Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Preemptive Critic - Mockingjay, Part 1

Putting aside my less-than-positive thoughts on the latest fad of splitting up the final installment of movies-from-book-series, I'm still excited for this.

I've got to talk about the way they're doing the marketing for this movie, though. Wartime propaganda is HUGE in Mockingjay. I mean, propaganda is a big part of the entire Hunger Games series, with the sick blend of fashion show and "fight to the death" mix of the Games themselves - all of it is meant to keep the Districts in their place. That's how the Capitol rules - mostly through intimidation of information. Sometimes they pick up the stick and beat their constituents with it, but it's mostly through the threat of violence.

However in Mockingjay, the Districts start to rebel and threats from the Capitol start to lose their potency. Even while the Districts are descending into chaos, we do hear mentions of TV spots that call for unity and peace - much like this trailer (Peeta even makes appearances in these spots). It's not too far-fetched to imply that there are also campaigns like "District Heroes" (though I have my doubts that these people modeling for the images are actually meant to be from the Districts - most likely they're models from the Capitol made-up to look like District citizens. I highly doubt District 6 guys wear pants made out of tire-treads).

Also - unlike some of the Capitol Couture stuff (like having CoverGirl create looks based on the bizarre fashions of the Capitol), I'm more inclined to think this marketing campaign is a bit tongue-in-cheek. One of the great ironies of The Hunger Games series is that the story satirizes celebrity culture and how stupid it is to dig into these people's personal lives at the expense of being decent human beings about it. And what do all (well, most of) the teeny-bopper articles pick out about this story? Whether or not Katniss decides she wants to be with Peeta or Gale (as if this was some ridiculous Twilight thing).  Look, I like a good conversation about shipping as much as the next fangirl, but sometimes it's inappropriate. Like in a story where the main character has to choose between saving her sister or saving the guy in the foxhole next to her - and whether or not she could live with her choices afterward.

I kind of hope people get creeped out by this new tack they're taking with the marketing for this movie. It's straight out of the Soviet Union propaganda handbook, which is scary as shit if you ever care to find out about it (collectivism/"The Greater Good" at the expense of an individual's agency, enforced by a totalitarian government - you're damn right it's scary). For that reason, I kind of love it (in an extremely morbid way). Maybe it'll get kids (and many adults, let's be real here) interested in this area of history.

For being spookily on-the-nose with their marketing campaign, I preemptively love this movie.

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