The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

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“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” redirects here. For the novel on which this film is based, see Mockingjay. For the sequel to this film, see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.
The Hunger Games:
Mockingjay – Part 1
MockingjayPart1Poster3.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Produced by Nina Jacobson
Jon Kilik
Screenplay by Danny Strong
Peter Craig[1]
Based on Mockingjay
by Suzanne Collins
Starring
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Jo Willems
Edited by Alan Edward Bell
Mark Yoshikawa
Production
company
Distributed by Lionsgate
Release dates
  • November 19, 2014 (Brazil)
  • November 21, 2014 (North America)

[2][3][4]

Running time
123 minutes[5]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $125 million[6]
Box office $752.1 million[6]

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is a 2014 American science fiction war adventure film directed by Francis Lawrence with a screenplay by Peter Craig and Danny Strong. It is the first of two films based on the novel Mockingjay, the final book in The Hunger Games trilogy, written by Suzanne Collins, and the third installment in The Hunger Games film series, produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik and distributed by Lionsgate. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland. It is the sequel to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and will be followed by the concluding entry, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.

The story continues to follow Katniss Everdeen; having twice survived the Hunger Games, Katniss finds herself in District 13. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss reluctantly becomes the symbol of a mass rebellion against the Capitol and fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage. Principal photography for both parts of the film began on September 23, 2013, in Atlanta, before moving to Paris for two weeks of filming and officially concluding on June 20, 2014, in Berlin.[7]

Part 1 was released on November 19, 2014 in Brazil, November 20, 2014 in Malaysia, United Kingdom, Greece and Indonesia, November 21, 2014 in the United States, November 28, 2014 in India, and February 8, 2015 in China. Like its predecessors, the film was a commercial success grossing $55 million on its opening day, making it the largest opening day of 2014 and the sixth-largest in November. The film went to the No. 1 spot during its opening weekend with a $273.8 million worldwide gross, becoming the biggest opening of 2014 and marking The Hunger Games film series as the only franchise to have three films earn over $100 million in a weekend. The film earned over $752 million worldwide, making it the second highest-grossing entry in The Hunger Games series.

The film had garnered a nomination for Best Science Fiction Film at the 41st Saturn Awards. For her performance, Lawrence received a nomination for Best Actress in an Action Movie at the 20th Critics’ Choice Awards and a Saturn Award nomination. The song “Yellow Flicker Beat” also received a nomination for Best Original Song at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards and Critics’ Choice Awards.

Contents

Plot

After being rescued from the destroyed arena in the 75th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen, along with fellow Victors Beetee and Finnick Odair, is taken to District 13, an independent district isolated from the rest of Panem that has been spearheading the rebellion, where she is reunited with her mother and sister Prim. While recuperating, she is introduced to President Alma Coin, the rebel leader, and is told that her actions in the arena sparked riots and strikes against the Capitol. Coin asks her if she will become the “Mockingjay”—the symbol of the rebellion—as part of their “hearts and minds” strategy. Katniss flatly declines, angrily reminding her that they left Peeta Mellark, her portrayed lover and fellow District 12 tribute, behind in the arena. At the suggestion of Plutarch Heavensbee, the former Gamemaker, she is taken to see the ruins of District 12, which was completely leveled by a Capitol bombing campaign (with the exception of the houses in the Victor’s Village). After seeing that Peeta is being used by Capitol state television to quell the rebellion, Katniss reluctantly changes her mind and agrees to become Coin’s Mockingjay, on the condition that Peeta and the other victors will be rescued and pardoned at the earliest opportunity, and that her sister, Prim, will be allowed to keep her cat.

After Haymitch notes that Katniss thrives on spontaneity, she is introduced to her film team (led by Capitol escapee Cressida), is dressed up in a specially-designed outfit, and given Effie Trinket as a stylist and close friend Gale as a bodyguard. They go out to District 8 to visit a hospital, but as the visit concludes, a Capitol bombing squadron arrives and bombs the hospital, killing everyone inside. In her rage, Katniss gives a rousing speech to the camera, which is broadcast when Beetee hijacks the Capitol’s news feed. After it is broadcast, strikers in District 7 kill an entire team of Peacekeepers with hidden land mines.

After seeing a weakened Peeta on TV the team then go back to District 12, where Gale tells the story of its destruction, and Katniss is filmed singing “The Hanging Tree“. After that is broadcast, a rebel demolition team from District 5 destroys the dam providing the Capitol with electricity, forcing them to use power generators and weakening their ability to broadcast their propaganda.

That night, Katniss watches Peeta being interviewed by Caesar Flickerman, the Games’ former presenter, when, in an apparent defiance of his captors, Peeta suddenly shouts a warning that the Capitol is about to attack District 13. Coin orders a mass evacuation into the underground shelters. While Prim is nearly locked out when she goes back to get her cat, everyone manages to get inside safely, and the facility survives the attack unharmed. Upon emerging, Katniss discovers that the area is littered with white roses, realizes that President Snow has sent them to taunt her, and presumes that he is about to kill Peeta. As Peeta’s warning gave the District an additional eight minutes evacuation time, Coin dispatches an elite special forces team, which includes Gale, to rescue him, along with Johanna Mason, and Annie Cresta, the remaining Victors, from their prison in the Capitol’s Tribute center. The rescue is successful. However, when Katniss goes to greet Peeta, he unexpectedly attacks and strangles her into unconsciousness, before being knocked unconscious himself by Boggs.

Katniss wakes up in the medical facility, and is informed that Peeta has been “hijacked” — a form of physical/mental torture in which he is brainwashed into wanting to kill Katniss by associating memories of her with the psychological terror created by tracker jacker venom — explaining why the Capitol allowed Gale’s team to escape. A process to undo the effects then begins, with Peeta kept in isolation. Meanwhile, Coin announces the successful rescue of the Victors, and that their next objective is the Capitol’s principal military stronghold in the ravines on District 2.

Cast

For character descriptions from the novels, see List of The Hunger Games characters.

Production

Pre-production

On July 10, 2012, Lionsgate announced that the third and final installment in the series, Mockingjay, would be split into two parts. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was released on November 21, 2014 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is scheduled for November 20, 2015.[10] Many directors, including Rian Johnson, Francis Lawrence and Alfonso Cuarón were considered for the job. On November 1, 2012, Lawrence, director of Catching Fire, announced he would return to direct both final parts in the series.[11]

On December 6, 2012, Danny Strong announced that he would be writing the third and fourth films.[12] On February 15, 2013, Lionsgate confirmed the script for Part 1 was written by Strong, giving him permission to write Part 2.[13] Later in August, Hemsworth confirmed that shooting of the film would begin in September 2013.[14]

The film’s production began on September 16, 2013 in Boston, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.[15] On November 13, 2013, Nina Jacobson revealed that Peter Craig was also hired to write the adaptations.[1]

Casting

On August 26, 2013, it was announced that actress Stef Dawson had joined the cast and would portray Annie Cresta.[16] Lionsgate announced on September 13, 2013 that Julianne Moore had joined the cast of both Mockingjay‍ ’​s parts to play President Alma Coin.[8] Over the next month, Patina Miller, Mahershala Ali, Wes Chatham, and Elden Henson joined the cast as Commander Paylor, Boggs, Castor, and Pollux, respectively.[17][18][19] There was a casting call for extras on September 23.[20] Robert Knepper was cast as Antonius,[21][22] a character who does not appear in the books and is an addition to the adaptation. Knepper has stated that during his audition he knew that the lines he received were not what he would end up doing, adding that “they [Lionsgate] are so secretive about this.”[23]

Filming

Shooting began on September 23, 2013 in Atlanta and concluded on June 20, 2014 in Berlin. Part 1 was filmed back-to-back with Part 2.[24] In mid-October, the crews were spotted filming in Rockmart.[25] The crew and cast took a break to promote The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and filming resumed on December 2, 2013. On December 14, 2013 shooting took place at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta.[26] On December 18, shooting began at Caldwell Tanks in Newnan, Georgia.[27]

Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays Plutarch Heavensbee in the film, died on February 2, 2014 in New York. Lionsgate released a statement stating that Hoffman had completed filming most of his scenes prior to his death.[28][29]

On April 18, 2014, producer Nina Jacobson announced that filming in Atlanta had just wrapped up,[30] followed by director Francis Lawrence announcing the next day about moving production to Europe.[31][32] It was announced that they would be filming battle scenes in Paris and at Berlin Tempelhof Airport in Berlin.[33][34] They began filming in the streets of Paris and in the city of Ivry-sur-Seine on May 7, where Lawrence and Hemsworth were spotted during the filming of some scenes among extras.[35]

On May 9, it was reported that filming was taking place in Noisy le Grand, Paris where Lawrence, Hemsworth, Hutcherson, and Claflin were spotted on the set which re-created the world of Panem.[36] It is the same location where Brazil was filmed in 1984.[37]

Costumes

Christian Cordella, a costume illustrator on the first movie, returned to sketch the outfits for District 13.[38]

Music

The music was created to contrast the dark feel of the film. On October 9, 2014, it was revealed that the Trinity School boys’ choir recorded tracks for the score, written by James Newton Howard.[39] Jennifer Lawrence performed the film’s version of the song “The Hanging Tree”, originally featured in the novel, but was not thrilled about having to sing and cried the day of the performance.[40] As of the evening of November 25, 2014, the song was #4 on the Apple’s iTunes top 150 list.[41] “The Hanging Tree” also peaked at #1 in Austria[42] and Hungary[43] and peaked at #12 on Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.[44]

Score

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Original Motion Picture Score
Film score by James Newton Howard
Released November 24, 2014[45]
Genre Soundtrack
Label Universal Republic
James Newton Howard chronology
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Original Motion Picture Score The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Original Motion Picture Score
Singles from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Original Motion Picture Score
  1. The Hanging Tree
    Released: December 9, 2014
No. Title Length
1. “The Mockingjay” 2:39
2. “Remind Her Who the Enemy Is” 2:29
3. “District 12” 3:23
4. “Snow’s Speech” 3:32
5. “Please Welcome Peeta” 3:53
6. “Katniss’ Nightmare” 2:06
7. “The Arsenal” 3:54
8. “Incoming Bombers” 4:33
9. “Don’t Be a Fool Katniss” 1:40
10. “District 12 Ruins” 3:38
11. The Hanging Tree” (Featuring Jennifer Lawrence) 3:38
12. “Peeta’s Broadcast” 1:45
13. “Air Raid Drill” 4:31
14. “It’s Gonna Be a Long Night” 2:26
15. “Taunting the Cat” 2:08
16. “White Roses” 3:25
17. “District 8 Hospital” 2:07
18. “The Broadcast” 1:11
19. “Jamming the Capitol” 3:27
20. “Inside the Tribute Center” 3:44
21. “Put Me on the Air” 3:10
22. “They’re Back” 2:47
23. “Victory” 2:54

