Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Teen novels turned into movies are capable of making big money. Twilight, Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, and of course The Hunger Games are box office gold. The first two movies in this series struck a chord beyond tween girls. Action, pageantry, and above all else a good story. Now the final chapter begins. Will it continue to captivate or play better in the pages of a novel?
The film opens a few months after the last movie ended. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is now recovering in District 13 after the games and District 12 are all but destroyed. She is angry over Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), confused about whether she loves him or Gale (Liam Hemsworth), and made into a propaganda machine with the help of Effie (Elizabeth Banks) and Haymitch (Woody Harrelson). Katniss must become a symbol of the rebellion and free the oppressed people of Pan Am from the evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland.)
We get a good look at the world of Pan Am beyond the Capitol and it really looks like a horrible place to live. The film does a good job of painting the picture of oppression. It lacks the action the games provided, but compensates with a good cast. Julianne Moore, Natalie Dormer, and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman all shine. We also get more of Gale this go around. The film is supposed to open us up to a bigger world, but for some reason it feels small. A lot of time is spent in the underground bunker of District 13 and it has a claustrophobic feel to it.
I think this film suffers from two major problems. The over the top costumes and fun of the capitol are just not present. I am aware that the tone of the book and film are different this go around. It just needed a couple of things to bring us more than doom and gloom. The films biggest problem is the stretch for one more sequel. The majority of the visits Katniss makes to other districts could have been done in montage. We spend a lot of time going no where and it feels like the pacing is off. I know the sequel will make more money and that is all that matters in Hollywood. It's not a bad movie, but it isn't my favorite. Stretching this film into two feels like it is happening at the cost of the things we loved about the first two. The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part One is a game that doesn't play as well as it's predecessors.