It has been done. I have seen the first part of the movie based off of the worst book out of the three in the Hunger Games series. Some people may or may not agree with me, but book three was just not as captivating as book one and two and for good reason, it loses the bonding processes for confusing action scenes, political spats and war. It also throws evil gestures of presidential power struggles out of left field and loses the readers reasons to continue reading. But I DID read it and it will be integrated into my review.
Down and Dirty: [Just how you like it]
The Hunger Games came out with the first part of their last movie with all of those lovable events that you so cherished from the books. Such as Katniss hiding, Katiness crying, and Katniss hiding and crying. Its a medley of Katniss and her hysterics and for good or bad, it really makes you wonder why they bothered to split this into two films. The entire movie is filled with bloat and could have easily been scraped for a leaner and more hard hitting three hour movie of the final book. Decent performances from the cast, but terrible editing as far as piecing the story together and kind of terrible direction too.
|Katniss is disappointed that her grand prize was homeless kids.|
So I was never that impressed with the third book. It was probably the least interesting of the series. Even though it had a lot of dynamics to it, it just wasn't as fulfilling because there wasn't a central focus. It was as if Suzanne Collins was like "Oh F*** it, I'm just going to add all kinds of random crap and sell this turd to the masses so I can end this series already." It had all the smut of the typical third act where everyone was at war and there is only one resolution, a super important death and a heart to heart afterward. It was just too fast of a campaign and as many people know, wars aren't won with a few promos and within a few weeks. They are won over months of struggle, planning, attacking and counter attacking. Especially if you don't have the materials to do so and you are fighting a superior entity.
The movie makes this story just as dreary as the book, however they take creative liberty to move scenes around a bit to make more sense visually. I enjoyed the fact that we started out with Katniss hiding out instead of Katniss at ground zero of District 12 like the book started out. That was an appropriate tie in to what has happened since we last saw her. But with all of that, I didn't feel much emotional flow or great story dynamics. It felt more like a collection of scenes that didn't have much feeling at all between them. And the more you watch it, the more you realize that every character, but Katniss becomes a whole lot of background noise. This was not the fault of the actors as they all did their part, this was the problem with the editing and direction. Can't quite put my finger on it, but it was missing something major.
This entire film had a lot of dramatic fluff and emotionally vacant bull shit. The scenes that were most fulfilling were fleeting at best. It was nice to see Gale and Katniss hunt and be together, but they didn't give us the reconnection and time they had in the original story. It was very disjointed. In fact, its becomes of this that it was harder to connect with the characters and the story itself.
|I'm right behind you. For your sweet ass, I mean your safety.|
What worked well for the second film, worked less in this one. Its understandable Katniss is unraveling and losing control of her emotions due to the circumstances. But its confusing when she is not. She bounces too much back and forth for us to appreciate the hysterics more. Jennifer Lawrence does fine breaking down, but it can feel a bit over dramatic and over done. I am not sure how she can go from completely absorbed in her grief to determination in a few short minutes per scene. I understand they have a story to create here, but this is the one instance where her personal thoughts are actually valid enough to give us more context for her transition phases.
For those of you who are use to my traditional long list of complaints, I know I changed it up a bit for this review. There weren't any noticeable nit picks or small insights that really caught my attention. However here is a more poignant list of issues/commentary:
Gale and Katniss Chemistry:
|He's totally thinking about sex, but she just wants to cuddle.|
The point of the rebonding with Gale was to make the decision to chose between the two much harder in the end. I just didn't see that going on as much as I liked. They were together, but it was as if he was just a random body guard who is some what friendly than an old friend that had feelings for her. The movie spent less time on personal relationships and more time on action scenes. Which sort of blows because even though the rebellion is going on, personal relationships are considerably important in the book series.
They Need to Fire Katniss's Make Up Artist:
I know they were going for the all natural, war bumpkin look, but I was super surprised at the make up job this time. Katniss seems just a bit too natural even for the movies. I don't know, I didn't care for it.
|This man looks like he needs a Pabst Blue Ribbon in his hand.|
Which brings me to my second point. Can an Avox whistle? Pollux whistles the three notes that are so famously synonymous with the rebellion to get the mockingjays to repeat it back to him. Yet that seems considerably impossible. He could not produce 3 different notes without a tongue.
