoFP‘s is a lot more musical, if admittedly generic. What do you think–which trailer uses the music better?
ZOMG, the first trailer for The Hobbit is finally here! I love it.
I love the singing. The lyrics are taken from a song in the book, obviously. There are some lines missing that leave the bit in the trailer a little nonsensical, but they always splice scenes together for trailers, and even in the movie I wouldn’t expect them to include every line from every song. Tolkien was quite verbose. Here’s some text from the paragraph just before the song, that I think show how well this movie is bringing the story to life:
The dark filled all the room, and the fire died down, and the shadows were lost, and still they played on. And suddenly first one and then another began to sing as they played, deep-throated singing of the dwarves in the deep places of their ancient homes.
Musically, I think the song is reminiscent of Pippin’s song (Edge of Night) from Return of the King. Here are the lyrics that are sung in the trailer:
Far over the misty mountain cold,
To dungeons deep and caverns old,
The pines were roaring on the height,
The winds were moaning in the night,
The fire was red, it flaming spread,
The trees like torches blazed with light.
These come from two stanzas about half-way through the song as it is included in the book, and there are two lines missing that should come after the first couplet:
We must away, ere break of day
To seek our long-forgotten gold.
Rather important syntactically, (without them it sounds like the pines were roaring to the dungeons, or something), but maybe in the full version of this scene the song will be more complete. (The flames, by the way, are from “the dragons ire, more fierce than fire,” and there is also a stanza about goblins that was skipped over between the lines of the trailer song.) I do love that it is a new tune, and that it continues throughout the second part of the trailer. New music! I mean I love the Lord of the Rings soundtracks, and they instantly increase my level of excitement when Peter Jackson includes them in his vlogs as he has been doing, but these are new films and I’m so stoked to be getting new, epic music to go with them. (The score is by Howard Shore, who also composed the music for all three Lord of the Rings films).
The tone of this trailer is undoubtedly dark. The song lyrics included talk about deep dark dungeons and burning landscapes, and several times Bilbo’s chances of survival are called into question, which I think is a little bit silly because we all know that this is a prequel and that he’s going to survive. I think they could generate excitement or market this as an action adventure full of dangerous escapades without trying to make us believe that Bilbo might die, don’t you? But they didn’t really need to work at convincing me to be excited for this movie anyway. I am duly excited. Maybe I will re-read The Hobbit during the holiday break!
**update 12/14/12** The full version of this Misty Mountain song, as sung in the movie and on the soundtrack, has these lyrics:
It’s finally here! We’ve been waiting for so long to see an official trailer for the movie adaptation of Suzanne Collin’s “The Hunger Games,” and this morning it finally arrived. Premiering on Good Morning America with an appearance by Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta, the trailer is already online as well.
And it. is. amazing!
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss is PERFECT, as I knew she would be. I love what they included of the Reaping, (the ceremony where the tributes are selected), because it made me cry and reminded me of the part in Mockingjay when the PR team in District 13 is trying to think of what made people love Katniss to begin with, what moments were best to remind people of or re-create in order to exploit that attachment and admiration of her. Someone mentions that when she sacrificed herself for Prim, when she volunteered in her place, that it was a very powerful moment. (Sorry, I can’t look up the exact quote because I lent my copy out to a friend). It is incredibly moving to see the way Katniss screams in desperation, as the guards hold her back while Prim walks towards her doom, “I VOLUNTEER!” That little clip perfectly encapsulates Katniss’s situation.
Katniss volunteers as Tribute in her sister's place, (and I cry my eyes out at this part every single time).
I guess the trailer didn’t actually indicate that Katniss is the sole breadwinner for her family, that her father is dead, that she must survive the Games in order to continue taking care of her sister and her unstable mother, but the goal of survival is secondary to her goal of protecting Prim. And they did include that line, when Katniss and Peeta are on the roof, and he says he wants to “think of a way to show them that they don’t own me. If I’m gonna die, I wanna still be me.” (!!! fanTASTIC line by the way, great decision to include it, one of the reasons we all love Peeta so much, he is so good!) Katniss replies, “I just can’t afford to think like that.” So we do get the sense that Katniss, although she volunteers for the Hunger Games because it is her only option, is going to fight to survive, and may be willing to do whatever it takes to win, whereas Peeta is fighting too, but for a different cause. (He’s so noble! I can’t stand it!)
