Once upon a time, a seemingly simple decision was made. A decision that would later determine the fate of film adaptations of young adult novels for the foreseeable future. What was the decision you ask? When the final Harry Potter book came out many wondered how a book of such volume could be adapted properly into a feature film. So far the other Potter films had been able to do it (though some Potter enthusiasts might argue at the expense of the stories' true spirit;) but many claimed the only way the last story could be done justice would be to split the final book into two films. What a preposterous idea to leave your audience in the middle of a story! Yet studios also saw this as their chance to extend the franchise. After all, might as well keep the Harry Potter series alive for as long as they could right? This decision and its predictable success (since the die hard fans aren't going anywhere until the story is finished..) inspired studios to do the same of every possible last installment in a series whether it was necessary or not. So that brings us to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.
Now I'm not saying whether or not I agree with the choice in the case of Harry Potter and how that decision impacted other films....but part 1 of Deathly Hallows definitely held its own as an installment. But the plot of Mockingjay Part 1 on the other hand, is very obviously stretched thin. It is quite clear from a story telling standpoint that this film as a standalone piece fails because it's all setup no payoff. One might argue that the great installments in classic trilogies leave their audience hanging (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back or Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers...) but they would be forgetting just how much was actually accomplished....and accomplished in a satisfying way. Herein lies the problem with Mockingjay Part 1: not much really happens. At least not much that couldn't have been explained in a good 20-30 minutes or so.
I thought the first Hunger Games was pretty well average, but Catching Fire really surprised me and left me excited for where the story would head next. Unfortunately though it didn't really go anywhere too exciting. Most of the plot really consisted of Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss whining about Peeta's safety and obsessing over his every move. I heard the name Peeta uttered so frequently, that by the end of the film I found myself really craving a gyro. I'll be honest...it's been really hard to comprehend any of her thought processes concerning these two guys, and it's basically exhausting to even try. And I have to say the intended inspiring acts of bravery she was meant to inspire people with, were the most preposterous... [SPOILER highlight to read] Oh oops everyone at the hospital I visited to inspire died...but at least we made a good propaganda tv spot out of it. [/end SPOILER] Inspiring stuff.
All complaining and disappointment aside...it's not a bad film....just not a very exciting one. The last two films give you edge on your seat moments...but nothing major or shocking happens almost the whole time (I did say almost...) The last film worked hard to set Hunger Games apart from any other teeny bopper film series, and you can see how the work is continuing on here, but sadly it doesn't match the heights of its predecessor in terms of action, intrigue or surprise. Still, this is a franchise you can seriously...and seeing where the story takes you is fun! It just would have been nicer to see the story not in separate parts. Sadly I think this is the weakest of the franchise. Oh. But I will say it had a lot of fantastic cat humor. Best part of the movie hands down. EMILY SCORE: 6.5/10....7 when I feel generous.