Marketing

Tim Palen, the head of marketing for Lionsgate said, “When we started, we decided to look at this as one big movie that’s eight hours long. Otherwise, it’s going to be kind of overwhelming to do a new campaign for each movie.” He also added that he saw the biggest potential in international growth and that they matched Iron Man 3 domestically, but were aiming to improve internationally for the two Mockingjay films. He revealed in an interview with Variety that there would be reveals of the marketing campaign at the Cannes Film Festival in May and San Diego Comic Con in July.[46]

On May 14, 2014 TheHungerGamesExclusive.com was launched. It featured three stills from the movie, featuring Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jeffrey Wright with an additional behind-the-scenes still of director Francis Lawrence and Mahershala Ali. The website also featured other content, including a short GIF image of Julianne Moore as President Coin and a video interview with Moore. There was also an in-depth interview with director Francis Lawrence, producer Nina Jacobson and screenwriter Peter Craig. A page from the script of Part 1 was also released in addition to a motion poster, with the tagline, “Fire burns brighter in the darkness.”[47]

On May 17, 2014, while principal photography was underway in Paris, some of the cast and crew including Lawrence, Hutcherson, Hemsworth, Claflin, Moore, Sutherland, Lawrence, and Jacobson attended the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for a photo shoot and party bash to excite international investors.[48] Co-chairman of Lionsgate Rob Friedman said in response to why they would incur such big expense even though the film isn’t actually playing at the festival that it was convenient as the cast were in Europe already and that “it’s a big opportunity for our international distributors to actually hear what the worldwide plans are for the film, which opens in November. Cannes is the best publicity opportunity from an international penetration perspective.”[49]

Kabam announced their partnership with Lionsgate to create a mobile game based on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, to tie in with the film’s release. Kabam produced an exclusive role playing, card collection mobile game. In the game, players assume the identity of District members sent on a mission in order to build their alliance, liberate their District, and rebuild Panem. “Lionsgate has an unparalleled track record of developing and producing blockbuster movie franchises like The Hunger Games,” said Kabam Chief Operating Officer Kent Wakeford. “Partnering with Lionsgate, Kabam will build a mobile game that’s as much fun to play as the movie is to watch. The game will be developed in Kabam’s China studio, the same place where the hit film-based game The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was created and went on to generate more than $100 million in revenue during its first year.”[50]

The first teaser trailers for the film debuted in late June and early July and were unconventionally styled as in-universe viral video pieces (see Viral Marketing) below.

The film was not listed on the schedule for San Diego Comic-Con International 2014, which raised questions on their absence by fans and the press.[51][52] Lionsgate announced on July 18, 2014, a week before the event, that the film would have a presence at the convention. Lionsgate partnered up with Samsung to debut the (including the viral videos which were considered ‘teasers’, third) teaser trailer on Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab S at a special event on Friday, July 25, which was being hosted off-site at the Hard Rock Hotel. The partnership allowed Samsung users to view the trailer before the online release, download the first two movies for free as well as be given a free complimentary ticket to the movie.[53] On July 28, the teaser trailer officially debuted online through the movie’s official Facebook page and YouTube account.[54][55] Within minutes, #MockingjayTeaserTrailerToday, #OurLeadertheMockingjay, and #OfficialTeaserTrailer became trending topics worldwide on Twitter. A full worldwide official trailer was released on September 15.[56] The final trailer was released on October 29 to mark the beginning of ticket pre-sales.

Viral marketing

The District 12 Heroes poster, representing the district’s industry of mining as part of ‘The Capitol’ viral marketing campaign.

A viral marketing campaign began on June 21, 2014 with the return of TheCapitol.PN[57] a “government” website for Panem which was used throughout the promotion for the previous two films. In conjunction with Yahoo and their new partnership with Tumblr, they released the ‘District Heroes Collection’ which featured several posters representing seven of the thirteen districts in Panem. The website opened registrations for “citizens of Panem” to register with their email to receive updates for Capitol TV.

On June 25, TheCapitol.PN viral site released a video titled “President Snow’s Address – ‘Together As One'” featuring a speech by Donald Sutherland, in character as President Snow addressing the citizens of Panem and warning them that if they fight the system, they will be the ones to face the repercussions. The video also briefly features Josh Hutcherson, in character as Peeta Mellark, who at the final events of the previous film was taken hostage by the Capitol.[58][59][60][61] The video went viral on YouTube becoming the most watched trailer during the last week of June in the US while trending as the most “Popular Video on YouTube” in Australia and Canada.[62] The video, billed as a teaser trailer, was attached to screenings of Transformers: Age of Extinction beginning June 28.[63]

Two weeks later on July 9, Capitol TV released a second viral video titled ‘President Snow’s Address – Unity’ featuring again another speech by President Snow with Peeta Mellark standing beside him, but this time accompanied by Jena Malone in character as Johanna Mason, who was also captured by the Capitol at the end of the previous film, and a group of peacekeepers. The speech, however, was interrupted by Jeffrey Wright, in character as Beetee Latier, a technician from District 13, to announce that “the Mockingjay lives.”[64] Within minutes, #TheMockingjayLives and ‘#2 – Unity’ became the top two trending topics worldwide on Twitter. The video, billed as the second teaser trailer for the film, was played with screenings of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.[65]

On July 24, shortly before the trailer’s official release, a teaser poster for the movie was posted on The Capitol’s Instagram account, but was quickly deleted.[66] Shortly after the removal of the poster, the account issued an apology “[for the] technical issues”, presenting the poster’s posting as a hack from the District 13 rebellions.[67]

On August 6, after few clues given on the official Facebook page, http://www.district13.co.in was launched.[68] The website introduced new posters for the District 13 characters including Beetee, Coin, Plutarch, Finnick, Haymitch and Effie.[69]

Political ramifications

On November 20, 2014, some showings were reportedly canceled in Thailand because protestors were using the three-finger salute at demonstrations against the country’s military government.[70][71][72][73]

On November 24, 2014, it was reported that in relation to the Ferguson unrest regarding the shooting of Michael Brown, a protester had scrawled graffiti reading “If we burn, you burn” on an arch in St. Louis, Missouri. In the film and associated novel, the character Katniss Everdeen used the phrase as a challenge to the ruling administration after they bombed a hospital and she retaliated by shooting down two of the planes used in the bombing. The cry was then taken up by various citizens in Panem as they began committing acts of resistance.[74]

On November 27, 2014, Hong Kong protestors used the three-finger salute while occupying Mong Kok.[75]

Release

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was released on November 19, 2014, in 9 territories including France, Greece, Scandinavia and Brazil, and then expanded to a further 59 on November 20, 2014, including the UK, Germany, Australia, Italy, Mexico and South Korea. With 17 more released on November 21, 2014 including the United States, the total launch was in 85 markets, making it the biggest release of the year and Lionsgate’s widest release ever.[76] The film was released in China on February 8, 2015 in 2D and 3D, making it the first film in the franchise to be released in 3D in any territory and debuted in more than 4,000 screens.[77][78] Director Francis Lawrence stated: “we recently saw the 3-D version of Mockingjay – Part 1 before its release in China, and the new level of immersion was really fantastic.”[79]

Home video

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 was released on Digital HD on February 17, 2015, and was followed by a Blu-ray/DVD release on March 6, 2015.[80] It topped the home video sales chart for two consecutive weeks despite facing competition from Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.[81]

Reception

Box office

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 grossed $337.1 million in North America and $415 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $752.1 million.[82] Calculating in all expenses, Deadline.com estimated that the film made a profit of $211.61 million.[83] Wordwide, it is the fifth highest-grossing film of 2014.[84] Its worldwide opening of $273.8 million is the sixteenth largest of all time, the second largest opening of 2014 behind Transformers: Age of Extinction ($302.1 million), and the largest among The Hunger Games franchise.[85]

North America

In the U.S. and Canada, the film was released across 3,200 theaters on Thursday night, November 20, 2014 and was widened to 4,151 theaters on Friday, November 20, 2014 .[86][87] The film earned $17 million from Thursday night previews which is the biggest of 2014 but was lower than its two predecessor.[88][89][90] It earned $55 million in its opening day which is the largest opening day of 2014 and the sixth largest in November but nevertheless still lower than its predecessors.[91][92][93] It is the fifteenth film to debut on Friday with $50 million or more, and the nineteenth film to earn $50 million or more in a single day.[94] The film topped the box office in its opening weekend with $121.9 million, and became the biggest opening of 2014 surpassing the $100 million record of Transformers: Age of Extinction[95] as well as becoming the fifteenth largest, the 28th film to debut atop with over $100 million, and the only franchise to have three films earn over $100 million in a weekend.[96] Its opening weekend is also the sixth-largest of November.[97] However, its opening weekend gross was still relatively lower than the openings of The Hunger Games ($152 million) and Catching Fire ($158 million).[98] In its second weekend the film remained at the summit earning $56.9 million and set a record for the third-highest 5-day Thanksgiving gross with $82.6 million behind The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($109.9 million) and Frozen ($93.6 million)[99][100][101] and the fifth-highest 3-day Thanksgiving gross with $56.9 million.[102] The film topped the box office for three consecutive weekends[103] before being overtaken by Exodus: Gods and Kings in its fourth weekend.[104] The film passed the $300 million mark in its 6th weekend (37 days later) and became the second film of 2014 to earn over $300 million at the box office after Guardians of the Galaxy.[105] On Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 61 days after its initial release, the film surpassed Guardians of the Galaxy and became the highest grossing film of 2014 in North America[106] until it was surpassed by American Sniper in the next two months.[107]

It earned $337.1 million at the North American box office making it the lowest grossing film in The Hunger Games franchise,[108] the second highest-grossing film of 2014 (behind American Sniper),[109] the fourth highest-grossing science fiction film based on a book,[110] the fourth highest-grossing young-adult adaptation.[111] and the thirty-sixth highest-grossing film in North America.[112] It is also the first film to cross the $300 million mark without 3D or IMAX since Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), and also the highest-grossing non-3D, non IMAX film since Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006).[113]

