Tom Basham

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

In This Just OUT on November 23, 2014 at 8:18 am

hungergamesmockingjay-posterI was not hungry for another one of these movies, but it turns out “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1” was really just an appetizer. With a title this long you would think it would be more filling.

In the last movie, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence from “Silver Linings Playbook”) was saved by the rebel resistance, but the Capital folks grabbed her buddy Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson from “The Kids are Alright”). The resistance is led by President Coin (Julianne Moore from “Don Jon”), who needs Katniss to be the face of the revolution. It’s a shame all Katniss wants it to do is save Peeta.

So, the first third of the movie is spent convincing Katniss to believe in herself and something more than herself. The second third of the movie is spent watching her make a movie trailer to get the other districts to buy into the rebellion against the Capital. She doesn’t want to be the poster child for this war but she plays the part President Snow (Donald Sutherland from “The Mechanic”) has cast her in.

I have not read the books, but I have seen the movies, and I am in the group that thinks there was no reason to turn the Mockingjay thing into two movies. However, this is what studios do these days, ring as much box office as they can from the characters and the sets and pad the scenes for more screen time. Not much different than the indie movies I worked on where they show people driving places, getting out of the car and walking up to a house. Just add some dramatic music and a long crane shot and take your sweet time getting to the next plot point.

While I was annoyed at the slow pace and lack of progress in the story, it was nice to see the old gang. Watching Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s mastery as Plutarch Heavensbee brought even more weight to the role.

Perhaps I need to be more accepting of the episodic nature of the story as they did try to have some character development moments in this edition. I should be even more intrigued about the last movie and excited to see how it all winds up. Stay tuned for that review, but for bits of character work spread out in the two hour of this movie I will give it 3 stars out of 5. Finally, now I can say let the games come to an end.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker. Here is a link to his movie review site:

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