OK, a bit of house-keeping before I begin. I haven’t seen any of the other movies in the series, being the professional that I am however; I did wiki the plot synopsis for each during the trailers. This doesn’t preclude me from giving a fair review however. Part 1 & 2 of the Godfather are still both 5 star movies in their own right, all of the Toy Story movies can move a grown man to tears, and individually all the Transformers “films” can be described with the phrase “CGI wank”. The point I’m trying to make is that while the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts, but to be truly great the parts need to be at least good.
Now that my justification for not doing my homework is out of the way…
Harry Potter has a lot to answer for. Not only has the series lured the good children of the world towards witchcraft and away from the teaching of Jesus, they also introduced Hollywood to the poisonous idea that they could split the last entry of a franchise in two to make double the money. Mockingjay was not such an epic and complex novel that it needed two films to be told and this movie does suffer for it.
The basic plot of the movie is that Katniss Everdeen and her two male love interests lead an elite force (all of whom might as well be wearing red shirts) into a hostile city to assassinate the evil dictator and end the war. I’m not 100% but I believe this plot is a reference to the time that the United States killed Saddam Hussein and brought about peace in the Middle East. I kid; the movie is actually a lot more morally grey than I am giving it credit for. In fact many of its themes such as violence against civilians, propaganda and whether the ends justify the means seem particularly relevant in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris this last week. Teen vampire romance this ain’t.
As a kid who grew up watching Bond, it pains me to write this next sentence but the action scenes were much more exciting than anything in Spectre. They were violent, tense, well shot and went on for just long enough. So what we have here is a well shot action movie which alludes to real world problems, so why did I walk out feeling ‘meh’?
Lethargic (le-thar-gic) adj.
¹ of, relating to, or affected with lethargy; drowsy; sluggish; apathetic
² the pacing of Mockingjay: Part 2
Seriously, for every scene that has ‘cool’ action in it, or at least advances the plot, we are treated to four or five redundant scenes about nothing. Not to bang on about it, but this is what happens when you stretch enough material for one movie across two.
The other element that lets down this movie is just how bloody safe it is. You could be forgiven for looking at the poster and thinking that it is going to be edgy or subversive (or that the White Stripes are releasing a new album), but instead we hit the same plot points that we have seen a thousand times before. Perhaps the filmmakers assumed everyone in the audience had read the books and that they didn’t have to put in any effort hiding the twists that come in the third act. So now not only is Mockingjay moving at the pace of a stoned sloth, it’s also utterly predictable.
Katniss may be a better role model to younger girls than Bella Swan ever was (say what you will about Hunger Games, it isn’t Mormon propaganda) but ultimately fails to excite in her last outing. I didn’t hate this movie, but I can’t recommend it either.
Now that Hollywood has run out of young adult novels to adapt to the screen, it seems they may actually come up with a fresh new idea for once. That or readapt His Dark Materials (but properly this time with all the stuff about killing God left in). Hang on, what’s that? A new trilogy of Harry Potter movies set in America? Ah Hollywood you sly dogs, you really do know how to milk a cash cow until its udders bleed.