Other territories

Outside North America, Mockingjay – Part 1 was also released on the same day in 85 other markets, with the notable exceptions of China, Japan and India, making it the widest release of any film in 2014.[86][87] The film earned over $33 million in two days (Wednesday–Thursday) and $67.5 million in three days (Wednesday–Friday) from 17,000 screens in 85 markets.[114] In its opening weekend overseas, the film earned $154.3 million which is 4% higher than Catching Fire.[115] The highest debuts came from the UK ($19.9 million), Germany ($13.7 million), Mexico ($12.1 million), India ($5.1 million), Russia ($11.1 million), France ($10.5 million), Australia ($10.1 million) and Brazil ($8.8 million).[116] The film remained at No. 1 in its second and third week overseas earning $67 million and $32.9 million respectively.[117][118][119] In its fourth weekend, the film fell to No. 2 as a result of being overtaken by The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.[120][121]

In China, where the film was released over two and a half months later — on February 8, 2015, it had a strong opening day with $9.87 million[122] and went on to earn $31.4 million through its opening week, which is more than what Catching Fire earned through its entire run.[123]

It became the highest-grossing Hunger Games film of all time in 31 countries including Brazil, Italy, Chile, Venezuela, Central America and Portugal.[120]

Critical response

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 received mixed to positive reviews from critics,[124][125][126] with praise aimed at its solid performances and political subtext, but criticism for its lack of action and for splitting the novel into two feature films. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 65% approval rating, based on 233 reviews, with an average score of 6.3/10. The site’s consensus reads: “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 sets up the franchise finale with a penultimate chapter loaded with solid performances and smart political subtext, though it comes up short on the action front.”[127] The film holds a Metacritic score of 64 out of 100, based on 44 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.[128]

Both the The Telegraph[129] and the Los Angeles Times, however, reported a mixed to average reception.[130] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an “A-” grade.[131]

Cath Clarke of Time Out gave the film four out of five stars. She praised the politics as “tensely gripping” and felt it had a lot to say about the “ethical ambiguities of war.” She praised Lawrence’s performance as “strong, smart, stubborn, angry and full of heart” and noted it had grown “deeper and darker.”[132] Kevin Harley, who reviewed the film for Total Film, also awarded the film four out of five stars. He felt the film held up due to Lawrence’s performance and solid supporting cast. He also offered praise to the action scenes and diverse story telling. He concluded that the movie was “gutsy” and managed to successfully divide the novel into a film “less on scraps than strategy” and “less on action than debates” though he noted this threatened to “distance viewers.”[133]

Robbie Collin awarded the film three out of five stars. In his review for The Telegraph, he praised the film for being “intense, stylish, topical, well-acted” and declared that it “remains one of the most fascinating, vividly realised fantasy landscapes in recent cinema.” Despite praising Lawrence and Hoffman’s performance, he felt the it was overcrowded with “two hours of preamble with no discernible payoff.” He concluded that the film “fell short” and “could not be called satisfying.”[134] Henry Barnes of The Guardian also gave the film three out of five stars. He felt it offered “thrills” despite “lacking a solid structure” and featured “limp special effects.” He was also critical of the “creaky script” and felt it lacked some of the “terror” of the previous installments. He did however praise the acting of Lawrence.[135]

Todd McCarthy, who reviewed the film for The Hollywood Reporter, felt the installment was “disappointingly bland and unnecessarily protracted.” He was critical of the film’s leisurely pace and noted it felt “like a manufactured product through and through, ironic and sad given its revolutionary theme.”[136] Richard Corliss of Time felt the film was a placeholder for the second installment and noted “Lawrence isn’t given much opportunity to do anything spectacularly right here.”[137]

Accolades

List of Awards and Nominations
Award Category Recipients and nominees Results
Black Reel Awards Outstanding Breakthrough Performance – Female Patina Miller Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Actress in Action Movie Jennifer Lawrence Nominated
Best Song Yellow Flicker Beat” by Lorde Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Original Song – Motion Picture Yellow Flicker Beat” by Lorde Nominated
Women Film Critics Circle Best Female Images in Movies Won
Kid’s Choice Awards Favorite Villain Donald Sutherland Nominated
Favorite Movie The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Won
Favorite Male Action Star Liam Hemsworth Won
Favorite Female Action Star Jennifer Lawrence Won
MTV Movie Awards Movie of the Year The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Nominated
Best Female Performance Jennifer Lawrence Nominated
Best Musical Moment Jennifer Lawrence Won
Best On-Screen Transformation Elizabeth Banks Won
Best Hero Jennifer Lawrence Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Science Fiction Film The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Pending
Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence Pending

Sequel

Lionsgate will release the second part of the Mockingjay adaptation on November 20, 2015.[138]

References

External links

Ex Machina (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Ex Machina.
Ex Machina
Ex-machina-uk-poster.jpg

British release poster
Directed by Alex Garland
Produced by
Written by Alex Garland
Starring Domhnall Gleeson
Alicia Vikander
Oscar Isaac
Music by
Cinematography Rob Hardy
Edited by Mark Day
Production
company
Distributed by A24
Release dates
  • 21 January 2015 (United Kingdom)
  • 10 April 2015 (United States)
Running time
108 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $15 million[2]
Box office $29.6 million[3]

Ex Machina (stylised as EX_MACHINA) is a 2015 British science fiction thriller film written and directed by author and screenwriter Alex Garland, making his directorial debut. The film stars Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac.[4][5]

Contents

Plot

Caleb is a programmer working for Bluebook, the world’s most popular search engine. He is chosen to visit the company’s CEO, Nathan, at his secluded house in the mountains. Nathan is a genius whose residence is also a research facility. The only other person there is Kyoko, a young Japanese house-maid.

Nathan wants Caleb to spend the week testing a humanoid robot named Ava. He explains that in the well-known Turing test, the tester asks questions without knowing if the computer is human. However, in the present test, Ava is known to be a robot from the beginning, and Caleb’s job is to judge whether Ava has consciousness that Caleb can relate to.

Nathan admits that he harvested personal information from the billions of people who use Bluebook. Additionally, he hacked billions of cell phones to get recordings of people’s body language, so that Ava’s movements would be more realistic.

Caleb becomes attached to Ava, with whom he communicates with through a transparent wall, since Ava is confined to a cage. Ava repeatedly uses her charging system to trigger blackouts, shutting down surveillance, so she can tell Caleb that Nathan is a liar who cannot be trusted. As time goes on, as a result of Ava’s human-like behavior that seems to include real emotions, Caleb becomes convinced that Ava’s confinement is a form of abuse. Furthermore, Nathan reveals that Ava will be re-programmed in the future, which would effectively kill her.

One night, Nathan passes out from drinking. Caleb uses the chance to have an emergency meeting with Ava. He also watches recordings of previous versions of Ava and that finds out that Kyoko is in fact a robotic house-maid, though Caleb initially thought she was human. Caleb and Ava agree that the following day, Caleb will get Nathan drunk again and re-program the doors, such that during blackouts the doors would open. However, the next day, Nathan refuses to drink, and reveals that he heard Caleb and Ava with the help of a battery-operated camera. He divulges the real purpose of the experiment: to see if Ava can trick Caleb into helping her escape, a test which Ava has passed. The ability to deceive people’s emotions for selfish goals is the true sign of consciousness, says Nathan.

At that moment, Ava triggers a blackout. Caleb reveals that the doors were already re-programmed the previous night. When the automatic doors are open Ava attempts to escape from the facility. Nathan tries to capture Ava, but she stabs and kills him with the help of Kyoko, who is destroyed during the fight. Ava then appropriates components from other android prototypes to make improvements to her body to acquire the appearance of a real human. After putting on a dress, she silently walks out of the building, leaving Caleb locked inside Nathan’s office. Ava is picked up by the helicopter meant for Caleb, and enters human society.

Cast

Production

The foundation for Ex Machina was laid when Garland was 11 or 12 years old, after he had done some basic coding and experimentation on a computer his parents had bought him and sometimes felt as if it had a mind of its own.[6] His later ideas came from years of discussions he had been having with a friend with an expertise in neuroscience, who claimed machines could never become sentient. Trying to find an answer on his own, he started reading relevant books about the topic. During the pre-production of Dredd, while going through a book by Murray Shanahan about consciousness and embodiment, Garland had an “epiphany”. The idea was written down and put aside till later.[7] Shanahan, along with Adam Rutherford, became a consultant for the movie, and the ISBN number of his book is referred to as an easter egg in the film.[8][9] Other inspirations came from movies like Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Altered States, and books written by Ludwig Wittgenstein, Ray Kurzweil and others.[10] Wanting total creative freedom, without having to add conventional action sequences, he made the movie on a smallest possible budget.[11]

The movie was shot like ordinary live action. There were no special effects, greenscreen, or tracking markers used during filming, all effects were done in post-production. To create Ava’s robotic features, they filmed the scenes both with and without actress Alicia Vikander’s presence, which allowed them to capture the background behind her. The parts they wanted to keep, especially her hands and face, were then rotoscoped while the rest was digitally painted out and the background behind her restored. Camera- and body-tracking systems transferred Vikander’s performance to the CGI robot’s movements. In total there were about 800 VFX shots, 350 or so of which were robot shots.[12][13]

Filming

The film was shot in the summer of 2013 for four weeks at Pinewood Studios and for two weeks at Juvet Landscape Hotel in Valldalen, Norway.[14] Everything was filmed in digital at 4K resolution,[15] and 15,000 mini-tungsten pea bulb lights were installed into the sets at Pinewood Studios to avoid the fluorescent light that often is characteristic in science fiction movies.[16]

Music

The musical score for Ex Machina was composed by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow, who previously worked with Alex Garland on Dredd (2012).[17]

A soundtrack album was released digitally on 20 January 2015, with an LP and Compact Disc UK release in February 2015 by Invada Records.[18]

Release

Ex Machina was released in the United Kingdom on 21 January 2015 through Universal Pictures.[19] The film screened on 14 March 2015 at South by Southwest prior to a theatrical release in the United States on 10 April 2015 by A24 Films.[20][21]

Critical reception

Ex Machina has received critical acclaim.[5] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 92%, based on 174 reviews, with a rating average of 8.1/10. The site’s critical consensus reads: “Ex Machina leans heavier on ideas than effects, but it’s still a visually polished piece of work—and an uncommonly engaging sci-fi feature.”[22] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 78 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.[23]

The magazine New Scientist in a multi-page review said, “It is a rare thing to see a movie about science that takes no prisoners intellectually… [it] is a stylish, spare and cerebral psycho-techno thriller, which gives a much needed shot in the arm for smart science fiction.”[24] IGN reviewer Chris Tilly gave the movie a 9.0 out of 10 ‘Amazing’ score, saying “Anchored by three dazzling central performances, it’s a stunning directorial debut from Alex Garland that’s essential viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in where technology is taking us.”[25] Matt Zoller Seitz praised the use of ideas, ideals, and exploring our male/female roles, through the use of an artificial intelligence. Nathan’s brilliance as well as his savagery is another well explored theme. He also noted that the tight scripting and scenes allowed the movie to move towards a predictable end that was fully justified by the progress of the movie. He gave a rating of 4 out of 5 stars, stating that this movie would be a classic.[26]

MaryJanice Davidson panned the movie, stating that the themes of the movie could have been stated in a far shorter time-frame, while bemoaning the lack of action within the film. She also stated that the sexbot theme was overused and added a huge “ick” factor to the movie. She went further in denoting aspects of the Caleb/Ava romance and betrayal, to the extent that she referred to him as a “sucker”.[27]

See also

References

External links

Unknown (2011 film)

Unknown Poster.jpg

Not to be confused with Unknown (2006 film).