Peeta says, "I just keep wishin' I could think of a way to show them that they don't own me. If I'm gonna die, I wanna still be me."
It’s perfect, I tell you, this trailer is perfect! It sets everything up excellently, and it doesn’t betray a single character. Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket is terrific. Her overly cheerful and colorful “Welcome, welcome!” when everyone in the crowd is depressed and drab, the fancy flourishes of her hands. Did you see the way she waves Peeta up on stage so ridiculously, like he’s five, coming to get a prize and not a death sentence? What a bitch! Perfect.
I have watched it maybe six or sevennine twelve nineteen times now. I keep pausing in the middle of writing paragraphs to re-watch it. The music is great too, I think. It’s haunting, and it doesn’t sound too modern. I mean I know this story is set in the future, but most of the districts are actually deprived of the technological advances that exist. The music sounds a lot more District 12-y than Capital-y. The music for this trailer ends the same way that the teaser trailer did, by the way, with a Mockingjay whistling Rue’s song.
There are so many more things that I want to see, (like more Haymitch, and Katniss’s mom, and Peeta being the Boy with the Bread, and a lot more of Cinna, and the beauty team, and more of the stuff that happens in the Arena, especially the cave), but what was included was all really good. I mean we really hadn’t seen anything except some shots of the filming of the Reaping, and the eight character posters that were released a couple weeks ago. Oh, and the teaser trailer, but that was just Katniss. I’m definitely convinced now that Josh Hutcherson is going to make an excellent Peeta, even though they didn’t really let him shine in this trailer. Everything they showed of him was great, I’m just saying they didn’t develop his character in this two minute, thirty-six second trailer as much as they did Katniss’s. Which is fine. Because I know they will in the movie. (Is it March yet?!)
The boy from District 12 looks out as he arrives in the wealthy Capital in awe.
Okay. Getting a little more book-nerd with it, did you notice the actual “girl on fire” part? I think this is the entrance parade of the Tributes, and we see Katniss, in the pyrotechnic dress that Cinna designed for her, projected on a large screen to viewers in the Capital, and then it pans back and we see two Capital dwellers watching the show with their little blue drinks and tiny iPod-ish screen, right?
The Girl on Fire
Also, towards the end we see the District 12 salute. Katniss appears to be sending a shout-out to her District from the Arena, and the crowd watching at home responds with the same gesture. In the book, they do this when she volunteers at the Reaping, and Katniss does it in the Arena when an ally dies. But this looks like the very beginning of the Games, before the buzzer goes off, when each contestant is standing on their little circle. She’s pretty unscathed, and it’s too grassy to be the forest death scene I’m thinking of. Or, I don’t know, maybe she’s doing a farewell to the body as it’s taken away by the helicopter, and then the shot of District 12 doing it too is actually from the Reaping? (If so I think that’s the only clip in this trailer from the second half of the movie. Everything else is before the Games or the first few seconds of the 74th Annual Game itself). I think it’s an interesting way to include the sorts of scenes we didn’t get to see from Katniss’s narration, (like people watching the Games and reacting back home, or in the Capital).
The District 12 salute.
Here’s the description of the first use of this symbol in the book:
Then something unexpected happens. At least, I don’t expect it because I don’t think of District 12 as a place that cares about me. But a shift has occurred since I stepped up to take Prim’s place, and now it seems I have become something precious. At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd touches the three middle fingers of their left hand to their lips and holds it out to me. It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love.
