Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Can't wait for The Hunger Games:  Mockingjay - Part 2:  Electric Boogaloo.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 – 2 out of 5

Let’s recap, shall we? Despite having no interest in the books, I gave the first film a chance and didn’t really care for it (which, according to one middle-aged dude that I used to know, made me a snob and an asshole) but I did dig Catching Fire (and that, according to that middle-aged dude, meant I was just patronizing him—that dude had a lot of problems). After Catching Fire fixed a lot of the things I had a hard time with in the first one, I actually found myself excited for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. The trailer made it look action-packed and like Katniss Everdeen was ready to make President Snow pay for the way he’s treated his citizens in the Districts…it was a tad less than that.

Katniss looks like she just noticed the last slice of pizza is being left unguarded.

After destroying The Games, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) was rescued by the growing rebellion on Panem—led by President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and assisted by a former game maker Plutarch Heavensbee (the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman). They hope to take Katniss, a figure of hope already in the eyes of the poorer districts, and turn her into the Mockingjay; the very symbol of freedom and rebellion. However, as the plan to bring the Capital and President Snow (Donald Sutherland) to its knees, Katniss and the rebellion are horrified to learn that Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) is being held prisoner and is facing torture and possible death if Katniss doesn’t quell her revolution.

The wound is still fresh, Hoffman.  You left this world too soon.

I’ve heard all the big fans of The Hunger Games complain about Mockingjay being split into two films and, I have to say, I agree with them. While the film does work to plant the seeds of conflict and action that will easily be harvested in Part 2 and works to help up the potential for great drama, the end result felt like its potential was wasted and it just felt like a boring prelude that is just around to take up space, time, and money before the real event arrives. I couldn’t help but wonder, the moment the credits hit, if there was a way to trim this film down substantially and just have Mockingjay being one, slightly longer, Hunger Games film because Part 1 just proved to be very boring with only a few interesting elements to keep it from being a complete waste of time.

His beard is white as...wait for it...snow!  Eh?  Eh?
I'm truly sorry for that.

I was also very disappointed with the fact that Katniss isn’t the badass that was depicted in the trailer. I was ├╝ber-excited to see Everdeen fucking up some Capital baddies with her bow and arrow but, instead, I just see a Girl on Fire who is either always on the verge of breaking down because she’s worried about Peeta OR totally broken down because she’s worried about Peeta and is blubbering like a fool. Never mind the fact that I will never understand why she cares in any way for Peeta (the character is a waste, in my opinion. He’s weak and only drags Katniss down) but watching the very symbol of rebellion constantly falling to pieces over this character gets monotonous. 

Seriously, is his character just easier to sympathize with in the books or something?
Because I can't feel a thing for him in the films.

There has to be a point where we see that she is ready to stand up and fight (and it's going to happen) but, instead, the film barely gives that sense and I had to endure a lot of scenes of J-Law crying (and, despite her acting talent, she is not a good looking crier).

Stare at this photo...keep staring because it gets funnier the longer you maintain eye

I was also very disappointed with the fact the film seemed to be actively refusing to show off any sort of action. There are times where action-y things are happening but the film won’t show them. For example, the Capital is bombing the rebels hideout and we see all the action from the command center where characters like President Coin are describing what happens—we never actually see any of the bombing. There’s even a sequence where a rescue mission is done in order to save Peeta and other Victors from the games but we never see it. We are even told that something happens during the mission but we see nothing of it. 

Enjoy this part because it's going to have to sustain you for a bit.

Sure, this could work to create suspense and help us feel the lost of control that Katniss is feeling and her complete feeling of being chained and unable to help but, ultimately, these sequences just made the film feel empty and kinda low budget—like they couldn’t afford to actually show you this action and they went for a "tell, don’t show" route. It only made a film that already felt like it was moving slowly and came off boring even that more slow-going and lethargic.

"We promise that the next one will be a lot better."

Even though these elements dragged the film down and made for a disappointing follow-up to Catching Fire, the film still has great performances from the entire cast, I like the darker appearance the film takes (both in tone and visuals), the political themes it is playing off is fairly intriguing, and there is definitely some potential for this "filler-like" feel the film has to eventually pay off and pay off in a big way. However, as it is, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 comes off pretty disappointing and, I hate to say it, pretty much pointless. In the end, I couldn’t help but think that what happened in this film could have been condensed down and melted together with Part 2 to make an all-around better film.

1 comment:

  1. The fact that Philip Seymour Hoffman died of an overdose and not Kim Kardashian or Miley Cyrus truly shows how unfair the world is.


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