Big Screen :: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

November 24th 2014


Unfortunately when you turn a finite series of books into a billion dollar movie franchise it’s obligatory to cut the last one in half…

I surprised myself by really enjoying the first two Hunger Games movies. I don’t even think they are great movies exactly; the first is really poorly shot and edited, full of cheap looking CGI and are both way too long. But I like the idea of them. I love that these billion dollar movies are anchored by a great actress in a great role, with a couple of good looking – but terrible – male actors functioning as her accessories.

I love that they talk about how the one percent can manipulate the rest of us with violence and garbage while their hands are in our pockets, and that they argue the only way to fight back is to use their own tools against them and burn the whole thing down. And I also love Stanley Tucci‘s giant blue pompadour wig.

Unfortunately, when you turn a finite series of books into a billion dollar movie franchise it’s obligatory to cut the last one in half. The only time this worked was when Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 gloriously climaxed with a vampire performing an impromptu cesarean with his teeth, followed by a werewolf falling in love with a baby. That kind of movie magic only happens once in a lifetime though, if you are lucky.

I am sad to report The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part one left me pretty unsatisfied. It really only qualifies as half a movie.

It opens in District 13, which everyone had previously thought destroyed, but is in fact underground. My wife, who has read the books, had to explain this to me later because the movie doesn’t really spell it out for you.

The Capitol is on the attack, just butchering people left right and centre; blowing up hospitals, public executions, that type of thing. There are big piles of corpses lying around. This is not a fun kids movie in case you were wondering; it’s joyless, violent and grim. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is all messed up, Gale (Liam Hemsworth) still looks sleepy even though he is a soldier now – and the most useless male in cinema history.

Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), has been captured. I can’t stress enough how much I enjoy this dope fulfilling the traditional girlfriend role in an action movie. He is weak, annoying and always pining for Katniss. Mostly though he just gets in the way and functions as an obstacle. I have my fingers crossed that before the series ends he will die in a horrible explosion that he caused himself by being an idiot, and Katniss will be sad for a minute then shrug it off like James Bond.

I have been talking too long about this movie. Look, it’s fine; but it just finishes. I honestly wish I would have waited until next year and just watched them both together. That’s what I suggest you should do.

If the second one pays off what this sets up, it could be great. But I don’t know that it will. Which means I am in the weird position of not really knowing if this is good or not. It sure is frustrating though.

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