Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1:

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) walks amongst the ruins of her demolished home, District 12. Charred bodies are mounted atop one another, everything is rubble and any resemblance of her home is gone. During all this I couldn’t help but not—oh what’s the word—care.

No I refuse to keep talking about why I dislike the YA format, as I seem to do it for every review of one their adaptations. No, I will hammer the last nail into that coffin in the review for the final “Hunger Games” movie next fall. But let me say that the “Part 1” (*sigh*) did absolutely nothing to make me rethink my position, but instead validated it more.

After whatever the events were in “Catching Fire”, “Mockingjay: Part 1” gives all first of two-parters a bad name by stretching a one-act concept over two grueling, sluggish hours.

The movie spends most of the time in the bunker known as District 13 where everyone is prepping for the epic revolution by sitting around and moping. No one is saying of value to anyone and most of the characters barely get more than a few lines.

Though Lawrence is proving in better works to be the best young actress alive, here her emotions border on crying or almost crying. That’s not her fault; it’s her characters. Katniss is the reluctant hero who seems to have no mind of her own. All her decisions are based off whatever is happening to those around, and when she’s told something she just seems to go along with it.

The same goes for all of her followers who rally around her inspiring reactions to situations she’s thrust into. These people have no minds of their own. The movies political subtext lies in the propaganda videos of her, which causes the people watching to mimic whatever she’s doing.

If she’s mad, they’re mad; if she’s singing, they’re singing. I’m sure they would sell their children for money to rush to American Eagle of they saw her wearing a polo.

Maybe I’d like these movies more if they were at least pretty to look at. But based on the environments I would appear these movies don’t make a bagillion dollars.

All the bland, gray rubble looks recycled from the last set we saw, everything seems to take place in the same four rooms and whenever a moment of sheer action is about to occur its either two minutes long (if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen all the action) or smash cuts away to hours later when people are back to sulking.

One scene involves an attack on 13 by the Capitol that reminded me of the episode of “South Park” where Kenny must lead Heaven in a battle against Hell. The joke was the you never actually see the battle as the commander goes “Oh, this battle is so epic!”

Here the joke is on us, as we never actually see any ships attacking 13 and instead get “battle updates” by the people inside. What? Were they trying to pinch pennies and not show any conflict in case this movie flops?

As for that evil Capitol run by the dastardly President Snow (Donald Sutherland), he maybe has three minutes of screen-time. Even then, it’s just so he can order attacks on the people who just did something naughty. It seems the director (Francis Lawrence) was spending so much time filming hot twenty-somethings that someone had to remind him you actually need to have a villain.

This would all be okay if there was conflict elsewhere—maybe inside 13 where everyone is crammed together. Nope. Relationships aren’t tested and aside from a few raised voices everyone seems to be on the same page; The Capitol is bad.

If it weren’t for vets like Woody Harrelson, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Elizabeth Banks occasionally spicing things up this would’ve been the most boring blockbuster off all time.

Zero imagination, little to no conflict, rushed action, monotone, gloomy pacing and a shocking lack of material make this the worst of the three without even having to think about it.

Fans will love it for sure because just seeing these characters again is enough to make their insides tingle. But if this movie is supposed to set the tone for “Part 2”, which it should, then we can all expect to witness the most un-climactic finale in the history of cinema. Thank god for “Battle of the Five Armies” next month.

Grade: C-


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