For Reel

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
November 24, 2014, 1:21 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Francis Lawrence
2 Stars
The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 1The criticisms regarding Hollywood’s new penchant for dragging out franchises with two-parter finales have been exhausted by now, but even having that awareness heading into this particular cash grab doesn’t prepare one for its incompleteness. It’s hardly a movie. Here’s a film about opposing forces on the brink of war with a conflicted heroine continuing her journey to become the leader that the people of Panem need. Only, by the end credits, all that has unfolded are preliminary moves in the battle, and Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is largely the same conflicted revolutionary she was in the beginning. This is two hours of treading water–the barrage of gimmicks of the titular games’ themselves have been removed from the series in favor of a rotating half-dozen depressing, darkly-lit sets. The Harry Potter series was successful in the first part of its finale in the way that it broke away from the rhythms of the previous films and instead concerned itself with evolving character relationships. Here, however, the familiar characters hardly register as such. Gale (Liam Hemsworth), who takes center stage for the first time in the series, is still the vanilla hunk that was thinly sketched in the first installment. This is insulting, lazy storytelling–no matter how many promises Part 2 delivers on, it’s hard to justify this insulting, charmless installment.

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