The New Catching Fire Poster

hunger-games-posterYesterday a new poster for Catching Fire was released to the public, and yeah– that happened. I could literally leave it at that, because right now I’m feeling like the saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” might be a good idea to employ, and also I’m a little bit exhausted from all the feelings, and– y’know, life? Believe it or not, us here at Victor’s Village do have lives, and a lot of our lives have nothing to do with The Hunger Games.

It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with this fact, but we don’t have to like everything released having to do with The Hunger Games franchise. However, I think we all kind of wish we did. Which brings me to this, I can respect the new poster, appreciate its artistic aesthetic, the supposed back story, the color scheme, whatever– but all I get when I look at it is, it looks like a book cover from the ’80s. This was my Honest-I’ve-Just-Woken-Up reaction to it in all its trademarked Instagram-ed filter-y glory. And there I sat in my Frank Lord Wright-esque desk chair, in desperate need of a coffee, and perhaps in need of some consolation, and commiseration, because as much as I know on an intellectual level that I don’t have to like everything designed, and released for this franchise– like I said above, I wish we did, or I wish I did. So, I felt like my feelings were wrong, that if didn’t like it there’s something wrong with me, maybe I’m not sensitive enough, I’m not open-minded enough, I didn’t know enough about 19th century oil paintings, I’m not a big enough fan to embrace everything and all things Hunger Games, and also, perhaps I’m a horrible human being? I didn’t go get that coffee, I sat in my chair, I emailed a friend, who thankfully got back to me within minutes– and it was a salve to my own disjointed, disillusioned thoughts, because they also didn’t like the poster, and they’re just as invested in the film franchise as I am. And then I started seeing other people’s reactions, reactions like this one.

I could have gone on an entirely different route with this article, I hope you know that. I could have waxed philosophic over the artistic merit of the poster, how it’s a beautiful, and beatific portrait of Katniss, like something that should be accompanied by Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, that she looks stately, warrior strong, that the clouds are ethereal, that the wings in the clouds are symbolic, and give me butterflies in my tummy, but, guys– they don’t. I can embrace the idea that this poster, and the Capitol portraits from a couple of months ago, are perhaps paintings done by Peeta Mellark, which is why their aesthetic, and their styling are similar, but what I keep thinking is– this isn’t going to grab people’s attention in the right way. However, does that really matter? The film is coming out in six months, this is one poster in probably a string of others to be released, we might even get more released at San Diego Comic Con in a couple of months. This poster is a blip, really– just a blip, and in a matter of weeks there will be something new we can painfully over analyze, intellectualize, and give back stories to, to make our selves feel better.

Until then my friends, until then. 

Them There Eyes

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15 comments

  1. My reaction was fairly close to yours: I even said on Twitter that I didn’t see how this was supposed to sell the movie to non-book fans. The response to my tweet was split–some were annoyed that I hadn’t joined the positive bandwagon and others agreed with me.

    The thing that bothers me the most is that if you stuck Katniss in a flowy dress, it would look a lot like those “girly” YA book covers that so many of us don’t like.

    Anyway, it’s true: we can’t like EVERYTHING associated with the franchise. This indicates absolutely nothing about the ultimate quality of the film, as marketing is a separate entity. I still expect to love the movie.

    1. I don’t think this or the Victory Tour posters or the “Capitol portraits” are supposed to sell the movie to non-book fans. I think these are just little things for the fans. That’s why they feel like pieces of Capitol propaganda (the Victory Tour posters, the portraits) or rebel propaganda (like this one).

      The teaser trailer has so far been the only thing trying to sell the movie to non-book fans. The actual theatrical posters and the theatrical trailer and any teasers they release will be trying to sell the movie to the wider audience.

      1. That’s an argument that was made to me on Twitter, and I have to respectfully disagree. They don’t have to sell the movie to us, or go to the expense of making up posters just for us–they had us at hello. Non-book fans see this, too–in fact, I saw some pretty negative commentary from some of them. So I don’t believe they make these up thinking we’re the only ones who will notice them.

        Even if that were the case, it wouldn’t change my opinion of the poster.

