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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

 

 

 

 

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What Those Mockingjay Part 2 Stills Are Really Saying

For so long, we sat at our computers bemoaning the total lack of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 promotion, begging Lionsgate to “just give us something!”

Now they’re giving us ALL THE THINGS. Right now. At the same damn time as all the other things. Yesterday, we got a poster. Today, tickets went on sale and Fandango users will get a new clip if they purchase when 24 hours (if you’re in a prominently MovieTickets.com region like us, look to the inevitable piracy). Entertainment Weekly also released a still cover featuring photoshop-y Katniss, Peeta, and Gale from Tim Palen’s upcoming book o’ portrait wonders and eight new stills. Tomorrow, the final trailer hits… but only at Best Buy. Again.

Clearly, that’s a lot to talk about. AND WE WILL. But today, we’re gonna focus in on those stills. You may not realize it, but there’s a message in each character’s eyes. There’s some serious thought there that they’re trying to get out. We’ll translate for you.

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“Urghh… It looks like we’re still committed to playing out the love triangle that nobody wants. Seriously, it’s giving me a migraine…”

 

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“Da na na na, da na na na, da na na na, da na na na… CROSSBOW! The weapon for guys who want to impress chicks but don’t have any real skill!”

 

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“We’re all pretty psyched about confronting the enemy! ..Except Peeta. He still doesn’t know what the fuck to do with his gun.”

 

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“I’m just the basic bitch behind the camera, so Imma sit back and encourage the real badass to do all the killing despise her worst fears blooming to life before her eyes. How else do you think I keep my hair firmly to one side?”

 

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“And then those freaking mutts showed up and I was like… tumblr_mvhy9xAFC41s822dfo1_250

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“Why are we in The Hunger Games franchise playing bad cop/reluctant cop, again? We were born to play Legolas’ twin sisters in Lord of the Rings, thank you very much!”

 

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“Look, Katniss, it’s not that I’m not saddened by your sister’s death. It’s just that.. if I’m going to drop you off in District 12 in place of Plutarch and mourn with you for a moment, I’m gonna look fly as fuck as I do it. Plzkthx.”

 

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“You thought you had your shit together by this point in the movie, didn’t you? THINK AGAIN, WOMAN!

That’s Our Story And We’re Stickin’ To It,
The Girl With The Pearl

REVIEW: Mockingjay Part 1 Is The Ultimate Game Changer

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** THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER FREE!**

The Hunger Games Franchise: Come for the action. Stay for the bigger, more important message.

KATNISSIf you’ve been following reviews for Mockingjay Part 1 so far, you’ve probably noticed some media outlets griping about the change of pace or fewer action sequences or the lack of the games. But The Hunger Games has always been about more than just the games. The first two films did an excellent job conveying the danger and inequality in Panem through the games, but the story cannot simply be the games, otherwise the whole message Suzanne Collins intended for her audience is lost. The franchise is about the tragedies of war but also the need to question society’s parameters and to fight against injustice, even if it comes at a personal cost. That’s right, folks– We’re moving past the “Whoa, all these people are in a bubble trying to kill each other!” pull and into legitimate political thriller territory.

Mockingjay Part 1 is a tantalizing slow burn. Its pacing, emotion, and action are different from the other films, but in the best way possible. It starts out dark, ends pitch black, and finds moments of levity, anger, sadness, and just about everything else in between. As Katniss attempts to adjust to life in District 13 and reluctantly accepts her role as the voice of the rebellion, a new story element unfolds into something much deeper. Katniss and District 13 go back and forth in the ultimate game of cat and mouse with President Snow, one in which everyone they know is a pawn. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone supporting her in District 13 is really truly on her side, either. The result is a harrowing journey to incite a revolution, one that featured fewer action sequences but kept us more emotionally invested than any Hunger Games movie before it.

