The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 – Does Anything Happen? – Review

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Photo Courtesy Lionsgate

Time to get ready for a whole lotta waiting for the next movie to come out in 2015.

Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is back, and, much like the last movie, she is messed up from the events of the last Hunger Games.  After being saved by the rebellion and taken to the outlawed and mysterious District 13, those who want to fight the dictatorial Capitol have special plans for our heroine.

Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) has been trying to convince the opposition leader, President Coin (Julianne Moore), Katniss can be used to unite the forces of rebellion in all of the districts.  He recognizes her status as an inspiration to the non-ruling classes struggling to overcome generations of oppression and fear, but Coin is not convinced Katniss has what it takes.

As you can imagine, Katniss proves herself and becomes a weapon of mass propaganda (complete with her own film crew to produce influential vignettes), but everything is put into jeopardy because Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is still alive, and evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland) has decided to use him as the voice of the Capitol.

Can the rebellion succeed?

Does Katniss still have feelings for Peeta?

At what cost?

They weren’t kidding when they attached Part 1to the title.

Much like The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings movies, this installment of The Hunger Games serves the sole purpose of keeping the franchise alive until the final, climactic film is released next year (and to make a boat load of money, so maybe it serves a dual purpose).  This is filler in every way you can look at it.  Good filler, but still filler.

Sadly, much of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is flat.  None of the characters are really changing all that much, and the shocking revelations are few and far between, leaving the audience with a story that keeps teasing and promising us something bigger is on the way (kind of like your parents trying to convince you to behave in November because Santa Claus is watching and taking notes for December).

In many ways, you have to appreciate The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 for individual moments more than in totality.  Director Francis Lawrence knows how to mine the material to make some sort of impression on the audience when the story does not.

He delivers some visually stunning sequences like public executions of the rebels, a wonderful intertwining of a big rescue mission with Finnick (Sam Clafin) taking to the TV to spill all of President Snow’s evil secrets, and a great action scene of Katniss finding her inner strength to battle a heinous Capitol attack on the defenseless.

Also, Lawrence, along with screenwriters Peter Craig and Danny Strong (based on the novel by Suzanne Collins), sets up the whole movie as a propaganda battle between the two sides fighting for the hearts and souls of the masses.

It is not the most scintillating of scenarios, and doesn’t deliver the action and emotion the audience craves, but it is a realistic portrayal of modern warfare people today can recognize and understand, which also helps take away time from the pathetic love triangle (Katniss is too strong for me to believe she would be torn between these two yahoos).

Jennifer Lawrence seems to be along for the ride, rather than captivating us, but I blame the lack of anything all that substantive happening in the movie or to her character.  It’s the same old challenges for her instead of anything new and exciting.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 better serve as a bland appetizer to an amazing main course, or people are going to be angry, and they learned all about revolution and rebellion watching these movies, so watch out!

2_5waffles_sml2 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material.

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