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Movie Breakdown: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

November 18, 2015

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The Impression:

Superstar Jennifer Lawrence is once again Katniss Everdeen.  The first entry in the two-part closer was a bore and a total cash-grab, so I’m guessing/hoping that Mockingjay – Part 2 is going to be wildly entertaining.  Regardless, I’m 100% prepared for the end of The Hunger Games series (even though the poster says I can’t be).

The Reality:

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is a tough one for me to review.  I haven’t read the books and therefore I have no idea about what may or may not have been different in the film.  Not to mention there’s also a ton of things I can’t comment on because if I do I’ll spoil the whole damn movie.  So, I’m going to keep this pretty broad, as I’m sure those of you who are book-readers will pull it apart on your own later, and if you’re like me and haven’t turned a single page, you probably just want to know if it’s a fitting conclusion to the story.  And it is, for the most part.

The film starts really strong.  Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence in stoic but vulnerable mode) is as eager as ever to take down President Snow, and her journey to just even possibly have a shot at him gets going quickly and is consistently thrilling.  This quest of hers makes up the first two-thirds of the film, and for that chunk I was completely hooked.  Near the third act though is where the movie starts to stumble.  Certain subplots get kind of glossed over and forgotten, some of the terrible things that happen aren’t particularly impactful, and the story concludes in a tame, predictable manner instead of in epic fashion.  There’s also some flat, tacked-on-feeling false endings that come along to further muddle up the last portion of the film.  In other words, Mockingjay – Part 2 starts out as though it’s going to finish super strong, but it actually ends up limping across the finish line.

Overall, I liked Mockingjay – Part 2, and it’s a film that I have no issue recommending.  I just can’t tag it with a note that says it’s an EPIC CONCLUSION or something similar, because in all honesty it’s more of a pretty alright wrap up film.

The Lesson:

We can all just move on from the whole YA thing now, right?  Seems to me that The Hunger Games quadrilogy is as good as the genre is going to get.

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Movie Breakdown: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

November 19, 2014

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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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