Sunday, December 7, 2014

Movie Review: The Hunger Games- Mockingjay (Part 1)

The latest installment of The Hunger Games movie franchise is easily the darkest film of the year. I'm not talking about the film's content either [although it's pretty grim itself]. No, I mean the picture quality is literally black as midnight. Lots of scenes take place in secret underground bunkers or inside abandoned buildings and it makes for one of the muddiest pictures I've ever seen. Be prepared to squint and grimace slightly while watching this one. Of course the film's ridiculously forced love triangle and sheer lazy directing/camera work might have you doing that anyways.

What's my beef with The Hunger Games you ask? In case you missed my evisceration of the last film, I'll summarize by saying they're just way too bland for my liking. Mockingjay 1.0 falls victim to the same troubles that plagued Catching Fire, and suffers from some new mistakes as well. The script is still a big bag of "meh" [as most films adapted from 'Young Adult' fiction tend to be] but Mockingjay lacks the dazzling set pieces that propelled the first two films. Jennifer Law...er, Katniss, is no longer a wee young lass trapped inside the games. That means no more crazy fight sequences or wacky costumes from the Capitol. Now Katniss is transitioning into the role of freedom fighter and hanging out with the resistance in their less than glamorous subterranean headquarters. Because Mockingjay was divided into two films to maximize profits, that means all the "cool" stuff is being saved for the series finally, which leaves nothing but exposition and Jennifer Lawrence making "OMG" faces every five minutes in this one.

The lame script and, you know...lack of any real climax, could have been countered by some crafty camera work or truly standout performances. Mockingjay 1.0 has none of that. John Wick might be the most cliched movie ever made; yet the directors counter the banality of it's plot with awesome camera tricks and direction that keeps the audience engaged. Mockingjay is by comparison...a snoozefest. The fact that Julianne Moore and Philp Seymour Hoffman share multiple scenes together, which constitutes an Amber Waves & Scotty J. Boogie Nights reunion, is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1's only saving grace.

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