I thought the styling of the Capital characters was spot-on. I saw someone with pinkish, reddish skin in one quick shot. I loved the swirls in the head Gamemaker’s facial hair. I liked the shot of the Capital we saw, nestled in the mountains of what used to be Colorado. I loved the ornateness of it all. It’s perfect. This looks like it’s going to be an incredibly faithful adaptation. Hooray!
Oh, and it looks like they’ve included the scene where the red-headed girl trying to escape the Capital is captured by the pursuing aircraft in the woods outside of District 12. In the books, this is a flash-back that Katniss remembers when she sees the same girl serving as her Avox, (a servant who’s tongue has been cut out so they are literally “without voice”), in the Capital. But it’s a good change to make this actually happen at the beginning of the film rather than as a flashback to sometime before the main narrative, because it won’t disrupt the flow of action as much, and it will give a little more time on screen to develop Gale and Katniss’s relationship.
If you haven’t read this book series yet, why the hell not?! Get cracking. You have until March 23, 2012. It’s amazing. And may the odds be ever in your favor!
What is up with American filmmakers’ (and television show-makers’) obsession with “sensationalizing” their material and marketing campaigns with lesbians? You probably know what I’m talking about, it’s not a new phenomenon. There is an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to cataloging the number of times television shows have used a “lesbian kiss episode” to boost ratings during sweeps. The most recent place I noticed this spectacle was in a trailer for David Fincher’s American adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, based on the book by the late Stieg Larsson. Watch, and let’s discuss:
So there’s voice-over by Advokat Bjurman saying “how many partners have you had in the last month? How many of those have been–men?” while we see Lisbeth in a club hooking up with a woman. The very next lines are Bjurman assuring Lisbeth that she will have control of her money “once you learn to be–sociable. Let’s start with me. You know what to do.” It’s clear he intends forced sex. Yes, that’s what happens in the book, he forces her after asking a barrage of invasive questions about her sex life, but the way this is cut in the trailer it makes it look like she’s being victimized in this way at least partially because she prefers women to men. Also, in the book Bjurman doesn’t ask about her partner preference, he asks if she likes different positions.
Then of course when Blomkvist first meets Lisbeth in real life, barging into her apartment to her utter shock, there is a girl in Lisbeth’s bed. Blomkvist says, “Put some clothes on, get rid of your girlfriend.” Blomkvist then tells a sullen-looking Lisbeth, “I need you to help me catch a killer of women,” a proposition that gets her to look up with newly lit interest. Because, of course lesbians would be down with hating on women-killers!
I would say there’s another bit of dialogue that hints at this picture the trailer is painting, towards the beginning when Lisbeth is asked if there is anything she chose to leave out of the report on Blomkvist. This one is more subtle, but when she is describing his relationship with his co-editor and says, “Sometimes he pleasures her, not often enough in my opinion,” it seems to wink at the fact that Lisbeth herself prefers a certain amount of “pleasuring.” If you’ve seen the uncensored version of this trailer, you know the “pleasure” referenced doesn’t require male genitalia. There is also a quick shot of Lisbeth kissing a woman, (I think it’s the same one from the bar and her bedroom), towards the end (3:06).
I’m just saying, the way this trailer is cut, it makes it look like much of Lisbeth’s driving force, identity, and motivation has to do with her being lesbian. Still, maybe none of that seems over the top to the average movie trailer viewer. But let’s compare this depiction of Lisbeth with what Larsson actually penned in regards to her sexuality. He’s pretty straightforward, and there’s really no guesswork. (The Evil Fingers are a clique she sometimes hangs out with.):
Salander awoke with a start from a dreamless slumber. She felt faintly sick. She did not have to turn her head to know that Mimmi had left already for work, but her scent still lingered in the stuffy air of the bedroom. Salander had drunk too many beers the night before with the Evil Fingers at the Mill. Mimmi had turned up not long before closing time and come home with her and into bed.
