Author Topic: Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1  (Read 599 times)

Offline willwallace

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Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
« on: November 28, 2014, 10:40:56 AM »
Went to see it on $5 Wednesday with the kids.  I was amazed at the number of older adults (60's and up) that were there.  Maybe the really like the popcorn and sodas (unlimited refills for both if you get the large sizes).  This is the third of 4 movies based on the Hunger Games trilogy.

Synopsis:  Picking up right after the end of the second movie (Catching Fire), our heroine Katniss Everdeen is trying to orient herself with her new "allies" in District 13.  The leader of District 13, President Coin (played by Julianne Moore) conspired with the Head Gamemaker from the 75th Hunger Games, Plutarch Heavensbee (the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman) to rescue Katniss, who they both think is the person they need to lead a revolution against the Capital and the evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland).  Peeta and several of the other tributes from the games were captured by the Capital and there fate is unknown.  Katniss' home District 12 has been totally obliterated by the Capital's fire bombers but her mother, sister and friend Gale all escaped and are reunited with Katniss in the underground bunkers that now make up the cities of 13, which was also obliterated by Capital bombers back during the war but 13 also had stockpiles of nuclear bombs which lead to a stalemate.  This wasn't really spelled out in the movie but was explained in the books and alluded to in the film.

But Kaniss is a reluctant leader.  She cares only for rescuing Peeta once they see that he is alive - and being used as a propaganda mouthpiece for Snow and the Capital.  However, after witnessing case after case of Capital brutality, she is forged into the Mockingjay - rebel leader and avenging angel of a growing dissent movement.  She has been transformed from the unexpected hero, national sweetheart and puppet of the Capital propaganda spinners that emerged from the 74th Hunger Games into the steely blade that would cut the Capital down.  But is she any more free under Heavensbee and Coin than she was under Snow and the Capital?

Review: As we all know I'm sure, Hoffman died while filming this movie, although much of his scenes were already shot.  But the director has acknowledged that they needed to do some creative editing and work arounds to keep Hoffman's Heavensbee role intact and still tell the same story.  Unfortunately, this movie seems like the entire story has been creatively edited with some novel work-arounds, not just Hoffman's part.  The story flows in a somewhat choppy, random track - though it eventually gets to a decent pace.  The first 30 minutes are slow and pretty lame.  I felt like I was watching a chick flick like the Notebook for something - I just couldn't get into the story or the acting.  I don't know if some of these scenes were shot after Hoffman died, but it seemed like Jennifer Lawrence was just phoning it in on these scenes, almost is if she were distracted.  After about 30 minutes, we get outside of 13 and start getting a bit more pace and action.  The acting seemed to improve as well.  I'd have to say that this is one of the worst performances that I've seen from Lawrence.  I've like her in just about everything I've seen her in, but in this one, she's good, but not up to her usual great that I've come to expect.  Hoffman mumbles and barely moves throughout the entire movie and I have to think he was suffering while filming.  Josh Hutchinson as Peeta gives a worthy performance as does Sutherland as Snow.  Woody Harrelson as Haymitch and Elizabeth Banks as Effie continue to provide comic relief.  The rest of the main characters are pretty much noise, including Liam Hemsworth as Katniss' almost love interest Gale.

I know this was a setup movie for the final coming next year so I shouldn't have expected too much.  But just like Deathly Hallows Part 1, this film seems to focus on setup at the expense of delivering anything more than prelude.  The book Mockingjay could have been an action-packed 2½ hour final of this movie franchise, cutting some of the fluff from the book and focusing on the core story and action sequences.  Instead, they decided to cut it in two and there just wasn't enough material in the book for a 4 hour, 2-part story.  So they had to fill in to get the extra hour (plus).  I'm hoping that most of that filler was in this movie and that they get this franchise back on track with the final next year.  This wasn't a bad movie.  This wasn't an average/OK movie.  Mockingjay Part 1 is a good movie.  But I've come to expect more from the actors, writers and production crew of the Hunger Games movies and this one leaves me feeling like I sat down for a big turkey dinner yesterday and someone brought out a good plate of lasagna.  Not a bad meal, but not the feast I'd been hoping for.

Daughter thought it was better than Catching Fire B+
Son thought is was the worst of the three so far C+
Son thought is was pretty good B

I'd give it 2½ out of 4 (B-)

 $$@&% $$@&% $$@&$

edited to fix grievous spelling errors
« Last Edit: December 04, 2014, 05:44:09 AM by willwallace »

Offline bbell

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Re: Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2014, 07:20:48 PM »
I must agree with your review. The whole movie seemed a little bit off. I blame it on the Hollywood money machine. You are right that this could have been one long movie of 3 hours. Instead they decided to go the Twilight and Harry Potter route and split the last book into two movies. It was so slow in the beginning and parts of it kept focusing on personal stuff, that after the movie I had to go to Wikipedia to make sure what I thought was going to happen in part 2 was going to happen. Suspicions confirmed. I could only give it 2 stars.

As for Jennifer's performance I will have to wait until part 2, to see if she was bored or playing her character perfectly. Because she seemed lost throughout the whole movie as if her mind was on something else. Which I believe her character would definitely feel if she was put into that situation.
You must forgive them. So many people did not slay the bogey man living under their bed as a child. Thus they feel him everywhere, hence the need to always carry a gun. Living in fear of the bogey man is a heavy burden for people to carry. So sad.