A wedding dress is supposed to be symbolic. It is said to represent the purity of the bride, the love that she has for her future partner, AND it's supposed to represent the most important day of her life when everything she knew forever changes. For most people, putting on a wedding gown means that they are probably getting ready to walk down the aisle. But in The Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss Everdeen's wedding dress does not represent love. It is still, however, a symbol of change. Not only in her own life, but in the lives of all the residents of Panem.
In the upcoming movie, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Katniss will put on her infamous wedding dress, not to marry her fiancé, but to start a revolution. Those who have read Catching Fire will recall the memorable scene in which Katniss, donning the elegant attire, bursts into flames in an act of protest against the Capitol.
While we have yet to see an image of Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence draped in a wedding gown, we decided to find out what the dresses for this epic scene might look like. So, three wedding dress designers — David Tutera, Melissa Sweet, and David's Bridal Design Team — dreamed up the above five looks for us, based on the words of Katniss herself:
Katniss drescribes the dress in the second book of the series: "He unzips the bag, revealing one of the wedding dresses I wore for the photo shoot. Heavy white silk with a low neckline and tight waist and sleeves that fall from my wrists to the floor. And pearls. Everywhere pearls. Stitched into the dress and in ropes at my throat and forming the crown for the veil. Even though they announced the Quarter Quell the night of the photo shoot, people still voted for their favorite dress, and this was the winner."
In the book Catching Fire, the dress goes up in flames and turns Katniss into the rebels' symbol of freedom — a Mockingjay — in the middle of her interview for the Quarter Quell.
"I begin to twirl slowly, raising the sleeves of my heavy gown above my head… Then I notice something is rising up around me. Smoke. From fire," Katniss describes in the book. "Charred bits of black silk swirl into the air, and pearls clatter to the stage. Somehow I’m afraid to stop because my flesh doesn’t seem to be burning and I know Cinna must be behind whatever is happening. So I keep spinning and spinning. For a split second I’m gasping, completely engulfed in the strange flames. Then all at once, the fire is gone. I slowly come to a stop, wondering if I’m naked and why Cinna has arranged to burn away my wedding dress."
Katniss looks down to find out she has become a Mockingjay. "But I’m not naked. I’m in a dress of the exact design of my wedding dress, only it’s the color of coal and made of tiny feathers," she says. "Wonderingly, I lift my long, flowing sleeves into the air, and that’s when I see myself on the television screen. Clothed in black except for the white patches on my sleeves. Or should I say my wings... Cinna has turned me into a Mockingjay."
Not exactly your typical dream wedding.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire drops in theaters Nov. 22.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
More:New 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire' Trailer You're Not Allowed to Hate Jennifer Lawrence Kids Choice Awards: Kristen Stewart Beats Jennifer Lawrence
From Our Partners:Eva Longoria Bikinis on Spring Break (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
NBC's The New Normal is a delightful show about a not very ordinary gay couple trying to have a surrogate daughter with a strange woman who has an oddball child and an unbelievably bigoted (and funny) grandmother. NeNe Leakes is also sometimes involved. As much as it would like us to believe that this is the way the world works today, like most Ryan Murphy shows it is a celebration of the oddities within all of us. Therefore this weekly feature is both a celebration (and indictment) of all the abnormality contained within it.
Normal: Getting a dog to see if you can be a parent. Abnormal: Getting a dog to see if you can be a good parent after you already have a bun in the (other lady who is living in your guest house's) oven.
Normal: A 9-year-old loving Harry Potter. Abnormal: A 9-year-old being obsessed with Maggie Smith and dressing in elaborate costumes in class and then getting in trouble for it. Where did she get the costume? The mother had to know about it before getting called to the principal's office.
Normal: Ian McKellan coming onto you at the car wash. Abnormal: Actually making out with him.
RELATED: The Least Normal Things About 'The New Normal': Breast Feeding Edition
Normal: Encouraging your child's dreams. Abnormal: Encouraging your child to be like Taylor Swift. No one wants their child to be like that soul-sucking hussy who dates every man that she can find and then writes about how wronged she is when they dump her.
Normal: Having great female guest stars like Kerry Kenni-Silver. Abnormal: Wasting them as your household help and vets and other tiny parts. Remember what they did to Marlo Thomas (RIP: her face) and Cheri Oteri?
Normal: Being hot for teacher. Abnormal: There is no assistant principal in the world that damn hot.
RELATED: The Least Normal Thing About 'The New Normal': Grey Gardens Edition
Normal: Ex sex. Abnormal: Ex sex when you're pregnant with another man's (men's?) baby.
Normal: Leather daddies with butch pets like a bulldog. Abnormal: Leather daddies with parrots that say "Who's your daddy? Take it all!"
Normal: Going to the doctor and thinking there is something seriously wrong. Abnormal: Going to the doctor and thinking there is something seriously wrong and it's only gas. That only happens on TV. Super Abnormal: Having your dog get sick, having it only be gas, and then having it get hit by a car so that you don't have to continue having a dog on the show for the rest of the series. Dog trainers are expensive!
RELATED: The Least Normal Things About 'The New Normal': Christ on a Cross Edition
Normal: Loving a good impression. Abnormal: Having to explain to the public who that impression is of. Look it's Maggie Smith from Sister Act and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit co-starring Lauryn Hill before she was crazy.
Normal: Teenagers getting people pregnant. Abnormal: 18-year-olds knocking up girls at Burning Man. Only middle aged former hippies go to Burning Man.
