Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1

Ok, I have some catching up to do, so here are some movies I saw and then we'll get to the new Hunger Games movie.

Cantinflas - Do you remember that one movie called Saving Mr. Banks? Yeah, I'm a little hazy on it too, but this movie is like that movie

The November Man - Oh yeah...this movie exists...

The Equalizer - This was the movie I saw when Boxtrolls came out and...well...I wish I saw Boxtrolls instead.

Gone Girl - Err...yeah, haven't gotten to see this one either, but, from what I've heard, I really need to see it.

Alexander and the no good terrible something something day - Yeah...I saw this movie. But, for what it was worth, I laughed more than I probably should have.

Fury - Pretty damn good.

John Wick - Pretty damn well...

Nightcrawler - This movie is probably going to end up in my top 5. It was pretty fantastic!

Big Hero 6 - One of the better animated movies to come out this year. Also, stay through the credits.

Interstellar - The technique behind this movie is great. The visuals, the special effects, the intense moments through space just work like those guys that bust gangs for a living. Unfortunately, the follow through with the story is not as great. But, if anything, it's a movie that people are going to be talking about at least.

Dumb and Dumber To - I laughed. According to "expert" reviews and movie goers, maybe I shouldn't have laughed as much as I did, but...well, I just did. That's all I really need to say.

Alright! Here we go!

Imagine that Return of the Jedi was split into two parts and that the first part was just people talking and waiting around until they finally devise a plan to rescue Han Solo. There might be some conflict and a couple of things happening.  Maybe Luke is having some self doubt on the rescue mission and everything afterwards, but it's mostly just marking time to get to the actual meat of the story. And then the rescue on Han Solo finally occurs, but that exciting sequence happens off-screen. And then the movie ends with a promise that things will finally get resolved in the next movie. This is roughly what the new Hunger Games movie is like.

I'll admit to not liking the Hunger Games as much as everyone else, but they have been decent movies so far. The first movie was okay and the second one was a little better, so maybe things are going to come together for a really strong finish. Unfortunately, we have to wait a bit for that to happen because this is the new age of adapting single books into multiple parts just to squeeze out as much money as one can. This decision is what makes The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1 a chore to watch.

Mocking Jay Part 1 picks up where the last movie ended and all of the good guys are trying to start a revolution. In order to do that, they need an inspiring leader to fulfill the role as "The Mocking Jay" and it's up to Katniss Everdeen to take on this position. During the meanwhile, they find out that Peeta is being held captive by the Badguys. Also, Peeta is being forced to discourage the entire revolution which complicates things.

Katniss agrees to be "The Mocking Jay" as long as the rebel leaders agree to rescue Peeta along with all of the other Hunger Games winners who are under the control of the main Badguys. Unfortunately, Katniss is having a bit of trouble with the scripted propaganda videos she acts in, so everyone decides that she needs to do her own thing in order to be inspiring. This requires a camera crew to follow her around and exploit her emotions during tragic events, even if that event involves people tragically dying on account of them showing up to help.

Honestly, the whole part where the crew callously tries to film a "moment" from Katniss no matter how terrible the situation is brings up some pretty dark subject matters. It shows the dark side of a revolution that still might be for a better cause, it shows how one might do some shady things if it might push people in the right direction. The previous two movies have been lacking in a bit of hard-biting commentary other than "OOooohhhh, oppression towards the poor is bad, etc, etc," but this could be exactly the kind of thing this franchise needs in order stand out.

Unfortunately, The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1 has yet to go anywhere because it has the burden of only being a fragment of a complete story. Catching Fire had a bit of this problem as well, but at least it had a beginning that was leading somewhere, even if it cuts itself off with a cliffhanger. Where ever the second movie was going has yet to come up in the new movie because The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1 is only there to bridge a gap that has yet to exist with the final movie not being out yet.

At this point, it feels unfair to really judge this movie since we have yet to find out how it's going to work in the grand scheme of things. But, as of now, the movie isn't even trying to appeal to anyone else except for the hardcore fans who have already read the books. The movie jumps in the middle of everything and then just leaves in the middle of everything as well, which is what made it really hard for me to sit through this movie. I trust that things will work out in the end, it's just going to be a sort of a wait to get there. Until then, I really can't imagine anybody but the devoted fans to be able to really get anything out of this movie.