Effie Replaces Everyone:
For those who read the book, I'm sure all of you are going to be a bit disappointed that Katniss's prime make up crew was removed from the film version entirely. I mean, we all love Effie and her drizzled commentary about Katniss's foul, rebellious mood swings, but I did miss the crew and what they represented. They all had their own fun personalities. Their pitifulness as a whole with being saved from the capital and wallowing in their non-beauty and lack of access to resources was a highlight in the book's rather monotonous atmosphere for the first half.
OK so this was so freaken random that it just annoyed me. I remember that the hunting above ground issue was one of Katniss's conditions to becoming the mockingjay and skipped over it entirely in the bargaining scene. This one just came out of no where and lacked context. Did she ever mention she wanted to go hunting before then? No. No she didn't. She was too busy falling apart.
|This brother knows he's destined to die.|
Boggs was a pretty important character in the book that seemed to have more personality and dimension to him. Strangely he feels much more like a background character in the film. Like henchman number 35 that nobody cares about with a few speaking lines.
The destruction of the dam seemed like an unexpected event. So how did District 13 know about the damn being destroyed so quickly? And how in the world did the Capitol get back their power? If the dam was their main source of power, it would take months to get that power back online.
Now lets say they had backup generators. Fine. Plausible. But why didn't they come on instantly when the power went out? Also if all the power was out, how did anyone watch their messages? And what resources had back up power and what didn't? They said their defense grid was offline, so why the need to jam all of their signals? Wouldn't their radars also be down if their defense grid was down? Yes, I really want to know because their reasoning made no sense.
So the Avox uses sign language to communicate. One would expect there could be some language barriers with this, but nope. Apparently everyone is fluent in sign language in this world. How convenient.
Jennifer Lawrence Has Reached the "Stopped Giving a Shit" Phase:
It could be my imagination, but Jennifer Lawrence really looks like she doesn't want to play this role anymore. She looks tired and just so not into the character that sometimes its painful to watch her on screen. Although I thought it was pretty hilarious as an actress that she was trying to act bad on purpose when they were filming the first promo for the Mockingjay. I don't blame her for not wanting to do this anymore if my assessment was correct. I bet she is pinned as Katniss and nobody talks about the several other roles she has taken the past several years. Silver Lining Playbook being one of her better ones.
The Hanging Tree/If We Burn, You Burn With Us:
Probably by far the nicest part of the movie. Watching the rebellion unfold and people cheering as they kill their captors and free themselves of tyranny. However Jennifer Lawrence can't really sing and she sounds as if she is afraid to in the film. Her voice cracks a bit and it takes a while for her to get some rhythm and soul in there. It eventually sounds suitable, but from what I remember, Katniss is supposed to be quite the singer. Sooo...
|The tattoo/rocker chick look totally shines on her.|
So time for something positive eh? Yeah, I've been following Natalie Dorman since the Tudors and man this girl can act. She is often playing the femme fatale roles, but this time she just plays a bad ass PR director with a half shaved head. I was very impressed by her look and I like her unique role, however I do think she is a bit out of place in the film. I wish they bumped her character up more because her personality at times didn't match her look. I think this is bad direction on the director's part because I've seen her in many other roles and she has considerable charm on screen.
So if you are looking forward to watching this film, it could go either way. I can't say it blew me away, but it wasn't as horrible either. It was just a whole lot of "meh." The performances could have been sharper, the editing could have been way better, the effects were nice, but it all seemed so rigid just like President Coin's eating schedule. I say the charm was lost on this film and it feels like a long teasing place holder for the grand finale rather than being its own part of the tale. One wonders if the next one will be any better. They better hope so because they got money to make.
What did you think of the new Hunger Games movie? Was it all that you hoped it would be?
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DnD Rating: 7/1O
Post Credit: Yes there is a post credit thing, but its not worth sticking around for. Its not an extra scene or anything that is critical to the story.