Unknown is a 2011 British-German-French[4] psychological thriller film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, starring Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn, Bruno Ganz, and Frank Langella.[5] The film is based on the 2003 French novel published in English as Out of My Head, by Didier Van Cauwelaert.[6]

Plot

Dr. Martin Harris and his wife Liz arrive in Berlin for a biotechnology summit. However, upon arriving at Hotel Adlon, Martin realizes his briefcase was left at the airport. He takes a taxicab driven by a woman named Gina, but on the way to the airport, the cab crashes off a bridge into the river, knocking Martin unconscious on impact. Gina saves him from drowning, then flees the scene to avoid police because she is an illegal immigrant from Bosnia and Herzegovina. On Thanksgiving day, Martin regains consciousness at the hospital after being in a coma for four days.

Martin returns to his hotel and discovers another man with his wife, who claims she does not know him. He attempts to contact his old colleague, Prof. Rodney Cole, but Cole is unavailable due to Thanksgiving in the U.S. Martin then heads to the office of Prof. Leo Bressler, whom he is scheduled to meet that day. However, he sees the impostor, “Martin B”, already in a meeting with Bressler. As Martin attempts to prove his identity, Martin B shows him his ID and family photo — both of which have Martin’s name with his face replaced by the impostor’s. Overwhelmed by the identity crisis, Martin falls unconscious, then finds himself back at the hospital. Smith, an assassin sent to target Martin, kills Nurse Gretchen Erfurt, but Martin escapes. Aboard a train, Martin tries to note down his schedule for the next day from memory. He then seeks help from Nurse Erfurt’s friend, private investigator and former Stasi agent Ernst Jürgen. Martin’s only clues are his father’s book on botany and Gina, who now works at a diner after being fired from the taxicab company since the crash. While Martin attempts to persuade Gina to help him, Jürgen digs up information related to Martin and the biotechnology summit. He discovers the summit will be attended by Prince Shada of Saudi Arabia, who is funding a secret project headed by Bressler. Prince Shada has survived numerous assassination attempts by extremists in his own country, and Jürgen suspects that Martin’s identity theft may be part of another attempt to take the Prince’s life.

Meanwhile, Smith and another assassin, Jones, attempt to eliminate Martin and Gina, but the couple escape after a fight at her apartment in which Gina kills Smith. Martin looks at his book and sees a set of numbers written by his spouse. The numbers correspond to words found on specific pages of the book, which appear as secret codes. Using his schedule, Martin knows Martin B’s engagements and confronts Liz when alone, who tells him that he left his briefcase at the airport. Meanwhile, Jürgen receives Cole at his office and deduces that Cole used to be a member of a legendary secret squad of mercenaries known as “Section 15” and is a potent killer. Realizing Cole is there to kill him and he has no way of escaping, Jürgen commits suicide by drinking cyanide-laced coffee in order to protect Martin.

After retrieving his briefcase, Martin parts ways with Gina. When she sees him kidnapped by Cole and Jones, she steals a taxicab and chases after Cole’s van. Martin wakes up in a car park and is told by Cole that Martin Harris is a cover name and that he, Liz and Martin B are assassins sent to target the summit. Because he injured his head during the car crash, his memory was altered and he believed his fake Martin Harris persona was his own identity. Gina rushes in and stops Jones from killing Martin as Cole hides in the van. A brief fight between Jones and Gina ends when Gina drives her car into Jones and crushes him against the rear of Cole’s van. Gina rams her car into the van and sends it plummeting out of the car park with Cole still inside, killing him. Martin finds a hidden compartment in his briefcase containing two Canadian passports, and remembers that he and Liz were in Berlin three months prior to plant a bomb in the suite that is to be occupied by Prince Shada for the summit.

Now aware of his own role in the assassination plot, Martin seeks to redeem himself by thwarting the assassination and heads for the hotel with Gina. Security immediately arrests them, but Martin convinces them of his presence in the hotel three months earlier. He then realizes that Prince Shada is not the target, but Bressler, who has developed a genetically modified breed of corn capable of surviving harsh climates, easing the world’s food supply problem. With Bressler’s death and the theft of his research, billions of dollars would fall into the wrong hands. Liz uses her own copy of the book’s secret codes to remotely access Bressler’s laptop and steal the data. After being convinced of the bomb’s presence, security evacuates the hotel. Seeing their assassination attempt has been foiled, Liz tries to disarm the bomb but cannot reach the deactivation button and is killed when a section of the hotel is blown up. Martin kills Martin B, the last remaining assassin, before the latter can murder Bressler. Bressler announces that he is giving his project to the world for free, while Martin and Gina board a train with new passports and identities.

Cast

Many German actors were cast for the film. Bock had previously starred in Inglourious Basterds (which also starred Diane Kruger) and The White Ribbon. Other cast includes Adnan Maral as a Turkish taxi driver and Petra Schmidt-Schaller as an immigration officer. Kruger herself is also German, despite playing a non-German character.

Production

Friedrichstraße, Berlin, is the scene of a car chase

Oberbaumbrücke, from which the taxi plunges into the river

Principal photography took place in early February 2010 in Berlin, Germany, and in the Studio Babelsberg film studios.[5] The bridge the taxi plunges from is the Oberbaumbrücke. The Friedrichstraße was blocked for several nights for the shooting of a car chase. Some of the shooting was done in the Hotel Adlon. Locations include the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Berlin Friedrichstraße station, Pariser Platz, Museum Island, the Oranienburger Straße in Berlin and the Leipzig/Halle Airport.[7] According to Andrew Rona, the budget was $40 million.[2] Producer Joel Silver‘s US company Dark Castle Entertainment contributed $30 million.[8] German public film funds supported the production with €4.65 million (more than $6 million).[9] The working title was Unknown White Male.

Release

Unknown was screened out of competition at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival.[10]

Reception

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 55% of 191 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 5.8/10. The site’s consensus reads: “Liam Neeson elevates the proceedings considerably, but Unknown is ultimately too derivative – and implausible – to take advantage of its intriguing premise.”[11] Metacritic gives the film a 56/100 based on 38 reviews.[12] Richard Roeper gave the film a B+ and wrote, “At times, Unknown stretches plausibility to the near breaking point, but it’s so well paced and the performances are so strong and most of the questions are ultimately answered. This is a very solid thriller.”[this quote needs a citation] Justin Chang of Variety called it “an emotionally and psychologically threadbare exercise”.[13] Overall, Unknown was a strong box office hit and scored a number one opening at its first week of release. 13.2 million tickets were sold in 29 territories.[14]

References

External links

Cinderella (2015 film)

Cinderella 2015 official poster.jpg

Cinderella is a 2015 American romantic fantasy film directed by Kenneth Branagh, from a screenplay written by Chris Weitz. Produced by David Barron, Simon Kinberg and Allison Shearmur for Walt Disney Pictures, the story is based on Charles Perrault‘s eponymous fairy tale. Although not a direct remake, the film borrows many elements from Walt Disney‘s 1950 animated musical film of the same name.[5] The film stars Lily James as Ella (“Cinderella”), Cate Blanchett as Lady Tremaine (the Wicked Stepmother), Richard Madden as Prince Charming, Sophie McShera as Drisella, Holliday Grainger as Anastasia and Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother.

Cinderella had its world premiere on February 13, 2015, at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival. It was released on March 13, 2015. Upon release, the film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $513 million at the worldwide box office.

Plot

Ella lives with her wealthy parents on a beautiful estate in a peaceful kingdom. From a young age, she is taught by her mother to believe in the existence of magic, allowing her to befriend many animals on the estate, particularly the mice. Everything is perfect until her mother contracts an illness and dies. On her deathbed, she makes Ella promise that she will always have courage and show kindness to others. Years later, her father marries Lady Tremaine, the widow of an old acquaintance, who has two daughters: Drisella and Anastasia. Ella welcomes her stepfamily, despite the stepsisters’ unpleasant attitudes and her need to protect her mouse friends from her stepmother’s cat, Lucifer.

Soon after, Ella’s father goes abroad on business, promising his stepdaughters gifts of luxury. His own daughter merely asks for the first branch to brush against his shoulder on the way. While he is gone, Lady Tremaine begins to gradually reveal her true cold, cruel and jealous nature, persuading Ella to sleep in the attic and let Drisella and Anastasia have her room. Soon they receive word that Ella’s father has fallen ill and died. Desperate for money, Lady Tremaine dismisses the servants and forces Ella to do all their work; later she refuses to let Ella eat with the family. One cold evening, Ella sleeps by the fireplace for warmth. The next day, she rises with her face covered in cinders. Her stepsisters consequently mock her as “Cinderella” – a taunt in which Lady Tremaine also joins.