Mockingjay-Part-1-Phillip-Seymour-Hoffman-and-Julianne-MooreThere’s a stunning tension created throughout the film by the entire cast. Jennifer Lawrence proved herself as our Katniss long ago, but earns new respect as she handles Katniss’ fragile emotional state with realism and care. Donald Sutherland is an absolute maniacal genius now that he has a chance to flex those baddie muscles. Julianne Moore is a smart, welcome addition as President Coin, who plays beautifully off the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Plutarch Heavensbee. The decision to keep Effie in the story was a stellar one and Elizabeth Banks is more perfectly Effie than ever before. Liam Hemsworth plays Gale with much more vulnerability and depth than recent promos have suggested– the rage scene is definitely there, but many others prior to that make it easy to see just how truly torn he is. However, if there’s a “Stepping Up To The Plate” award for this movie, it goes to Josh Hutcherson. Peeta’s transformation is gut-wrenching and visceral, the stuff that makes your breath catch in your throat every time he comes on screen because the agony and instability feels so real. It’s the first time in the series Josh has really been asked to be something beyond the caring, careful version of Peeta we all know so well and he exceeds expectations.

There is still action in this film but it isn’t scene-to-scene as it was when Katniss fought off danger after danger in the arenas. However, please don’t confuse less action with a plodding pace. This movie’s action sticks in your brain and feels much more warranted than in previous films. It is not, as the games were, for anyone’s entertainment. Even in the scenes without explosions and hovercrafts and arrows flying, there’s still plenty of things happening and for us, the entire film felt like it moved very quickly, faster than its actual run time.

mockingjay-part-1-peeta-beatenBecause this movie is a Part 1, you’re not going to get instant gratification around every turn (another sticking point for critics, it seems). But ask yourself– Did you really with The Hunger Games or Catching Fire, either? Francis Lawrence, Danny Strong, and Peter Craig used the opportunity to get more in depth with the story very wisely. Rather than being thrust into District 13, there’s a world-building that you don’t always get in film. President Snow and Plutarch in particular benefit from the books expansion into two parts, in terms of both screen time and character development. Boggs, Cressida, and the film crew are also rewarded a richer understanding than we’d expected. Random gushing: Elden Henson as Pollux was easily our favorite part of the film crew without saying a word, though everyone else played their part very well too.

For all the guessing in the world at the ending, we will only tell you this: You know the ending, but you don’t. You’ll leave the theater feeling charged up and overwhelmed, already eager for the final film.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the film is perfect. We have a few gripes but realize that in the grand scheme of things, they’re pretty minor. We’ll nitpick at a later date because to do so would be to spoil everyone. Even so, we know that Lawrence Squared and the rest of the team have delivered us a stellar film that is sharp and thought-provoking.

We can’t wait to discuss it with all of you!

Meeting Cressida and Crew

The deluge of Mockingjay stuff has begun, and it’s hard to know where to begin. Actually it’s not, because there’s ANOTHER clip, with Cressida introducing her crew to Katniss as they’re about to take off in the hovercraft.

It's time to go to work, Mockingjay

It’s time to go to work, Mockingjay

This is the first time we’ve gotten to hear Natalie Dormer speak as Cressida. As we would expect, she doesn’t have the Capitol affectation that Effie does in her speech. But there was something surprising about the way she talks.  Maybe it’s her hard, no-nonsense tone, or maybe it’s Dormer’s interpretation of a person raised in the Capitol who wants to cut all ties with the culture, or more likely it’s just me not being used to hearing Natalie Dormer with an American accent. I loved her line “We all fled on our own. For this. For you.” She delivers it with a mix of pride and condescension, but it doesn’t make you dislike her because it’s clear that they’ve all made sacrifices to be where they are today. No, Katniss, Plutarch did not rescue us. We made the decision to leave, risked our lives to escape to this completely uncomfortable life in the concrete bunker of District 13. But we did it FOR YOU. Could you please buck up and help with the cause now? It’s tough love, but it seems to fit the character.

You've had like 5 seconds of screen time and we already love you.

You’ve had like 10 seconds of screen time and we already love you.

It will be interesting to see how Cressida, and the whole crew, evolve over the next two movies. In the books, none of them are very well fleshed out as our narrator Katniss was mostly concerned with her own troubles. So these movies will give us an opportunity to see them outside Katniss’s lense.

We can’t say much about Messalla or Boggs, other than they were all business in this first meeting, but I liked to see the interaction between Castor and Pollux as they were signing to one another. Just with that little moment you could feel the bond they have, which was nice. I think we’re going to fall in love with them.

