Bru’s Reviews – THE HUNGER GAMES MOCKINGJAY PART ONE IS ONLY PART FUN November 25, 2014 – Posted in: Blog, Bru's Reviews, Featured Columns
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NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: The teen/tween trilogy that’s stretched out to a quadigy! (Or whatever the hell four movies is.) Katniss and Co. take a page from the TWILIGHT series and chop their final chapter into two films. This one picks up where the last left off as Katniss becomes the humming birdie symbol of the Rebellion while boyfriend named after a bread-pocket/animal rights group Peeta becomes a Capitol stooge.
(I strongly recommend that before seeing this, you watch the previous film, CATCHING FIRE or at least read the full synopsis. MJ picks up where CF left off with no recap.)
Written by Peter Craig and Danny Strong, adapted by Suzanne Collins from her novel. Directed by Francis Lawrence (no relation to Jennifer).
- Because it’s two films, this one is able to focus more on character development, subtle nuances, relationships, and all that other stuff critics care about. And probably has more stuff from the book I didn’t read.
- Environmental effects are well done as usual. The burned-out district looks like a cross between Pompeii and any city that tried to hold the Hulk.
- Jennifer Lawrence still has a nice booty, and the rest of the bod looks good too. And she sings again! Kind of a cool bluesy vibe.
- Some genuine, bite-yer-nails or gnaw-yer-knuckles suspenseful moments. Well built excitement, despite knowing something’s going to have to go horribly wrong at some point. You just don’t know when or how, and that’s the fun.
- Donald Sutherland is definitely one of the better dickish villains out there. President Snow has had his emotions “frozen” and when it comes to the Rebellion, he definitely won’t “let it go.” (Sorry, but it’s the holiday season and I had to put some kind of Disney movie reference in there for the search engines. Gotta get some of that Olaf traffic!)
- Reappearance of the Katniss clan and pet. A bit more with Gale (the guy) but not explored as much as you’d think.
- For fans of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, his Plutarch character has a bigger part, even if he sometimes has an inexplicable smile in some scenes. And the film is dedicated to him.
- Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch is still fun even tho he’s sober. But not as much. Elisabeth Banks is fun too, but nearly unrecognizable in a jump suit; at least it shows a little more than her wacky outfits.
- New Rebel ad campaign art director chick with wild hairdo and wilder tattoo.
- Image/promotional campaigns in the dystopian future work exactly the same as those now! Too funny.
- One man’s “character development” is another man’s “padding.” There had to be either one fast-paced flick with mostly action and a bunch of important stuff wedged in, or two films where one takes a longer time to build to any suspense. The filmmakers chose the latter.
- Because of that choice, this one is very low on the action scale when compared to the others. Doesn’t mean it’s necessarily boring, but if you’re looking for furious fights and big battles, this ain’t it.
- Peeta the dead-faced ad shill. Even when he’s crying he looks stiff.
- Remember that fun, colorful, over-the-top fashion/costuming in the first two? Gone. All drab gray uniform stuff here.
- Katniss has a tight outfit but it could be sexier. One shot wearing a t-shirt in bed. No undies shots at all. And busty Julianne Moore (as the Rebel president) is made as unhot as possible.
- Why does nearly every movie have to have a stupid cat that goes missing at the worst possible time?
- What happened to Peeta? Takes the whole film to find out. And why does Josh Hutcherson get second billing when he’s hardly on screen that long? Hoffman should have been number two; better actor and twice the screen time.
- As with any film named “Part 1,” it won’t have a tidy ending. Definitely continued next flick. But even though there were a few groans and curses from the audience, this one didn’t irk me as much as say, the first LORD OF THE RINGS, which actually had a nice ending and then went beyond it to a cheap cliffhanger. MOCKINGJAY had to end somewhere and this is as good as any I guess.
Honestly, unless you’re a die hard fan of the series (or a teenage girl), there’s no reason to see this in theaters now. Wait until the second part comes out next year and see this a week or month before so you’re filled in and it will seem more like one full story. And more rewarding. Unlike LOTR, these have been pretty regular, released on an annual basis, so you won’t have to wait too long.
P.S.: Happy Thanksgiving! Pascale is thankful you read this crap. And he’d be even more if he could draw something cool for you. Thank yourself with a commission–you deserve it. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, residents of Panem, employees of PanAm, or any dystopian future society on or off earth. If Bru lived in one of the Districts, he’d join the Hunger Games and eat his way to victory. Beer Nuts for everyone! BRAP!!