Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Political chess game.
There’s a special quality to dystopian films based on young adult novels, whether they are or are not getting old fast. They are usually really good, or more often than not, really bad. However, there was one series that I’ve kind of fallen in love with since they began, and that was The Hunger Games. This series was insane from the very moment it began – and both the first and second film blew me away. I’ve rated them both really high scores…and even gave Catching Fire 100% – the rare, but perfect score. So to say I was excited for Mockingjay is putting it lightly. Well here it is, stretched into two parts – so how does it go? Well, it doesn’t exactly blow you away this time – but it’s still good.
Jennifer Lawrence is back as Katniss Everdeen, our savior of Panem and local legend seen as the Mockingjay – a symbol to those without hope. There have been more uprising and rebellions against the Capitol, and President Snow has began killing anyone that supports her symbol…which is making things worse. Katniss must act as the rebellion’s voice and weapon, the Mockingjay – while the Capitol has their own weapon – Peeta. Katniss agrees to help the rebellion on the one condition that they find and rescue Peeta.
The main story of this film is about saving Peeta all the while going over the main arc of stopping President Snow and his reign of terror over Panem. That I get, but this is the only film in the franchise thus far that didn’t wow me. It didn’t blow me away. I’m just left thinking the movie is pretty good…but at the same time, I left the theater feeling a little unsatisfied. It’s an incomplete film that never needed to be split into two parts. It was simply split into two to make a little more money than they normally would have with just a straight, boring trilogy. Some two-part finales I get. The last Harry Potter book was really thick, have you see the first edition of that thing? Lots of material to split if need be – but come on – Mockingjay would have been a lot better had they kept it as one movie.
Because this is the first part, it’s filled with a lot of set-up and preparation for the conclusion – and for the most part, that’s all the movie was. Set up. There was very little action, and just a lot of political chess moves of one-upping each other on both sides. It almost felt filler in some scenes, and I couldn’t help but feel a little drowsy in some of these scenes.
Don’t misunderstand, I did like the movie. It’s a very good movie all on its own, it’s just not what you expect to see from a Hunger Games movie, and what I expect to ultimately see in the final film. It’s got a decent minor and overall goal that makes plenty sense – and Josh Hutcherson’s role as Peeta in this film is really interesting and mysterious. It also has a really strong voice in military decisions and political actions – which I figured would probably be the case.
One of my pet peeves in the film was the documentary crew following around Katniss. It was one step away from found-footage territory here, and that really bugged me, because the whole thing had a strange tone to it. I get it – the war of media against media across miles and miles of terrain, but that’s ALL this movie WAS. It was setting things up and following Katniss around while they have a “whose better” contest with the Capitol. Again, I get it, but enough is enough.
I probably gave this film more crap in my review than I should have. In the end, the movie on its own is just fine. It’s got a decent plot, plenty of mystery and intense build-up, characters that you love to watch, and the action it does have is quite exciting.
Personally, I don’t think “fine” is good enough. I want to sit at the edge of my seat contemplating on what I just witnessed. All in all, there were too many scenes of the Capitol and Katniss mocking each other with taunts and threats because all this was – was set up for what really matters and what you really want to actually watch – which is the second part of the story.