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Movie Breakdown: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

November 19, 2014

Film

People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

“If we burn, you burn with us.”  Katniss has had enough of President Snow’s shit and is ready to take him down do just enough to setup next year’s Mockingjay – Part 2, the sure-to-be-amazing conclusion to the Hunger Games series.  Womp womp womp?

The Reality:

Let me start by saying this, Mockingjay – Part 1 does what it’s supposed to do, which is get folks ready for Mockingjay – Part 2, and as a Hunger Games fan I enjoyed it.  The film is a bit clunky and doesn’t really get moving until the last half hour or so, but my adoration for the overall story kept me from feeling restless or bored.  Also, there’s Jennifer Lawrence.  Goddamn she’s good.  Lawrence seems to revel in the pressure of having such an enormous franchise rest solely on her shoulders, and her Katniss is electrifying and an absolute joy to watch.

With all of that being said, it’s not possible to deny the unsettling taste that Mockingjay – Part 1 left in my mouth.  Frankly speaking, the film is a total cash grab.  There’s nothing in its two hour runtime that couldn’t have been trimmed down to be the first act of a single final entry into the series, and I found its plodding, setup-oriented approach to be disappointing.  In fact, the movie is so much of a non-standalone effort that I doubt I’ll ever willingly watch it again just on its own – I’ll just wait for the inevitable ultimate edition that will undoubtedly carry some ridiculous name like Mockingjay: The Complete Rise Of Katniss Everdeen.  I realize this isn’t the first time a franchise has been inserted into the maximum money machine (hey there, Hobbit Trilogy), but it’s always a disappointing when it’s as blatantly done as Mockingjay – Part 1.

See the movie because you know you want to, but know going in that anything of real importance in the series is still a year away.

The Lesson:

Setup movies are kind of a bummer.

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