Normal: Dogs growing up very quickly. Abnormal: Wait, how did they have a 9-month-old puppy that was only on the show for a week? Wouldn't we have seen it before, especially considering that it is older than Goldie's fetus? Where have they been hiding this dog?
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo credit: Vivian Zink/NBC]
NBC's The New Normal is a delightful show about a not very ordinary gay couple trying to have a surrogate daughter with a strange woman who has an oddball child and an unbelievably bigoted (and funny) grandmother. NeNe Leakes is also somehow involved. As much as it would like us to believe that this is the way the world works today, like most Ryan Murphy shows it is really a celebration of the oddities within all of us. Therefore this weekly feature is both a celebration (and indictment) of all the abnormality contained within it.
Normal: Having pregnancy cravings.
Abnormal: Pregnancy does not let you eat your face off anymore. We have the post-baby body to deal with!
Normal: Having a gingerbread house.
Abnormal: Eating the gingerbread house.
Normal: Wanting Cheri Oteri, who is amazing, on the show all the time.
Abnormal: A baby concierge. Sorry, Rosie Pope, this still isn't a thing. (But you need to hire her to play the nanny).
Normal: Liking to read books.
Abnormal: Please, no one bought Chelsea Handler's book in hardcover.
Normal: Struggling with a baby-proofed toilet.
Abnormal: Actually peeing in the sink. No one does that sober.
Normal: Wanting to watch the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special on CBS.
Abnormal: An NBC show shilling for a program on another network that airs on the same night.
Normal: Hating boring dinner companions.
Abnormal: I would kill to sit across from Vanessa Redgrave while she recounts her trip to Palestine.
Normal: Nagging your partner about eating too much.
Abnormal: Nagging your partner about eating too much when you are always going on about how you love to eat your feelings. Also, your partner looks like this.
Normal: Having a Realtor.
Abnormal: Having Marlo Thomas as your Realtor.
Normal: Marlo Thomas.
Abnormal: Marlo Thomas' nose.
Normal: Saying that gay advice is getting a makeover, giving you etiquette lessons, or schooling you on sex.
Abnormal: Saying that gay advice is helping you to live your life.
Normal: Practicing saying the alphabet backwards for when you get pulled over after a cocktail.
Abnormal: Practicing tap dance wings for your sobriety check. (Also, Bryan has Twitter. Why doesn't he follow @LADUICheckPoint?)
Normal: Wanting to be thin.
Abnormal: Wanting to give up cookies.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Neil Jacobs/NBC]
The Least Normal Things About 'The New Normal': We're Having a Boy Edition
The Least Normal Things About 'The New Normal': Tofurkey Edition
The Least Normal Things About 'The New Normal': Twitter Edition
From Our Partners:
Harry Styles Spotted Outside Taylor Swift’s Hotel Room The Morning After Their Date Night (PHOTOS)
Fall Bikini Bodies: The Good, The Great, The OMG (GALLERY)
Sofia Vergara won't be the only woman making her Saturday Night Live debut on April 7. Deadline reports that Kate McKinnon of the Upright Citizen's Brigade will appear in the episode, and it's possible we'll be seeing a few more female faces in studio 8H in the coming weeks. Kristen Wiig's contract is up at the end of the season, which means the show is poised to lose it's main female star (or rather, biggest star, period) — and Lorne Michaels has started searching for a woman who can fill her shoes.
Of course, there are plenty of other women on SNL right now, but despite the fact that some have been on the show for several seasons, they've failed to become household names. Even if viewers recognize the faces of Abby Elliott, Nasim Pedrad, and Vanessa Bayer, their impersonations of Kim Kardashian, Angelina Jolie, and Miley Cyrus haven't made a cultural impact. If anyone's still talking about a lady-helmed SNL skit when you get to work on Monday, it probably features one of Wiig's characters, such as Gilly, the Target Lady, Suze Orman, Kathie Lee Gifford, or Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, just to name a few.
SNL's dearth of female talent seems even more pronounced because the show is coming off an unprecedented 15-year period of strong female performers. Cheri Oteri, Ana Gasteyer, and Molly Shannon joined the cast in 1995 and 1996 and went on to create some of the program's most unforgettable characters, including the NPR Ladies, half of the Spartan Cheerleaders, and Mary Katherine Ghallagher. (They're also remembered for spot-on impressions of Martha Stewart, Monica Lewinsky, and Judge Judy.) Just as these were retiring from SNL in the early 2000s, the show entered a golden age for female performers. Tina Fey was named SNL's first female head writer and became a Weekend Update anchor, then unleashed a Sarah Palin impression so good that some have wondered if it influenced the 2008 election. Amy Poehler created several memorable characters, and joined Fey at the Weekend Update desk and in political sketches as Hillary Clinton. During this time Rachel Dratch was part of some of the show's best-loved skits, including the Lovers, Denise and Scully, and Debbie Downer. Plus, Maya Rudolph could morph into nearly any female celebrity, including Donatella Versace, Whitney Houston, Oprah Winfrey.
In the mid-2000s, these SNL heavyweights left the show and went on to find success in projects like Baby Mama, 30 Rock, and Parks and Recreation. This left only Rudolph's Bridesmaids co-star Kristen Wiig to take up the mantle of TV's funniest lady. Thankfully, Wiig has suggested that she'd like to do a few more seasons, saying, "I love the cast ... We're like Melrose Place without the murder." However, her film career is taking off with roles in Friends With Kids and Imogene, and it's unlikely that she'll stay for long. That means Lorne Michaels has the unenviable task of finding a woman who can both impersonate female cultural figures like Taylor Swift, and create original characters that can make us laugh with just a twitch of their baby hands.
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.