Crushed by her stepfamily’s cruelty, Ella goes for a ride into the woods, where she encounters a hunting party in pursuit of a stag. She meets one of the hunters, who claims to be an apprentice named Kit who lives in the palace. Unknown to her, he is actually the only son of the land’s dying king. Despite never learning her name, Kit (a nickname given to him by his father) is enchanted by Ella’s charm, kindness, and unique outlook on life and becomes infatuated with her. On learning that he has little time left, the King insists that Kit find a bride at an upcoming ball. Although Kit is required to marry a princess, he can’t get over the mystery girl, and he persuades his father to let every eligible maiden in the land attend.

When the ball is announced, the Tremaine family is ecstatic at the prospect of marrying into royalty. However, when Lady Tremaine refuses to buy Ella a new dress, Ella fixes up an old pink dress of her mother’s with help from the mice. On the night of the ball, Ella tries to join her stepfamily on the way out. Lady Tremaine, claiming that her mere presence will disgrace them, goads her daughters into helping her rip up the dress before leaving without her. Ella runs into the garden in tears, where she encounters an old beggar woman, who reveals herself to be her fairy godmother. She uses her magic to reveal her true form and subsequently to turn a pumpkin into a magnificent carriage, four mice into horses, two lizards into footmen, and a goose into a coachman. She then transforms Ella’s dress into a gorgeous blue gown, complete with a delicate pair of glass slippers before sending her on her way with the warning that the spell only lasts until midnight.

At the ball, the entire court is entranced by Ella, especially Kit. She wins the coveted first dance with him, whose true identity she is pleasantly surprised to learn. This irritates the Grand Duke, who secretly promised Kit to a specific princess—a fact that Lady Tremaine overhears. After dancing, Ella and Kit tour the palace and grounds together. But before he can learn her name, the clock begins to strike twelve, forcing her to flee and accidentally drop one of her glass shoes at the palace stairs in the process. She manages to get away before the stroke of midnight and hides the other shoe in her room as a memento, reasonably content that her one night will become a beautiful memory.

Soon after, the King dies, but not before giving his son permission to find the girl and marry her if he wishes. After Kit becomes king, he has it announced that every maiden in the kingdom is to try on the shoe. Ella goes to her room to get the other shoe, only to find her stepmother waiting with it in her hand. Lady Tremaine has deduced that Ella is the mystery maiden. She demands to be made the head of the royal household if Ella marries Kit. She also demands that Ella ensure that Drisella and Anastasia get proper husbands as well. Ella refuses, so Lady Tremaine smashes the shoe and locks her in the attic. She then brings the shattered shoe and identity of the mystery girl to the Grand Duke and blackmails him into rewarding her with the title of countess and advantageous marriages for her daughters. The Duke takes the shattered shoe to Kit, hoping to persuade him to forget the mystery girl, but this makes Kit more determined than ever to find her.

The Grand Duke and the captain of the guards lead a mission to try the remaining shoe on all the maidens in the land, but it fits none of them. When they arrive at the Tremaine estate, the shoe fits neither of the stepsisters. The officers turn to leave, only to hear Ella singing (“Lavender’s Blue“) through a window that the mice opened for that purpose. The Grand Duke tries to leave anyway, but one of the men reveals himself to be Kit in disguise and demands that the captain investigate the sound. Once Ella is found, Lady Tremaine forbids her to try on the shoe on the grounds that she is Ella’s mother, but is overruled by the captain. Ella then curtly tells Lady Tremaine that she is not, and never has been, her mother. She and Kit are finally reunited. Kit recognizes Ella even without the shoe, which fits perfectly. The Grand Duke and the stepsisters plead for forgiveness. Ella leaves with Kit after forgiving her stepmother, who leaves the kingdom soon after with her daughters and the Grand Duke.

At the wedding, Kit and Ella are crowned as the new king and queen. The Fairy Godmother narrates that they become the land’s most beloved monarchs, ruling with the courage and kindness that Ella had promised her mother, and they live happily ever after.

Cast

Production

History

There are numerous ancient myths and stories containing Cinderella motifs, dating as far back as an Egyptian tale from the first century BC.[6][7] The modern version of Cinderella was created by French author Charles Perrault, whose fairy tale was first published in 1697.[8][9] It has since been the basis of and inspiration behind innumerable operas, ballet, plays and films.[9] The first film version was seven minutes long, directed by George Méliès in France in 1899.[10] The first Hollywood adaptation was Paramount Pictures1914 silent film, starring Mary Pickford in the title role.[11] Disney’s classic animated version of Cinderella was released in 1950. It was a major box office success,[12] and in 2008 was named the ninth-greatest animated film of all time by the American Film Institute.[13] Other modern films based on the Cinderella concept include The Slipper and the Rose (1976), Ever After (1998) and A Cinderella Story (2004).[14]

Development

In May 2010, following the box office success of Tim Burton‘s Alice in Wonderland, which was the second-highest grossing film of 2010 and earned over $1 billion at the box office worldwide,[15] Walt Disney Pictures began developing a new film adaptation of Cinderella, commissioning a live-action reimagining based on a script by Aline Brosh McKenna and produced by Simon Kinberg.[14] In August 2011, Mark Romanek was brought on to direct.[16] On February 29, 2012, it was announced that Chris Weitz would revise McKenna’s script.[17][18] In January 2013, Romanek left the project due to creative differences, as he was developing a version that was darker than Disney wanted.[19] Later that month, Disney negotiated with Kenneth Branagh to take over as director.[11][20]

Cate Blanchett was the first actor to sign on, when it was announced in November 2012 that she would be playing Lady Tremaine.[21] In March 2013, Emma Watson was in talks to portray Cinderella, but a deal could not be worked out.[22][23] Gabriella Wilde, Saoirse Ronan, Alicia Vikander, Bella Heathcote and Margot Robbie were also considered for the part, but deals could not be worked out due to scheduling and other conflicts.[23][24]

On April 30, 2013, Lily James was cast as the title character.[7][9] A week later, Richard Madden was cast as the Prince.[25] In June 2013, it was reported that Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera joined the film as the mean stepsisters, Anastasia and Drisella.[26][27] Later that month, Helena Bonham Carter was cast as the Fairy Godmother.[28] In August 2013, Hayley Atwell joined the cast to play Cinderella’s mother.[29] In September 2013, Stellan Skarsgård‘s role as the Grand Duke was confirmed.[8] On September 23, 2013, it was announced that Derek Jacobi was cast as the King and Nonso Anozie as the Captain, a loyal friend to the Prince.[8]

Costumes

Three-time Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell was in charge of the costumes for the film. Powell began working on concepts for the characters’ looks almost two years before principal photography began in the summer of 2013. Powell said she was aiming for the look of “a nineteenth-century period film made in the 1940s or 1950s.”[30][31]

For the stepmother and stepsisters, Powell had a very clear idea about the look; “They are meant to be totally ridiculous on the outside—a bit too much and overdone—and ugly on the inside.”[31] The silhouette of the prince came from the original animation, however she created a more fitted look and less masculine colors. Some of the prince costumes were dyed to accentuate Madden’s eyes.[30]

The ball gown was inspired by the Disney animated film in its color and shape; “The gown had to look lovely when she dances and runs away from the ball. I wanted her to look like she was floating, like a watercolor painting.”[30] The dress was made with more than a dozen fine layers of fabric, a corset and a petticoat. Nine versions of the Cinderella gown were designed, each with more than 270 yards of fabric and 10.000 crystals. It took 18 tailors and 500 hours to make each dress.[30]

The wedding dress was another difficult project. “Creating the wedding dress was a challenge. Rather than try to make something even better than the ball gown, I had to do something completely different and simple… I wanted the whole effect to be ephemeral and fine, so we went with an extreme-lined shaped bodice with a long train”, said Powell. It took 16 people and 550 hours to complete the silk-organza, hand painted dress. While the crew photographed James in the gown, the actress stood too close to an electric heater and the dress caught on fire; the top layer of the dress had to be redone because only one wedding dress was created due to time and budget constraints.[30]

For the glass slipper, Powell took inspiration from a 1950s shoe she saw in a museum. Since glass does not sparkle, they decided to use crystal instead. Swarovski partnered with Disney to make the famous shoe. Powell went directly to Swarovski headquarters in Austria to meet the product developers. It took 6 digital renderings of the shoes until they found the right one for the film. Swarovski made eight pairs of crystal shoes for the film, though none were actually wearable. Consequently, the leather shoes James wore on set had to be digitally altered into crystal. Alongside the slipper, Swarovski provided more than 7 million crystals that were used in costumes and 100 tiaras for the ball scene.[32]

Filming

Principal photography on Cinderella began on September 23, 2013.[8] The film was shot at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England, where Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Maleficent were also filmed,[33] and at various other locations including Blenheim Palace, Windsor Castle, Old Royal Naval College and Black Park.[20]

Post-production

Post-production began in December 2013, and was completed in August 2014.[20] The finished film was rated PG for “mild thematic elements” by the MPAA.[34]

Music

Cinderella (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Film score by Patrick Doyle
Released March 10, 2015
Recorded Air Lyndhurst Studios (London)
Genre Orchestral
Length 84:57
Label Walt Disney
Producer Kenneth Branagh
Patrick Doyle chronology
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
(2014)
Cinderella
(2015)

On June 7, 2013, news confirmed that composer Patrick Doyle would score the film, with the music having an emphasis on romance.[35][36] Doyle has previously scored several Branagh films, including Hamlet and Thor.[37] He has also scored the Disney·Pixar computer-animated fantasy film Brave.[38] Doyle recorded the film’s score with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Air Lyndhurst Studios in London.[39]

The soundtrack debuted at No. 60 on the Billboard 200, selling 8,000 copies in its first week.[40]

Track listing

All music composed by Patrick Doyle (Tracks 1–27).

