The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
Premise: Take out the interesting premise of a battle royale competition between unwilling contestants from the previous two movies, then leave us with a bare bones revolutionary war set-up storyline with all the characters that were only interesting when they were in that battle royale situation; and now you have a sequel with a bunch of "meh" characters looking forward to accomplishing something that you know they won't get to by the end of the two hours you're sitting there. BECAUSE IT'S PART ONE.
-I enjoyed the whole angle about Katniss going around with a film crew shooting propaganda for the rebellion, it was an interesting take on the subject. I was a little surprised/disappointed that it was pretty much the storyline of the *entire* movie, but I thought it was neat how they have to win a marketing war with the capital before they can win the actual war (THAT'S IN PART TWO).
-I kind of like these grand spectacle type movies that have sell-out shows and get people excited to go to the movies for a change. Outside of a comic book franchise, there aren't many properties that get that kind of buzz anymore except maybe The Hunger Games (and eventually the new Star Wars).
-I still think Donald Sutherland is a great villain. I just love his smirk and his cadence. He's the perfect "murderous old creepy evil rich guy with a white beard". That's a very specific type of evil rich guy, but it's in demand. I hope that's description is on Sutherland's business card.
-"When the explosions go BOOM BOOM BOOM and the guns go RATATATATATATAT and Katniss is all like YAAARRRRRR and the airplanes go VROOOOOMMMMMM, it done make my think muscle go YAYYYYY." That was my impression of a guy who doesn't know how to properly explain that the few action scenes in the movie were pretty good.
-Lenny Kravitz isn't in this movie.
-One thing I can't stand (or maybe 'understand') about these Hunger Games movies is the forced romance with Katniss and Peta. I can't think of a pair of characters with less chemistry than those two. Maybe I missed it, but has there ever been any indication that Katniss is actually, like, *in love* with Peta? I don't think there has been. She just kind of *is* obsessed with him because that's what it says in the script. That doesn't mean we actually see them be romantic to each other. But the thing that is so frustrating is that this dumb, forced relationship is the driving force for so much of the plot. "We have to save Peta" "I miss Peta" "I think I'm in love with Peta"... WHY? Find me the scene when these two dolts actually displayed a smidgen of love towards each other that wasn't just a ploy. I'd love to see it. Because in *my* eyes, Peta is a dumb little wiener kid and I don't understand why Katniss is so infatuated with him. Do all of these movies have to have a budding romance or a love triangle? Aren't there more important things to worry about other than the well being of one stupid jerk, like winning the revolution for the thousands of other people in the country? Can't Katniss just be a strong female leader without her entire psyche collapsing in regards to the fate of some cute boy she kind of knew growing up? Maybe she should put relationships on hold for a little bit, ya know, until this revolution is over?
-So like the secret base where everyone is hiding gets bombed, and they are all rushing to the underground bunker area, and Katniss' dumb sister GOES BACK TO THE BARRACKS TO SAVE A CAT. Then they have to rush to find her, with seconds left on a cliché door close countdown. GUESS WHAT? THEY MAKE IT THROUGH JUST IN TIME. It was *THE* most needless scene of excess drama in a part of the movie that was already providing natural drama. WORST SCENE OF THE MOVIE. God, I hate Katniss' stupid sister. What a crappy character. She's so useless. The only way they can attempt to make her interesting is to needlessly put her in a situation where she risks several people's lives to save a dumb cat. At that point, just write her out of the movie as anything but a background character with no lines.
-In fact, there are so many freakin' characters in this movie, and we're supposed to care about all of them, and I kind of just don't.
-It's a shame that one of Philip Seymour Hoffman's final roles is in a movie where he sort of acts like he doesn't really want to be there. It's a posthumous phone in.
-In retrospect, there weren't really very many action scenes in this movie. And only one really that involved Katniss. Remember when this franchise was about high paced, 24 person death matches, and the fear and emotional tension involved in preparing for them? That was cool.
-Don't stick around after the credits, it's just a 20 second animation of the bird on the Hunger Games logo morphing into a bunch of different positions. It was magnificently underwhelming.
-Woody Harrelson is barely in this movie.
Final Thoughts: When it's being entertaining, Mockingjay Part 1 is a good summer-in-November blockbuster type movie. But when it's not being on point, it's kind of a middling, poorly written shell of what the franchise used to be. I totally get the desire to split this movie into two pieces because it will earn the studio $800 million extra dollars, but considering that not that much really happened over the course of Part One's two hours, they *could have* reduced the key plot points down to about 30-45 minutes and just released this is as one big, more fluid, to-the-point finale. But the movie is alright, I guess, even though it's a step down from the first two. At least they seem to put more technical effort into the production of this YA novel property than they do for any of the other ones.
7 out of 10
You should have held off writing/posting half of your review, to make it more in line with the film:-)
I had the same problem with The Hobbit: by leaving off the killing of Smaug until the next movie, and making you wait sooooo lonnnng, it kills much of the enjoyment.I'd much rather have had the first part run a little longer to get to a satisfactory conclusion, than get an ending plus 2/3rd.'s extra "filler". What it might make audiences do, is to wait until it's all done before watching it at all.