Now to watch more of the many things released today!

JJ

More “Stills” of the District 13 Rebels

The past day and a half has revealed more stills on the Hunger Games Instagram as promised. By now, you may have realized that these “stills” are really shots of the actors in costume which are being used to populate the cast and crew section of Mockingjay Part 1 on The Hunger Games Explorer. Watch daily as that cast list gets bigger! So don’t worry, if a favorite character has not been featured yet, he or she will be in the next few days.

First we got Castor. Like Cressida, wielding a camera we assume.

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Then Pollux, with no camera, no gun that we can see, but an even more lovely accessory. He’s wearing a mockingjay pin! He’s one of us, guys, and we love him for it.

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Today we got Boggs, looking a little scared or concerned or bewildered. Is he looking at Katniss? What is the context here? WE WANT TO KNOW.

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These three “stills” reminded us that we really have no clue about how these actors are going to be playing the characters. There’s been so little footage released so far, that these characters are a mystery in terms of the movie. Will Boggs maintain an important role? We really hope so, but all we have to give us inkling is a quick shot of him and Katniss in the elevator and then again with Katniss walking by all those bombs in District 13 during the last trailer. Not much to go on.

We need the tv spots and clips and interviews to start soon. We need to see more of these guys!

JJ

When Camera Crews Go Renegade

So we’ve definitely settled on the fact that the new posters are cool. Not perfect, but pretty damn cool. Still, there’s one isty-bitsy teeny-weeny fairly obvious detail that is driving us crazy…

Since when does a two-man camera crew, their director, and her assistant = BADASS WARRIOR MOTHERFUCKERS?

Observe!
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Mind you, we like the idea of badass warrior motherfuckers in general. BWMFs, if you will. But in comparison, we must admit this feels kinda forced.

While some tactical gear and even the small side guns on Castor and Pollux seem reasonable, check out the massive weapons Cressida and Messalla are sporting. That is meant for once thing: Taking out large numbers of enemies in a relatively short time period. Those are for straight up soldiers, not the people hired to film soldiers.

Meanwhile, Pollux is described as “the silent soldier” and Messalla, who seems skittish at best all the way up to his brutal end in the books, is called “the fearless renegade”. Seriously, somebody had way too much fun misappropriating these character descriptions while scripting this film!

In my initial commentary on these posters, I mentioned that Cressida and Messalla didn’t look much like Capitol defectors who, despite not agreeing with political choices, were still culturally Capitol at their core. The more we think about it… What if the filmmakers found it easier to not have them be Capitol defectors at all? The District 13 area doesn’t have many recognizable faces other than Boggs in the books, especially in what will be considered Part 1 territory. Audiences will connect with the District 8 scenes more if they see who Katniss is fighting with and what they stand for, so why not take already recognizable names and match them up with the mostly unrecognizable soldiers?

Yet we hesitate to wholeheartedly accept that theory. There is value to Cressida and Messalla being wet-behind-the-ears rebellion propo makers who don’t fully understand the dangers and implications of their work until they experience it firsthand. Their Capitol origins show that not everyone in the city is a drone supporting Snow and display tensions within the fragile alliances. Yes, it would be nice to have another kickass chick in the mix and Effie will be more firmly taking on the role of “Capitol lady who doesn’t truly get it”, but are there not shades of gray that can distinguish characters adjusting to the same situation differently as Cressida gets more and more proactive?

Maybe we’re just opposed to change.. but usually we’re not opposed to change when it seems reasonable and justifiable. We just don’t get why this group now has to be fierce soldiers. We’re hoping this pans out into something spectacular that we aren’t seeing yet, but right now, we must admit that we’re a liiiiiiittle weary!

If Camera Crews Are Now Super Soliders, Are The Original District 13 Soldiers Like.. X-Men?
The Girl With The Pearl

District 13 Rebel Reaction

IT’S MOCKINGJAY PART 1 Posterama! We got six brand spankin’ new posters of what will be Star Squad 451 minus Finnick, Peeta, and Katniss; our first official look at the crew in their gear.