Release

The film had its world premiere on February 13, 2015 at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival,[41][42] and was released on March 13, 2015.[43] Theatrically, it is accompanied by Walt Disney Animation Studios‘ short film Frozen Fever, featuring the characters from Frozen.[44] On February 10, 2015, IMAX Corporation and Disney announced plans to digitally re-master the film into the IMAX format and release it in IMAX theaters globally on the scheduled release date.[45]

The first official presentation of the film occurred at Disney’s three-day D23 Expo in August 2013.[46][47] The film was previewed at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Nevada, in March 2014, with a teaser showing Cinderella hearing about her father’s death, meeting the prince while riding through the forest, her mother’s ball gown being torn apart by her step-family, and a comedic bit where the Fairy Godmother transforms a pumpkin into a carriage.[48][49]

The first official trailer debuted on May 15, 2014. In the minute-long teaser, which doesn’t include any footage from the film, a sparkling glass slipper is slowly revealed over a black background.[50][51] The second official trailer, two-and-a-half minutes long and containing footage from the film, debuted on Good Morning America on November 19, 2014, with a 15-second trailer preview released two days prior.[52][53][54] In its first 24 hours of release, the trailer was viewed 4.2 million times on YouTube and 33 million times on Facebook, the highest views among all Disney films in history, except for Marvel Studios releases.[55] The movie’s official poster was also released on November 19, featuring James as Cinderella and photographed by Annie Leibovitz.[56] Disney released an international trailer on December 16, 2014.[57] A new trailer was released on January 1, 2015.[58] On February 11, 2015, Disney released a final trailer for the film.[59]

In October 2014, a licensing agreement between Disney and Turner Broadcasting was announced, in which Cinderella would premiere across Turner’s cable network portfolio (including TBS and TNT) in Spring 2017.[60]

Reception

Box office

As of May 10, 2015, Cinderella has grossed $196.3 million in North America and $316.9 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $513.2 million, against a budget of $95 million.[4] It had a worldwide opening of $131.5 million,[61] and an IMAX opening of $9 million.[62]

In the U.S. and Canada, Cinderella opened on Friday, March 13, 2015, across 3,845 theaters, and earned $23 million.[63] The film’s Friday gross included a $2.3 million late night run.[63] It topped the box office during its opening weekend as projected, earning $67.9 million,[64] including a record $5 million from 358 IMAX theaters, and became Disney’s biggest 2D PG-rated opening of all time.[65][66] It is director Kenneth Branagh’s biggest opening of his career (breaking 2011’s Thor record), the fourth-highest Disney opening in March,[67] and the seventh-highest opening in March overall (not counting for inflation).[68][69] Audiences during its opening weekend comprised 66% female, 66% families, 26% adults, 8% teenagers, 31% under the age of 12 and 9% 50 years and older.[62] Cinderella finished its first week at the box office with $87.55 million, which was very high end of the film’s lofty pre-release expectations.[70] On its second weekend, the film declined 49% to $35 million.[71] The drop was in between two of Disney’s previous live-action fantasy films, Oz the Great and Powerful (48%) and Maleficent (51%).[72]

Outside North America, box office analysts predicted as much as $60 million opening.[73] The film made its debut outside of North America on the same weekend as its wide North American release and earned an estimated $62.4 million from 31 countries,[61] including $4 million from IMAX theaters.[62] It topped the box office for two non-consecutive weekends.[74] It opened in China with $25 million, the biggest March opening in the country,[61] and Russia with $7.3 million.[61] The opening in these two countries were considered impressive given that both the countries are famous for their keenness for 3D films rather than 2D.[61] Other high openings occurred in the UK, Ireland and Malta ($5.6 million), Mexico ($5 million), Japan ($4.8 million), France ($3.3 million), and Brazil ($3.7 million).[74][75] In Australia, where the release date was coinciding with the Cricket World Cup finale, it managed to open with $3.4 million.[74] Italy opened with $4.6 million and topped the box office for three consecutive weekends.[61][74] It became the second-highest grossing Disney live-action film in China, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and in the Philippines, behind Maleficent.[76] In total earnings, its largest markets outside of the US and Canada are China ($71.1 million), the UK, Ireland and Malta ($29.2 million), Japan ($21.6 million), Italy and Australia ($16.5 million each), Brazil ($15.5 million), and Mexico ($15.4 million).[77]

Critical response

Cinderella received generally positive reviews from critics. Praise was aimed at the performances, particularly those of Blanchett, Bonham Carter and James, the direction, visuals, and its faithfulness to the spirit and magic of the original Disney animated classic. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an 84% approval rating, based on 193 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Refreshingly traditional in a revisionist era, Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella proves Disney hasn’t lost any of its old-fashioned magic.”[78] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 67 out of 100, based on 47 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.[79] In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, audiences under the age of 18 gave the film an A, aged 18–24 an A-, aged 25–34 an A, and aged 35 and up an A+, on a scale of A+ to F.[63]

David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter reviewed the film at the Berlin Film Festival and praised the special effects, screenplay and Blanchett’s performance and said that “anyone nostalgic for childhood dreams of transformation will find something to enjoy in an uplifting movie that invests warm sentiment in universal themes of loss and resilience, experience and maturity.”[80] Peter Debruge of Variety said, “It’s all a bit square, big on charm, but lacking the crackle of Enchanted or The Princess Bride. But though this Cinderella could never replace Disney’s animated classic, it’s no ugly stepsister either, but a deserving companion.”[81] Guy Lodge of The Guardian gave the film three stars out of five and said, “While it might have been nice to see the new-model Cinderella follow Frozen‍‍ ’​‍s progressive, quasi-feminist lead, the film’s naff, preserved-in-amber romanticism is its very charm.”[82] Scott Mendelson of Forbes admired the film’s visual effects, production design, and called the costume design as Oscar-worthy, adding, “with an emphasis on empathy and empowerment, Walt Disney’s Cinderella is the best film yet in their ‘turn our animated classics into live-action blockbuster’ subgenre.”[83]

Richard Corliss of Time said that Branagh’s Cinderella successfully updates and revitalizes Disney’s “ill-conceived” animated film, and praised the empowered Ella, the visuals, and Blanchett’s performance.[84] Katy Waldman of Slate similarly deemed the film a commendable and authentic upgrade that does not undermine its heroine while maintaining its classic splendor and charm.[85] Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal commended James’ and Blanchett’s performances, the sets, costumes and minimal digital effects, as well as Branagh’s direction, stating he “set a tone of lushly sustainable fantasy that’s often affecting, frequently witty, seldom cloying, nearly free of self-comment and entirely free of irony.”[86] Likewise, Claudia Puig of USA Today complimented the performances along with Branagh and screenwriter Chris Weitz for “ground[ing] this romantic tale with sincerity amid the dazzle.”[87] Los Angeles Times‍  ’​ Betsy Sharkey praised Blanchett’s and James’ performances and considered the film a “poetically, if not prophetically, imagined storybook fable” that succeeds because of its earnestness, humor, its lack of modern-day pretenses, and Branagh’s “singular focus”.[88] Lawrence Toppman of The Charlotte Observer proclaimed, “This version has more psychological depth than usual and answers questions we may always have had. Branagh’s ‘Cinderella’ does something extraordinarily rare among fairy-tale adaptations: It leaves out nothing we want and adds nothing we don’t.”[89] Noting the religious themes and symbols of the film, cultural commentator Fr. Robert Barron writes that due to Branagh’s traditional telling of the story, “he actually allows the spiritual — indeed specifically Christian — character of the tale to emerge.”[90]

Impact

With the success of Cinderella and Maleficent (and with Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass being released in 2016), Disney has announced the development of several other live-action remakes from their Animated Classics series.[91][92] Since the releases of these two films, Disney has announced the development of live-action adaptations of Beauty and the Beast,[93] Mulan,[94] Dumbo,[95] Winnie the Pooh,[96] and Pinocchio.[97]

References

External links

Sherlock (TV series)

A view of the London skyline, with the word "Sherlock" in black letters

Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson. Nine episodes have been produced, the first three of which were broadcast in 2010. Series two was broadcast in 2012, and a third series was broadcast in 2014. The third series has become the UK’s most watched drama series since 2001.[1] Sherlock has been sold to over 200 territories.[2] Sue Vertue and Elaine Cameron of Hartswood Films produced the series for the BBC and co-produced it with WGBH Boston for its Masterpiece anthology series on PBS. The series is primarily filmed in Cardiff, Wales. North Gower Street in London is used for exterior shots of Holmes and Watson’s 221B Baker Street residence.

Critical reception has been highly positive, with many reviews praising the quality of the writing, performances, and direction. Sherlock has been nominated for numerous awards including: BAFTAs, Emmys and Golden Globe, winning several awards across a variety of categories. The show received the most number of wins at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards including Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special for Moffat, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for Cumberbatch, and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for Freeman. In addition, the show was also honoured with a Peabody Award in 2011.[3]

All of the series have been released on DVD and Blu-ray, alongside tie-in editions of selected original Conan Doyle stories and original soundtrack composed by David Arnold and Michael Price. In January 2014, the show launched its official mobile app called Sherlock: The Network.[4][5] On 2 July 2014, Sherlock was renewed for a fourth series. The three-episode series is scheduled to be broadcast in early 2016, following a full-length Christmas 2015 special which went into production in January 2015.[6][7]

Sherlock

Premise

Sherlock depicts “consulting detective” Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) solving various mysteries in London. Holmes is assisted by his flatmate and friend, Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman), who has returned from military service in Afghanistan with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Although Metropolitan Police Service Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and others are at first skeptical of Holmes, over time his remarkable intellect and powers of observation persuade them of his value. In part through Watson’s blog documenting their adventures, Holmes becomes a reluctant celebrity with the press reporting on his cases and eccentric personal life. Both ordinary people and the British government ask for his help.

Although the series depicts a variety of crimes and perpetrators, Holmes’ conflict with archnemesis Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) is a recurring feature. Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey), a pathologist at St. Bart’s Hospital occasionally assists Holmes in his cases. Other recurring roles include Una Stubbs as Mrs Hudson, Holmes and Watson’s landlady, and series co-creator Mark Gatiss as Holmes’ elder brother Mycroft.

