Friday, 14 July 2017
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014)
Katniss Everdeen awakes in the supposedly-destroyed District 13, having been spirited there by a secret resistance cabal that had somehow infiltrated pretty much to the heart of the Capitol's oppressive regime. Once there, she's reunited with her family and with prospective love interest Gale, but separated from other prospective love interest Peeta, who is still in the hands of the enemy.
Impromptu revolts have already broken out in several Districts and District 13's leader wants Katniss to serve as a figurehead to merge these isolated bands of rebels into a single force dedicated to the overthrow of the Capitol. Our heroine is initially reluctant, but the Capitol's decision to flatten her home District and murder something like 90% of the population goes a long way to changing her mind.
The Divergent and Maze Runner series of books get steadily sillier and sillier as they reveal more about their setting (and in the Maze Runner's case, it starts pretty silly to begin with). I've not read the Hunger Games books after the first one, but if these movies are anything to go by, the same progression holds true with them as well. For example, the film cites the pre-massacre population of District 12 as ten thousand people: which is a farcically low number given the size and opulence of the Capitol that oppresses it. Slave caste societies - which is what this plainly is - need more people on the bottom than on the top. And the less said about the actions of the Capitol throughout the film, the better. Certainly their planning department seems to value "is this action evil?" far more than "will this action actually help is?"
On a more personal note, I'm also annoyed that the most interesting character introduced in the second film - crazy axe lady Johanna - is relegated to about 20 seconds of screen time in this one. Boo, I say. Boo!
Mockingjay Part 1 includes some pretty decent action sequences, but it fails to situate them in a satisfying narrative context.