And OF COURSE we’ve got lots of feelings we need to share about all this! BEHOLD!

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Oh, Hemsy! Your eyebrow game is just through the roof in this poster. We just want to brush them methodically for you (as we assume someone else did shortly before this picture was taken.) But we don’t love this image nearly as much as we should.

Book!Gale most certainly had some rage at this point in the story line. Yes, he’s finally made it to the rebels, but Katniss still describes him as intensity and fire when all is said and done. WHERE IS THAT? We all know Liam has epic emo face, but what about the other faces?! This is stern, at best. We want RAAAAAGE! He pulled that off much better in the Catching Fire character poster.

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Dammit, Natalie Dormer! Even in 1,000 layers including various padding, you still look glam! The last time we tried to look fancy, we still looked worth than that. URGH!

We’ve also discovered the new game we’ll be playing through the rest of the Mockingjay Part 1 promotional period: What exactly is the proper brightness of Cressida’s tattoo? It looked much darker and less green in the trailer, but it might have just been the lighting?

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YES! THIS! THIS FOREVER AND EVER!

If you can’t tell, we really like this poster! The image alone justifies Mahershala Ali’s casting as Boggs. Intimidating but serene, focused and powerful. The kind of guy who seems serious but has a solid sense of humor underneath it all. He definitely comes off as a leader and we are officially excited!

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Is it just us or was anyone else thinking Messalla had more of a Capitol flare?

Yes, he’s relocated to District 13, joined the rebellion, and probably toned down has look a bit. But still, we expected more than a bridge piercing and a line tattooed on the bottom lip. That modifications aren’t as “Oh so Capitol!” as we’d expected and despite not believing in the government, Messalla was still culturally Capitol. In the book, he stood out much more drastically. Why change that here?

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When… When did one of the camera guys get kinda sexy?

We understand why it was easier to make Castor and Pollux brothers instead of twins… even though it kills the whole Greek mythology reference but WHATEVS. Still, aren’t these guys the “insects”, the background characters that have their special moments but mostly kinda blend in? How are we supposed to focus on military strategy and political strife when there’s lean muscle and faux hawks in our faces?!

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Not sure how we feel about ponytail and beard combo, but we’ll let this one slide because its FULTON REED (aka Elden Henson). Pollux is a former Avox and admittedly, the styling choices give the character the look of someone who’s been worn down after seeing too many horrors in the world. Also, you can see their “insect” camera bags really well in this one ad we’re digging it!


Everyone’s Worried About Katniss and I’m like “BUT WHERE IS FINNICK?!”

The Girl With The Pearl

POSTERS! Tough Scary Sexy Badass Mockingjay Posters!

That’s right; seemingly out of nowhere more character posters have arrived!  This time they’re of the field team – Gale, Cressida, Boggs, Messalla, Castor, and Pollux all in their gear with the Mockingjay symbol behind them.

So tough. So menacing. So dark. Just the right tone, we’d say.

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We’ve got to digest on them a bit so we’ll have more on them later, but enjoy!

Katniss is next? KATNISS IS NEXT.

JJ

Keeping Homes But Cutting Cartwright

Some characters get cut, some characters stay the course, get filled out, and become something else entirely. This is what happens in the process of adapting a novel into a screenplay, things just, well– change.

Over the last several days we’ve all hopefully been witness to the casting announcements of characters like Commander Lyme, Boggs, Castor, Pollux, and now most recently Homes. Most won’t remember Homes, I’ll even admit that when I saw that the character was officially cast, that I thought the character was originally female, and that they had made a creative decision to gender swap “her”. However, I’m pretty sure now that I was probably mixing him up with Jackson, the only other female Squad 451 member besides Leeg 1, Leeg 2, and of course Katniss Everdeen. So, they kept Homes, I won’t be the first to say this, but I’m surprised. And the reason I’m surprised is that in the grand scheme of thing, or at least the grand scheme from my point of view, Homes is one of the more superfluous mockingjay-homes-casting-omid-abtahicharacters in the novel. Now, that’s not my saying that he doesn’t serve a purpose, because he does– everyone in that Squad has a specific talent that’s needed to fill a certain quota, or role if you will, and Homes is one of the squads long distance sharpshooters, like Mitchell and Jackson. I’m just taken off guard that characters that are somewhat forgettable are being kept, whereas characters from The Hunger Games, and Catching Fire were summarily cut seemingly for time, and alleged fluidity purposes. Examples: Peeta’s father, Lavinia the Avox, Darius the Peacekeeper, and Madge Underseee.

