Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2 (2014-2015)

November 29, 2015

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore
Director: Francis Lawrence (Catching Fire, I Am Legend)

Bottom Line: Mockingjay, the finale of the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series, clocks in at a brutal 4 hours and 30 minutes – and it’s excruciating. I liked the first movie just fine and the second one I felt was okay, but this final film is 4.5 hours of not much at all. Katniss has escaped the Quarter Quell games and is now holed up with the rebel alliance, a group of people led by Julianne Moore’s President Coin looking for someone to rally behind as their poster child and Katniss Everdeen fits the bill perfectly. And that’s what Mockingjay part 1 is and very little else. It’s a total snooze fest. Part 2 might be worse. In that film, the rebels march towards the capital to take out President Snow, which seems like it might have a climactic end to it, but even Snow’s demise is a let down and so is the whole finale.

I love me some Jennifer Lawrence, but I’m grateful that her ties to this series are over. It’s just not that good. Katniss is a good character, but I’m not sure anyone else in this series is. I just hate to see Lawrence’s talent wasted on something so simple. I’ve never been a fan of the two main guy characters in this series. The Jacob-Edward love triangle is trite and takes away from Katniss’ real fight, which is with the Capitol. Honestly, how necessary to the plot is the character of Gale? How likable is Peeta? These characters only exist to provide side conflicts for the heroin. Mostly, Mockingjay was way too long and for a blockbuster popcorn flick, it seriously lacked action. This movie had two hours of material that could have hit the cutting room floor, but the new trend in Hollywood is to break the last book of a successful movie franchise into two parts. It was smart for Harry Potter, but it’s been utterly ridiculous for everyone else that has tried it.

I would only recommend either of the Mockingjay movies to someone that is already predisposed to liking them. Or maybe they won’t. My wife has been watching Harry Potter on repeat to wash the taste of this movie out of her mouth. If you like the concept of The Hunger Games, I’d recommend Koushun Takami’s novel Battle Royale or the Japanese film adaptation of his book; it’s way more interesting, violent, and action packed, with none of the silly love triangle filler.

Replay Value: No way I’d ever watch this last entry again.
Sequel Potential: Is it possible? The Hunger Games are a cash cow, so some sequel or spin off or remake will almost certainly surface some day.
Oscar Potential: Maybe some technical categories, but probably not.

Grade: 3.5/10 (Forgettable/Just Skip It)

SPOILER: How is Collins going to kill off Primrose after Katniss sacrifices her life for her and sets the whole series in motion? I can’t imagine how fans of the series would be happy with that ending.

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