Salander–unlike Mimmi–had never thought of herself as a lesbian. She had never brooded over whether she was straight, gay, or even bisexual. She did not give a damn about labels, did not see that it was anyone else’s business whom she spent her nights with. If she had to choose, she preferred guys–and they were in the lead, statistically speaking. The only problem was finding a guy who was not a jerk and one who was also good in bed; Mimmi was a sweet compromise, and she turned Salander on. They had met in a beer tent at the Pride Festival a year ago, and Mimmi was the only person that Salander had introduced to the Evil Fingers. But it was just a casual affair for both of them. It was nice lying close to Mimmi’s warm, soft body, and Salander did not mind waking up with her and their having breakfast together.
That excerpt was from the beginning of chapter 18. It’s literally one page out of the 644 pages in my paperback version, so .1% of the story, in other words. Whereas in this 3 minute, 46 second trailer, even at the most conservative calculation that only includes the unmistakable lesbian references, (five seconds of Advokat Bjurman questioning her partner preference, two seconds of Blomkvist saying “get rid of your girlfriend,” one second shot of Lisbeth kissing Mimmi at 3:06 mark) equals 3% of the total trailer time. If you include all the scenes that I point out above, you get 24 seconds, or 10% of the total trailer time, (one hundred times the amount on the same topic in the book), spent establishing Lisbeth as a lesbian man-hater.
Lisbeth is not an interesting character you might want to watch in a movie because she might sometimes sleep with women. She’s compelling because she’s so thorough in her research, so highly skilled with computers, yet so unable or unwilling to build normal functioning human relationships. She’s tenacious and very tough, yet physically tiny and vulnerable. She has a photographic memory. She wants to know everyone else’s secrets but doesn’t want anyone to know hers. She doesn’t trust authorities. She believes in exacting her own revenge, or revenge on behalf of other people if she thinks they’ve been wronged and she has a way to hurt their torturer. She wears black and has multiple piercings, but it isn’t because she hates men. She doesn’t hate men. She hates bastards.
Why can’t the trailer portray her as the complex and interesting person that she is, instead of spending so much time focusing on and expanding on just one of her attributes, that really has nothing to do with the plot? Why is this an accepted marketing technique, anyway? I mean did you see the way Jennifer’s Body or Black Swan or that season 4 episode of Heroes where Claire kisses her roommate were advertised? You’d see articles, interviews, and pictures popping up everywhere. Like this quote, by Natalie Portman last year in Entertainment Weekly(she’s talking about Black Swan):
“Everyone was so worried about who was going to want to see this movie,” Portman says. “I remember them being like, ‘How do you get guys to a ballet movie? How do you get girls to a thriller?’ And the answer is a lesbian scene. Everyone wants to see that.”
So is it safe to assume that the editors of this trailer took a similar marketing approach? Make people think there will be lesbian sex so everyone goes to the movie? Look, this isn’t a rant against gay or lesbian content in movies. Gay characters can be complex, shallow, relate-able, lovable, despicable, funny, sad, pivotal, or inconsequential, just like any other kind of character. What I find annoying is the tendency in mainstream movies to include lesbianism almost like it’s a gimmick, unrelated to the characters’ journeys or the plot, and then market the hell out of that scene, as if it’s what the movie is really all about. I guess it’s not really any different than the way movie trailers and TV spots always include that shot of the hot girl in her bikini, or slinky dress, or short shorts.
I probably wouldn’t have had a problem with this Dragon Tattoo trailer if I hadn’t been familiar with the source material. If it had been just another original movie, I would have accepted their portrayal of Lisbeth Salander, gone to the movie, and then maybe wondered afterwards why the trailer emphasized her sexuality so much when it wasn’t really a relevant or motivating factor for her. (Unless, maybe in this version it is? Also, I haven’t yet read the other two books in the Millennium series, so maybe I don’t have a completely accurate picture of Lisbeth myself.) As it is, I just don’t understand why the adapters behind this American version felt that there wasn’t already enough intriguing, sensational material in the book, and resorted to the tiresome “Sex sells! Lesbian sex sells even better!” strategy. I think it’s even more annoying in this case because the source material so explicitly states that labels are unimportant to Lisbeth, and this trailer does nearly nothing but label her.