REVIEW: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

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Hollywood can be a greedy place. Sure, they pump out sequels and remakes almost every week, but The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1 is the most blatant cash grab we’ve seen in a long time. The final book in the trilogy is being split into two films.  Why you may ask? You’ll still be asking that question after you leave the film.

I have not read the novels, but enjoyed the first two films.  They weren’t perfect, but they were thought-provoking, well-constructed blockbuster films.  I was excited that the third film would change-up the premise from going back into the games and focusing on the revolution against the government.  That’s where we left things off in Catching Fire.  Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) was being asked to be the leader of the rebels fighting against the Capitol.  That’s where Mockingjay: Part 1 picks up…and stays for the first act of its film.  Will Katniss become the leader?  Really? You’re actually trying to make us think she won’t?

mooreShe does become the leader (is that even a spoiler alert?), and with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) being used by the Capitol for their PSAs, the film becomes The Media Games.  The two trade off releasing statements to the public in an insanely tedious face-off.  This is probably the best action movie of the year for publicists (such interesting phrasing!), but for everyone else, it’s a bore.  Remember that great scene in the trailer when Katniss takes down 2 fighter jets with one arrow? Well, enjoy that moment because that’s the only action Katniss sees for the whole film.  The movie even shows that scene twice just to try to quench our thirst for seeing our girl kick butt.  The rest of the time she stands around looking concerned.

That’s no fault of J.Law. She does what she can with the barebones material.  Any movie that has Jennifer Lawrence and Julianne Moore (who joins the cast as President Coin) sharing scenes has a lot going for it, and it’s great seeing them together, but they might as well be sitting on stationary bikes spinning their wheels.  This story just goes nowhere.  There’s scenes where you can just feel they are padding out the 2-hour-plus running time.

The film does get slightly interesting at the end, but then it’s over.  It’s not even that stimulating of an cliffhanger. It feels more like the first development of a spectacular finale.  This entire story could have probably been told in 30 minutes, and then they could have left the last 90 minutes (heck, even another 2 hours) to wrap things up.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 isn’t a total travesty.  It still looks great and it’s got a fantastic cast, but there is no reason for this finale to be split into 2 parts.

Grade:  C+

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