Ladies, gentlemen, and other such creatures, today we look at the film (loose use of the word) that is Mockingjay: Part 1 of the Hunger Games series. For those of you who don’t know – nah, let’s cut the shit, you’ve all heard of this steaming turd, let’s get right into it. We pick up from where Catching Fire left off. Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence has been rescued from the last Hunger Games by the rebels. I’m sure they have some other name, but really they are just a backdrop for Katniss’ emotional turmoil, so they’ll remain “the rebels.” Finnick and several others have also been rescued and brought to the underground headquarters of the rebels at District 13. Katniss is reunited with Gale, played by Liam Hemsworth, and her family. She is introduced to President Coin, played by Julianne Moore, which urges Katniss to spearhead their own propaganda campaign against President Snow, and in return offers to save Peeta. Though as they only report stuff that’s actually happened, I don’t know why they bother calling it propaganda, but hey, it sounds more political that way. The plot conflict comes in the shape of ol’ whiny, mumbling, unsure-of-himself-and-highly-annoying Peeta. A dumbfounded Katniss stares at a TV screen as Peeta seems to have become President Snow’s face of propaganda, pleading with the other districts to not take part in the rebellion and be complacent with the Capitol. The rebels show instant anger towards Peeta, and Katniss has to reconcile the fate of her friend and the responsibilities she now bares as the face of the rebellion.
Honestly, that’s the best I can do without vomiting and hating myself as a pseudo-reviewer. The reality of this film is that it’s EXTREMELY boring. I’m not one for mindless violence or action for that matter, but in the first two films you at least had the actual games to keep you entertained. I was highly skeptical of this franchise as it seemed to me like another Twilight teen fiction. However, female colleagues and friends vehemently and loyally swore otherwise, convincing me that there’s a lot socio-political factors at play which makes this series worthwhile. Well, NO. While I have to watch Katniss’ inability to make one adult decision and put the fates of thousands before the fate of just one of her friends, I have to watch what I can only accurately sum up as a dystopian American Idol. What dress will Katniss wear? How can we bring out the angry Katniss, how can we bring out the true Katniss, the Katniss that will INSPIRE. And while I’m watching this and trying to figure out what’s the least disruptive way to kill myself in a movie theater, (after all I care about my fellow movie goers,) I get glimpses of one of the two scenarios. A whinefest between Peeta and Katniss, or a somber, brooding Katniss being comforted by Liam Hemsworth, whose only purpose is to be a handsome shoulder to cry on.
I’m not going to get into the ending of the movie so as not to spoil anything, but I will say this: under logical scrutiny, just about every premise on which the writing hangs falls apart at the slightest touch. It’s designed poorly, it has plot armor all over it, and makes this feel like a Saturday morning cartoon as opposed to a dystopian film. In reality, people die, and not just the ones we introduce 5 seconds before we kill them. In reality, cruel and intelligent dictators don’t make silly gambits that a Bond villain would. In reality, this is just silly teen fiction and its socio-political context is so absurdly black and white (rich vs poor, good vs bad) that even a high schooler should laugh at this. Boring, poorly made film. 6/10, don’t waste your time. BUT, there is Natalie Dormer in it with a bad-ass haircut and tattoos. So we got that going for us, which is nice.
***SPOILERS*** Just food for thought for those of you who’ve seen the film. Let’s be honest, if this was actually written to be remotely realistic, with a competent dictator, Gale and every other commando rescuing Peeta would have entered that building only to see crossbowmen on the parapets with Rains of Castamere playing. G bloody G.