Of all the things that made the last installment in the Hunger Games series – Catching Fire – so enjoyable, it was the strong performances from high caliber actors and intense and very gripping story which made it such a damn good time at the movies. With one book left to tackle, Hollywood did as only Hollywood can do: split it unnecessarily into two movies spaced a year apart (money!). The outcome, at least the half that I’ve been able to see, left a lot to be desired. Almost all of the excitement from the last film vanished, and I never once got pulled it by a character or moment from the story.
Picking up after the beginning of the rebellion in the prior movie, Katniss, and her family and friends, are now living in another district. Peeta is behind held in the capitol, his brain washed by the president, spewing propaganda to counter the rebels. The entire film is essentially a very slow back and forth of Peeta being recorded saying something bad about the rebels, and Katniss being recorded saying something bad about President Snow. It’s quite repetitive, and there weren’t spurts of action exciting enough to keep me wide-eyed and intrigued. I’m not saying I needed it to be a popcorn summer hit kind of film with all-out action, but boy was this dragging and in need of a little firepower. Also, it may have just been me, but half the movie felt like Jennifer Lawrence walking slowly to look at something and then breaking down in tears. It happened so often that it just got humorous by the end.
All of the A-list actors that brought so much goodness to Catching Fire – Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman – as well as newcomer Julianne Moore, were quite underwhelming across the board. Nobody gave a performance that I can point to as a standout, or bright spot. Nobody seemed really inspired, and when you put that together with a slow story, it doesn’t turn out well in the end.
I’d like to think that the franchise took a big downturn only due to the splitting of the last book into two movies. My hope is that this time next year, the final movie regains that fire and excitement and ends with a bang. Mockingjay – Part I felt like boring holdover material, which in a word, was disappointing.
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART I: (out of 4)
Filed under: Movie review | Tagged: donald sutherland, elizabeth banks, francis lawrence, jeffrey wright, jennifer lawrence, josh hutcherson, julianne moore, katniss, liam hemsworth, mockingjay, philip seymour hoffman, stanley tucci, the hunger games, the hunger games: mockingjay - part I, woody harrelson | Leave a comment »