Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One Review

The Hunger Games gets the split finale treatment with Mockingjay Part One. Francis Lawrence returns to Direct following the success of Catching Fire; picking up more or less where Catching Fire ended, with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) having been saved from the games and now in District 13.

Katniss is soon introduced to the President of the District Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and asked to be the rebellions Mockingjay, a symbol to inspire others. She politely refuses unless Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is rescued as he wasn't from the games. After this set up of events however the plot moves atrociously slow.

Putting it out there now, I did have a peek at my to check the phone at one point because I was getting so bored- and- I have

read the books; the source material isn't at fault here. It was a combination between a terribly stretched out script and the fact that someone, presumably the studio, decided to split Mockingjay from one movie into it's two parts. Mockingjay Part One simply isn't a full movie, it's a stretched thin first half of what should have been one movie and as such reviewing it as a full feature does seem stupid.

Mockingjay injects some book changes which come for the good and the bad. The addition of Eddie (Elizabeth Banks) in District 13 was an obvious but smart deviation from the source material. Banks as Effie is simply to good and she wasn't just put in the District; screenwriters Danny Strong and Peter Craig managed to give her an actual job in the plot. Unfortunately however departing from the books first person perspective of Katniss takes away from the mystery of a lot of the Capitols and other Districts events. Where the previous two films had departed from the Katniss FOV also to show President Snow (Donald Sutherland) which had added to the plot in a positive way, showing what's happening outside of District 13 ruined the mystery and tension I remember having when reading the book. Not knowing what was happening outside of 13 but knowing to well that the other Districts are at war with the Capitol was thrilling. Was 13 going to get bombed out of know where? Are tanks going to roll up on the front door? Are the others Districts even still standing? We know a lot of those questions watching Mockingjay. It's an Achilles heel because showing the other Districts does make for some more cinematic scenes.

The returning cast of The Hunger Games are OK. They pull mostly all the same notes and Lawrence does go a bit far into the screamy-crying pit at some points. Hutcherson and Banks are at there best. Liam Hemsworth as Gale sees his most screen time so far in the series but at this point in the story it's just so apparent that Katniss is simply in love with Peeta that the love triangle seems unnecessary and boring. PSA Girls and Guys: Leading someone on to think they might have a chance with you isn't okay.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 was nothing short of a huge disappointment to me. I didn't expect movie of the year but I didn't expect to get 3 quarters of drawn out material where not a single charachter even goes from point A to B in anything that could be considered a narrative. It's not all bad and there is some standout scenes but when it is bad it's boring.

+ Hanging Tree/ Book moments fans wanted                       + Effie is there
- Boring                                                                                    - 3/4 Drawn out Material
- Loses Books Mystery                                                          - You have to watch this to get to Part 2


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