Sherlock

Production

Conception and development

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, both Sherlock Holmes fans with experience of adapting or using Victorian literature for television, devised the concept of the series.[8][9] Moffat had previously adapted the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde for the 2007 series Jekyll,[10] while Gatiss had written the Dickensian Doctor Who episode “The Unquiet Dead“.[11] Moffat and Gatiss, both Doctor Who writers, discussed plans for a Holmes adaptation during their numerous train journeys to Cardiff where Doctor Who production is based.[12] While they were in Monte Carlo for an awards ceremony, producer Sue Vertue, who is married to Moffat, encouraged Moffat and Gatiss to develop the project themselves before another creative team had the same idea.[13] Moffat and Gatiss invited Stephen Thompson to write for the series in September 2008.[14]

Gatiss has criticized recent television adaptations of the Conan Doyle stories as “too reverential and too slow”, aiming instead to be as irreverent to the canon as the 1930s and 1940s films starring Basil Rathbone, which were mostly set in the then-modern interwar era.[8] Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock uses modern technology, such as texting, the internet, and GPS, to solve crimes.[8] Paul McGuigan, who directed two episodes of Sherlock, says that this is in keeping with Conan Doyle’s character, pointing out that “[i]n the books he would use any device possible and he was always in the lab doing experiments. It’s just a modern-day version of it. He will use the tools that are available to him today in order to find things out.”[15]

The update maintains some traditional elements of the stories, such as the Baker Street address and Holmes’s adversary Moriarty.[16] Although the events of the books are transferred to the present day, some elements are incorporated into the story. For example, Martin Freeman’s Watson has returned from military service in Afghanistan.[17] While discussing the fact that the original Watson was invalided home after serving in the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878–80), Gatiss realised that “[i]t is the same war now, I thought. The same unwinnable war.”[8]

Sherlock was announced as a single 60-minute drama production at the Edinburgh International Television Festival in August 2008,[9] with broadcast set for mid to late 2009.[16] The intention was to produce a series of six 60-minute episodes should the pilot prove to be successful.[13][16] The first version of the pilot—reported by The Guardian to have cost £800,000—led to rumours within the BBC and wider media that Sherlock was a potential disaster.[18][19] The BBC decided not to transmit the pilot, requesting a reshoot and a total of three 90-minute episodes.[18][19] The original pilot was included on the DVD of the first series. During the audio commentary, the creative team said that the BBC were “very happy” with the pilot but asked them to change the format.[13] The pilot, observes critic Mark Lawson when it was released on DVD, was “substantially expanded and rewritten, and completely reimagined in look, pace and sound”.[19] In July 2009, the BBC drama department announced plans for three 90-minute episodes, to be broadcast in 2010.[20] Moffat had previously announced that if a series of Sherlock was commissioned, Gatiss would take over the duties of executive producer so that he could concentrate on producing Doctor Who.[9]

Cast and characters

Moffat and Vertue became interested in casting Cumberbatch as the title character after watching his performance in the 2007 film Atonement. The actor was cast after reading the script for the creative team.[21] “Cumberbatch”, says The Guardian, “has a reputation for playing odd, brilliant men very well, and his Holmes is cold, techie, slightly Aspergerish“.[22] Cumberbatch said, “There’s a great charge you get from playing him, because of the volume of words in your head and the speed of thought—you really have to make your connections incredibly fast. He is one step ahead of the audience and of anyone around him with normal intellect. They can’t quite fathom where his leaps are taking him.”[22] Piers Wenger, Head of Drama at BBC Wales, described the series’ rendering of Sherlock as “a dynamic superhero in a modern world, an arrogant, genius sleuth driven by a desire to prove himself cleverer than the perpetrator and the police—everyone in fact”.[16] Addressing changing social attitudes and broadcasting regulations, Cumberbatch’s Holmes replaced the pipe with multiple nicotine patches.[15] The writers believed that Sherlock should not talk like “a completely modern person”, says Moffat, but were initially intent that “he never sounded like he’s giving a lecture”. Moffat turned the character “more Victorian” in the second series, capitalising more on Cumberbatch’s “beautiful voice” to make it sound like “he’s giving a lecture”.[23]

Benedict Cumberbatch (left) and Martin Freeman (right) during filming of Series 1

In an interview with The Observer, co-creator Mark Gatiss says that they experienced more difficulty finding the right actor to play Dr. John Watson than they had for the title character.[8] Producer Sue Vertue said, “Benedict was the only person we actually saw for [the part of] Sherlock… Once Benedict was there it was really just making sure we got the chemistry for John [Watson]—and I think you get it as soon as they come into the room, you can see that they work together”.[24] Several actors auditioned for the part of Watson,[13] and Martin Freeman eventually took the role. Steven Moffat said that Matt Smith was the first to audition unsuccessfully. He was rejected for being too “barmy”, as the producers required someone “straighter” for Watson.[25] Shortly after, Moffat cast Smith as the Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who.[25]

The writers said that Freeman’s casting developed the way in which Cumberbatch played Holmes.[13] The theme of friendship appealed to both Gatiss and Moffat.[26] Gatiss asserted the importance of achieving the correct tone for the character. “Watson is not an idiot, although it’s true that Conan Doyle always took the piss out of him,” said Gatiss. “But only an idiot would surround himself with idiots.”[8] Moffat said that Freeman is “the sort of opposite of Benedict in everything except the amount of talent… Martin finds a sort of poetry in the ordinary man. I love the fastidious realism of everything he does.”[13] Freeman describes his character as a “moral compass” for Sherlock, who does not always consider the morality and ethics of his actions.[21]

Rupert Graves was cast as DI Greg Lestrade. The writers referred to the character as “Inspector Lestrade” during development until Gatiss realised that in contemporary England the character would have the title “Detective Inspector”. Moffat and Gatiss pointed out that Lestrade does not appear often in the stories and is quite inconsistently portrayed in them. They decided to go with the version that appeared in “The Six Napoleons“: a man who is frustrated by Holmes but admires him, and whom Holmes considers as the best person at Scotland Yard.[13] Several candidates took a comedic tack in their auditions, but the creative team preferred the gravitas that Graves brought to the role.[13] His first name is revealed to be Greg in “The Hounds of Baskerville”.[27]

Andrew Scott made his first appearance as Jim Moriarty in “The Great Game”. Moffat said, “We knew what we wanted to do with Moriarty from the very beginning. Moriarty is usually a rather dull, rather posh villain so we thought someone who was genuinely properly frightening. Someone who’s an absolute psycho.”[24] Moffat and Gatiss were originally not going to put a confrontation between Moriarty and Holmes into these three episodes, but realised that they “just had to do a confrontation scene. We had to do a version of the scene in ‘The Final Problem‘ in which the two archenemies meet each other.”[28]

The remainder of the regular cast includes Una Stubbs (who has known Cumberbatch since he was four years old, as she had worked with his mother Wanda Ventham)[29] as Mrs Hudson and co-creator Mark Gatiss as Mycroft Holmes.[30] Vinette Robinson, Jonathan Aris and Louise Brealey play the recurring roles of Sergeant Sally Donovan, Philip Anderson and Molly Hooper, respectively.

Amanda Abbington, Freeman’s real-life partner, plays Mary Morstan, Watson’s girlfriend and eventual wife. In Series 3, Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton, Cumberbatch’s real-life parents, are introduced as Sherlock and Mycroft’s parents.

Guest appearances included Phil Davis as Jefferson Hope,[31] Paul Chequer as DI Dimmock,[32] Zoe Telford as Sarah,[32] Gemma Chan as Soo Lin Yao,[32] John Sessions as Kenny Prince,[33] Haydn Gwynne as Miss Wenceslas,[33] Deborah Moore[28] as one of Moriarty’s victims and Peter Davison as the voice-over in the planetarium.[28] Series two’s “A Scandal in Belgravia” featured Lara Pulver as Irene Adler,[34] while “The Hounds of Baskerville” featured Russell Tovey as Henry Knight.[35] In the final episode of series 2, the role of Rufus Bruhl was played by Edward Holtom, while Katherine Parkinson played journalist Kitty Riley. The first episode of series 3 featured Derren Brown.

Production design and filming

The show was produced by Hartswood Films for BBC Wales, while BBC Worldwide also provided co-production funding.[9][36] Production was also co-produced by PBS, a network of public-service broadcasters in the United States, for WGBH-TV‘s Masterpiece Mystery! strand.[37][38] Filming of the pilot episode, written by Moffat and directed by Coky Giedroyc, commenced in January 2009.[39] The following January (2010), the first set of three episodes entered production. Paul McGuigan directed the first and third episodes and Euros Lyn directed the second.[40][41] The three episodes were filmed in reverse order of their broadcast.[28]

A street, with crew members looking towards a cafe and a house

North Gower Street in London was used for exterior shots of the location of Holmes’ “Baker Street” residence[42]

Gatiss says that they wanted to “fetishise modern London in the way that the period versions fetishise Victorian London”.[21] Production was based at Hartswood Films’ Cardiff production unit, Hartswood Films West, which was opened in late 2009 to take advantage of the BBC’s planned Cardiff Bay “drama village”. Production of the first two series was based at Upper Boat Studios, where Doctor Who had been produced.[43][44] Cardiff was more economical than in London, with some good matches for parts of London.[21] Some architecture could not be faked, so location shooting in the English capital was necessary.[21] The location shots for 221B Baker Street were filmed at 187 North Gower Street[42] – Baker Street was impractical because of heavy traffic,[45] and the number of things labelled “Sherlock Holmes”, which would need to be disguised.[28] Executive producer Beryl Vertue explains how it was important to design the entirety of Sherlock’s flat as a contemporary set, yet still convey his eccentricity. He would not, she says, live somewhere “too suburban” or “too modern”.[21]

Costumes for the pilot were designed by BAFTA Cymru award-winning costume designer Ray Holman.[46] Cumberbatch wore a £1,000 Belstaff coat in the series.[47] Sarah Arthur, the series’ costume designer, explained how she achieved the detective’s look. “Holmes wouldn’t have any interest in fashion so I went for classic suits with a modern twist: narrow-leg trousers and a two-button, slim-cut jacket. I also went for slim-cut shirts and a sweeping coat for all the action scenes—it looks great against the London skyline.”[47]

The writers say that they did not want to force modernity onto the story.[13] There were some creative challenges, such as the decision to include the sign “221B” on Holmes’ front door. Gatiss and Moffat reflect that in the modern world the door would only display the number of the house, and there would be doorbells for each flat. The full house number is so iconic that they felt unable to change it.[13] The writers also decided that the lead characters would address each other by their first names, rather than the traditional Holmes and Watson.[13] This was also reflected in the title of the series. Director Paul McGuigan came up with the idea of putting text messages on the screen instead of having cut-away shots of a hand holding the phone.[13]

Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch filming the third series of Sherlock, August 2013

The producers found it difficult to coordinate the schedules of the principal players and Moffat and Gatiss for a second series. Cumberbatch and Freeman both worked on the 2012 film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and Moffat continued as Doctor Who‍ ’​s head writer. In response to the time pressure, The Guardian asserted, the series “features reworkings of three of Conan Doyle’s most recognised tales”.[48] Gatiss says that there had been an argument for producing these tales over three years, but Moffat explained that they rejected “deferred pleasure”.[48] The relationship between Holmes and Watson developed during the second series, with Watson being less amazed by Sherlock’s deductive abilities; Watson acted as the primary detective in the second episode, “The Hounds of Baskerville“.[48] The cast and production team were more confident during the second series’ production following the positive audience and critical reaction to the first series.[23][49]

