Mockingjay Part 1

I have really enjoyed the first two Hunger Games films.  Jennifer Lawrence proves forever lays to rest the argument that women can’t be action heroes.  Her portrayal of Katniss Everdeen is fierce and powerful.  I wanted to be ready for the final installment of the franchise so I  streamed Mockingjay Part 1 to the XBox and gave it a watch.

They should have made one really long movie rather then break it up.  I understand why they did — the financial incentives to milk this for all it was worth were always going to trump story, but there wasn’t enough material to carry a movie.  Katniss broods and proves she can’t act.  (Actually a tough thing for a good actress to do).  They blow up shit.  Or rather other people blow up shit.  It’s the capital that destroys the hospital, faceless hoards who blow up the dam and hydroelectric plant, the capital that bombs district 13.

There is an exciting rescue mission to rescue Katniss’s love, Peeta.  Except it’s not very exciting when you’re watching it on a heads up camera display.  I haven’t read past the first book, but this struck me as a bad decision based on being true to the underlying material.  Maybe in the book Katniss didn’t go to the capital to free her sweetie, but in the movie she sure as hell should have gone along.  If I’d been adapting this that’s what I would have done.  Because Katniss watching the action on a TV screen is boring and it effectively neuters her.  Yeah, yeah, I understand how they wouldn’t want to risk their symbol but she seems passive as a result.

Basically Katniss, the protagonist of this film never actually protags.  She’s taken places where she can react to things.  React to the hospital getting bombed, react to the bombing of District 13, react to Peeta being rescued, react to Peeta trying to kill her.

Her impassioned speech after the hospital is bombed is her best moment, but truly the most effective thing a named character does in this movie is when Peeta breaks training and risks more torture to warn district 13 that they are about to be attacked.  Actually when you think about it Peeta is the hero of this particular installment.

Which is a shame because while I really like that character I want to see Katniss kicking ass, shooting arrows and taking names.

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