      2. @Debbie: The Capitol portraits didn’t look like they were intended for non-book fans, and neither does this. We were so excited about them and spent hours analyzing the symbolism of the chairs, the clothes, the accessories and the white roses. For everyone else, it was characters from the first movie and some other people sitting on chairs. Riveting?

        Yeah, the movie already has a built-in fanbase – one that’s complaining as soon as there hasn’t been any news or new promos for a month. And a fanbase that includes people who would want to buy those posters. Posters aren’t made just to sell movies, they’re made to sell themselves. The casual fans don’t really need to be reminded about Catching Fire every two weeks, 6 months before its release, since they’ll probably forget till November anyway.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for standing up and saying the emperor has no clothes. Ugh, I thought it was just me, but I can’t find anything to like in this poster. Wrong feel, wrong aesthetic, wrong message. And the quote?!?! Does that quote say “standing tall and inspirational on a mountain top”? No, it says, drag your butt out of bed even though it’s the last thing you want to do. If we could switch out Katniss for Charleton Heston and add a couple of stone tablets, I would say this was a fantastic movie poster…for a 1956 film, that is.

  3. I actually like the poster. *laughs* Thought now that you mentioned that it looks like an 80’s book cover. I totally see that now! UGH whys?? I think what I mainly like about it is because Katniss is in the clothes she feels most comfortable in. Her leather jacket with her bow. It was nice to see her in her environment more of less. Since we have mainly seen posters of her dressed by the Capitol. I can see why people don’t like the poster. Which is totally fine we all don’t have to like what is given to us when it comes to the Hunger Games. Luckily most things we really do like!

  4. I’m not a big aesthetic person (sometimes when I’m giffing or editign things in PS I like to think that I am BUT I’M NOT 🙂 ), so my main concern about this poster was the actual content it displayed.

    I agree with Kasey V about how this is pretty much the first poster we get with Katniss in her regular hunting gear, not through the lenses of the Capitol. Which is good. It shows a determined female heroine and that’s good, I’d like to think that that does sell the movie to some non-book fans in itself.

    But why the cliff? I’ve seen this one post on Tumblr, and now I can’t unsee it. Katniss stands on the Pride Rock, and she’s about to get her cloud!advice from her dead father in the form of a Mockingjay cloud. Like I’m a huge Lion King enthusiastic and all that, but wtf Lionsgate? And what’s up with that quote? Did you just randomly open the Catching Fire book and selected the first sentence you found?

  5. I think you’ve caught the key idea with your Beethoven comment. Beethoven was a Romantic and part of a whole school of Romanticism that was strongly nationalistic; this painting is very much in that style (check out Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People). The whole idea of Romantic Nationalism was that the political legitimacy of a nation is derived not from a top-down divine right of kings (or President Snow and the Capitol elite), but from the culture and folkways, the patrimony, of the common man. So here we see Katniss as a godlike Romantic figure, dressed in her father’s jacket, with the bow that her father made, engaging in an ancient (and forbidden) cultural practice of hunting passed down from father to daughter.

    I really think this is a Peeta painting and/or a bit of Rebel Propo. I really hope it is Peeta being subversive (as he was with the Rue painting). Check out the comment thread from Hansen and me on Mockingjay.net: We have a great deal of fun as we go into deep nerdy art history mode on the Romantic Movement, Nationalism and the symbology in this poster 😉 http://mockingjay.net/2013/05/14/catching-fire-poster-revealed/#comments

  6. PS I think Beethoven might be even a little too early in the Romantic movement to be the perfect fit for this poster. Try anything Wagner while staring at Katniss and her wings of wind-swept cloud. I particularly liked the Overture to Tannhauser! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRmCEGHt-Qk

    Sort of fits the HG trilogy’s theme of redemption through love, too.

  7. PS Again. Completely on board with Time Traveling Bunny. This poster stuff is just for us geeky nerdy fan types who love to analyze things to death.

    If anything was designed to sell the film to the masses, it was the trailer. Not sure that one succeeded with the non-fan base, but it was a reasonable start.

  8. I think I would’ve liked it better if it was not done in this style. Definitely don’t like the coloring, Instagram-ish style to the poster. I think it worked well for the Capitol portraits– not for this.

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