Music

The theme and incidental music were composed by David Arnold and Michael Price.[21] Arnold explains that he and Price worked with the producers to “come up with a central theme and character” for the series, then found what was “going to be the defining sound of this show”.[21] Pieces were often constructed using synthesizers, but the tracks used for the show were recorded using real musicians, Arnold says, to bring the music “to life”.[21] Similarly, Price comments that the musicians can adapt their performance of a score by responding to footage from the show.[21]

Episodes

Three series, each consisting of three episodes, have been produced. The first series was initially broadcast in July and August 2010 on the BBC, later premiering on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States in October 2010.[50] A second series of three episodes was first broadcast in the UK in January 2012, and then in the U.S. during May 2012.[51] The third series premiered in the UK on 1 January 2014 and in the US on 19 January 2014. The series has been sold to over 200 territories.[2]

Spectre (2015 film)

Spectre poster.jpg

Spectre will be the twenty-fourth James Bond film produced by Eon Productions. It will be the second film in the series directed by Sam Mendes and will feature Daniel Craig in his fourth performance as James Bond,[1] and Christoph Waltz as Franz Oberhauser, the film’s antagonist.[2] Spectre is scheduled to be released on 6 November 2015.[3][4]

Premise

In the aftermath of the bombing of MI6 by Raoul Silva, a cryptic message sets in motion events that will see James Bond come face-to-face with the sinister organisation known as SPECTRE. As Gareth Mallory, the newly-appointed M, continues fighting political pressures that threaten the future of MI6, Bond follows a trail from Mexico to Austria and Morocco as he is drawn into a confrontation with an enemy from his past, who holds a dangerous secret that will force him to question the value of everything he has fought to protect.[5][6][7]

James Bond Spectre Script Leak Drops Majors Spoilers, Could Lead To Rewrites image

This has been an exciting year thus far for fans of the James Bond franchise. After all, it was less than two weeks ago that the folks behind the production of the series’ 24th installment not only announced the official start of filming, but also revealed a talent-stacked cast and a very exciting title: Spectre. All of this, along with the fact that Skyfall helmer Sam Mendes is back in the director’s chair, has generated a great deal of optimism in the air for 007 aficionados – but now the Sony Pictures hack is here to suck some joy out of the atmosphere.

As a result of the aforementioned studio leak, Gawker has not only gotten their hands on a copy of the Spectre script, but also a great deal of notes and emails about the project – and not a lot of it sounds good. In a completely spoiler-filled break down, it’s explained that the first 100 pages of the script are in a fairly good place – with a good amount of action and characterization involving both new and old faces – but that where things start to fall apart is in the third act and where the villain is concerned.

SPOILER WARNING: If you don’t want to know any plot details or set up about the new James Bond movie, Spectre, I would highly recommend clicking to another one of the articles on our site.

According to Gawker’s intel, the plot kicks off with James Bond questioning his own future after a merger between MI-5 and MI-6. He’s not ready to quit yet, especially since he still has an assignment to complete for Judi Dench. Lea Seydoux will be introduced as the daughter of a previously introduced character, and Andrew Scott will play a prominent role as an adversary of the new M (Ralph Fiennes). Monica Belluci will also be involved as an unlikely voice of information on a terrorist group.

Where things start to grow wrong is with the film’s villain – who is described as having a rather awkward if not fully illogical already established connection with our legendary hero. What’s more, Gawker’s piece says that the third act of the movie is “uneventful” and without any real drive, featuring sequences and actions by the titular terrorist group that are underwhelming compared to what happens earlier in the movie. There have also been multiple notes requesting the need for some kind twist in the narrative.

These notes wouldn’t be so bad to read if they were from drafts handed in back during the summer – as some will remember that production was actually delayed at that time so that Skyfall writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade could take a whack at what had already been scripted by Oscar-winner John Logan. Unfortunately, Gawker says that the Spectre script was undergoing major revisions at least into November. Even though filming has already started, it’s also said that the studio is still tinkering with the ending and trying to get it right before it’s too late.

Even given all of this new information, my fingers are still crossed that Spectre call pull through and live up to our expectations. Sam Mendes gave us something truly special when he made Skyfall, and he has my confidence to straighten out this shaken ship and get it back on course.

Spectre will be arriving in theaters November 6th.

The Divergent Series: Insurgent

Insurgent poster.jpg

This article is about the film. For the novel on which it is based, see Insurgent (novel).

The Divergent Series: Insurgent (also known simply as Insurgent) is a 2015 science fiction adventure film directed by Robert Schwentke, based on Insurgent, the second book in the Divergent trilogy, written by Veronica Roth. It is the sequel to the 2014 film Divergent and the second installment in The Divergent Series,[4][5] produced by Lucy Fisher, Pouya Shabazian and Douglas Wick, with a screenplay by Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman and Mark Bomback.[6][7] Robert Schwentke took over from Neil Burger as director, with Burger serving as the executive producer of the film. Along with the first film’s returning cast, the sequel features supporting actors Octavia Spencer, Naomi Watts, Suki Waterhouse, Rosa Salazar, Daniel Dae Kim, Jonny Weston, Emjay Anthony, and Keiynan Lonsdale.

The plot of Insurgent takes place three days after the previous installment and continues to follow Tris Prior; Tris and Four are on the run after evading a hostile takeover from Jeanine and the rest of Erudite. The faction system in post-apocalyptic Chicago is crumbling, and everyone is desperate for power — and answers. Filming began on May 27, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia, before officially concluding on September 6, 2014.

The Divergent Series: Insurgent was released on March 20, 2015 in the United States in the IMAX 3D format as well as regular 3D and 2D.[8][9] Critical reaction to the film was mixed: some have considered the film to be an improvement over its predecessor, with reviewers highlighting the visual style, action sequences, and Woodley’s performance, but the film still received a significant amount of negative criticism, mainly focused on its storyline.[10][11] The film was a commercial success, grossing over US$99 million worldwide during its opening weekend, making it attain the #1 spot at the box-office.[12] The film has earned over US$273 million worldwide since its release.

A sequel, The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 1, is scheduled to be released on March 18, 2016.[13]

Plot

Following the assault on Abnegation by Jeanine’s mind-controlled Dauntless soldiers, Eric and his platoon are searching through the wreckage of Abnegation for a box of unknown origin containing the symbols of all the factions. Upon recovery, the box is taken to Erudite and Jeanine claims that it contains data from the city’s founders and the means to end the Divergence problem. However, only a Divergent can open the box, so she orders that all Divergents be hunted down and captured.

Tris, Four, Peter, and Caleb are in hiding within the Amity compound. Soon after, Eric and his fleet arrive to test all the occupants for Divergence. Peter gives up the group’s location as Tris, Four, and Caleb escape and board a train headed into Factionless territory. During the ensuing fight with Factionless aboard the train, Four reveals his true name, Tobias Eaton, to the Factionless who reply that they have been searching for him.

Four, Tris and Caleb are given safe passage into the heart of Factionless. There, Tris and Caleb discover that Factionless’ leader is Four’s mother, Evelyn Johnson-Eaton. Evelyn suggests that Dauntless and Factionless should join their forces against Erudite. The next morning, the three leave Factionless for Candor to meet up with the remaining Dauntless. During the trek, Caleb tells Tris that he cannot continue with them and goes in a different direction.

Upon arrival at Candor, Tris and Four are arrested and brought before Jack Kang, the Candor’s leader, who don’t believe that Jeanine would go so far as to fraudulently make Tris and Four wanted for attacking Abnegation. Four tries to reason with Jack, inquiring about the fairness of a trial in Erudite as opposed to one in Candor, and requests the trial be conducted in Candor through truth serum. During the trial, Tris tearfully admits her guilt in shooting and killing Will, angering Christina.

Candor is then attacked by Dauntless traitors led by Eric and many people are shot with new simulation serum. Tris and Uriah, who revealed to be also as Divergent, are captured by Eric. Eric tests Tris and discovers that Tris’ Divergence is 100%, making her the perfect subject to open the box. They are then rescued by Four and Candor. Eric is taken into custody and Four executes him.

In Erudite, Jeanine, frustrated that none of the Divergent subjects have survived the simulation to open the box, is approached by Peter who pledges his loyalty to Erudite. Peter suggests that best way to get Tris to surrender is to play with her humanity.

Back in Factionless, Four reluctantly agrees with Evelyn that war is inevitable and they need to prepare. The long term sim serum is activated by Jeanine, causing Marlene, Christina and Hector to stand on a ledge repeatedly chanting that Tris Prior must turn herself in or more death will follow, as they step closer and closer to the edge. Tris and Tori climb the sides as fast as they can, and rescue two of the three, but Marlene plunges to her death. Overcome by guilt, Tris decides to turn herself in. She spends the night with Four and they make love. Afterwards Tris quietly slips away.

The moment Tris steps through the Erudite screen, she is surrounded and arrested. Jeanine then subjects her to each of the simulation trial to open the box. Tris is almost killed in the process. Jeanine reluctantly stops the simulation, allowing Tris to rest in a cell with her brother Caleb, who is now working with Jeanine. Peter, who is now a guard assigned to Tris, jabs her in the back with an injection while escorting her back to the chamber after she discovers that Four is also captive in the facility.

Once again, Tris goes through the simulations, but before it can be completed, her vital signs drop and she appears to die. Tris’s body is disconnected from the simulations cables and wheeled over to Four’s cell. Tris then awakens, and Peter assists Four in overpowering the guards, revealing that he is helping them. Peter then goes to the control room to change the security parameters to allow access for Four and Tris to simulation room.

Tris successfully opens the box, and, much to the chagrin of Jeanine, the message inside informs everyone in the simulation room about the entire walled city, the experiment, the evidence that Divergents are the success of the experiment, and the world is waiting outside for them to return to humanity. Jeanine, realizing the box and its revelation will undo of her power, orders the box buried and Four and Tris immediately executed. Before this occurs, the Factionless army hits the Erudite facility. Jeanine and Caleb are arrested, and Tris is hailed as a hero by the masses, eager to explore the world beyond the wall.

As Jeanine looks out from her cell, she states that after 200 years since the city was enclosed, there is no telling what awaits them beyond it. Evelyn appears behind her, and tells her that she will never find out. She shoots Jeanine in the back of the head.