I won’t lie, I’m still a bit miffed that those four characters I just named were cut, which brings me to this– I hope they don’t cut Delly Cartwright. Look, I know to some of you she’s just as superfluous as Homes, but it cannot be denied that she’s an integral part of Peeta’s storyline in Mockingjay, and I personally see her character being wholly cut from the film franchise as a major disservice to the rounding out of Peeta as a fully realized character. I know that Delly’s character could be spliced and combined with say, Prim fairly easily, but that just seems counter intuitive as Delly is the only person in the whole of District 13 who has a past with Peeta that is not connected directly to Katniss– and Prim is directly connected to Katniss, who we all know is Peeta’s trigger. Disaster in the making in my mind if Delly is left on the cutting room floor like Lavinia was in The Hunger Games.

Here’s to hoping we get a casting announcement soon for some young actress filling the shoes of Delly– the most optimistic person in the entire series.

 

Them There Eyes

Seeing Double

The media world is ramping up for San Diego Comic-Con, and droves of Hunger Games fans will be descending upon that medium-sized city wanting for anything, and everything Hunger Games related– also any number of other fandoms they happen to be a part of as well. Or scratch that– better yet, anything and everything The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and possibly The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One and Two related, yeah and those other fandoms. Unfortunately I will not be one of those droving fans, sadly like our fair ring leader The Girl With The Pearl, I am unable to attend, do not fret however, because our lovely Twiffidy will be in attendance. As someone not attending the festivities down in So-Cal, I’m not all that concerned about the prizes, meaning the piles upon piles of fan-ish merchandise that Comic-Con is known for, which as I can tell seems to be a huge draw for many many people. In reality I’m more concerned with what will be presented to the world at large having to do with Catching Fire, and hopefully The Mockingjay films, ’cause I really can’t do much with a lanyard imprinted with Josh Hutcherson’s visage.

You’d think I’d be all rabid, and twitchy in need for Catching Fire info, wouldn’t you? Wrong,

Castor and Pollux

Castor and Pollux

because for some unholy reason I’m actually quite calm about the film, mostly because it’s already pretty much in the proverbial can, and I don’t see the purpose in worrying about something that’s already more than half way to being complete. The Mockingjay films though, yeah– those ones I’m all fidgety over. I’m big into casting, have you noticed that? So, it’ll be no surprise to you when I bring up the conundrum of four of the characters that are hopefully going to grace us with their presence in said films. And those characters are Leeg 1, Leeg 2, as well as Castor, and his Avox identical twin brother Pollux. See, the conundrum is this: Two sets of twins are hard to find, or– two sets of twins who are all actors is really really hard to find. I can think of three sets of twins who are all actors, and none of them are either all available, still willing to even still speak to each other, or yeah– the last bit is a huge hindrance on pretty much everything.

In a better world two sets of twins with acting talent, and wide open schedules for almost a

Josh Pence, Tyler Winklevoss, Armie Hammer, and Cameron Winklevoss

Josh Pence, Tyler Winklevoss, Armie Hammer, and Cameron Winklevoss

year, will come out of the woodwork, and amaze the pants off Debra Zane (casting director), and her crew. However, in reality I see three things possibly happening: 1. They cut the characters from the films completely, thus eliminating the next to impossible task of finding two sets of twins to fulfill the roles. 2. They change the roles from twins to just siblings. 3. They Winklevoss that shit, i.e. they pull a David Fincher and cast only two people to play the sets of twins, and then cast stand-ins/ body doubles to appear as well, then digitally replace their faces with the actors faces, just like what happened with Armie Hammer in The Social Network.

I vote for 2 or 3, because I’d like The Mockingjay films to be as close to the book as humanly possible. Not that I have a vote in the hypothetical mess I’ve conjured. 

Them There Eyes