Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Negative Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Sucks

Surprise! No wait. No one's surprised.

Frankly, this whole endeavor is hilarious. Hollywood's recent trend of unnecessarily splitting the final chapters of various stories into multiple segments is an obvious cash grab, but in Mockingjay's case, you get something unintentionally meta: part 1 is always a commercial for part 2, but the plot of Mockingjay is already literally about making a commercial. The irony makes the whole thing just impossible to take seriously.

I just don't know what to tell you – nothing really happens in this movie. Lawrence wakes up, is selected to star in some propaganda commercials, fires one arrow during the entire course of the movie, and then periodically cries about something (usually Peeta bread). We're introduced to a bunch of new characters that no one has reason to care about,  go on a mission so stupid its ending gets edited out, and end up with absolutely no development for any character, at all. Oh, and shaky cam makes a return, though he doesn't incite as much nausea as before because there's only the one action scene – and honestly, if you've seen the trailer, you don't even have to buy a ticket and can save yourself the headache. There's just no direction or logic to any of it.

Take the rebellion, for instance: during a pivotal moment, Peeta appears to break through his psychological torture and warns the rebels of an impending attack. But isn't it the case that live interviews are always filmed with a delay, specifically for this kind of thing? Surely, we're to assume the immensely wealthy Capitol has an editing room and team at least as large as the one that initially tries to work with Katniss; but for some reason, Peeta's message goes through, and for some reason, Peeta actually has the knowledge to begin with, since, I don't know, I guess the underground torture chamber happens to be right next to the war room. It's contrivance after contrivance; you know none of the writers give a shit about good writing when a moment for The Capitol to cripple the rebellion by killing some of its most important members is entirely passed up, with no explanation other than a literal observation after the fact – it's like Avatar trying to negate the stereotype of "unobtainium" by acknowledging it and simultaneously pretending it doesn't exist. And never mind how ridiculous it is that the capitol affords humongous, automated anti-air turrets, but then can't station smaller turrets near one of its most vulnerable points (a generator, that once destroyed, allows the plot to progress).

Ugh. There's just too much stupid crap here. Remember how in Catching Fire, despite being the shitfest that it was, Katniss is at least formidable? Intelligent? A badass? She stands up to president Snow after he walks into her home, not breaking a sweat; you can feel some of the intensity. By Catching Fire's end, Katniss is even free to pick between two guys – the choice is actually in the girl's hands for once! But as Mockingjay progresses, Katniss transforms from this confident, independent girl, into a cardboard cutout; and ironically, the intent here is to market her as powerful and in control. No – throughout Mockingjay, all Katniss ends up doing is crying over boys and failing to connect the simplest of dots: if The Capitol so freely releases Peeta back to her, why not immediately see it as the trap it is, given that the mission to rescue him turns out to be one? Katniss as a character just takes such a humongous step backwards. 

Whatever. It should be interesting to see how this ends, given that Collins ran out of Battle Royale to plagiarize after the first installment. Who knows – maybe the girl named "Katniss" will even make up for insulting the only actual cat that appears onscreen. 


  1. despite being the shitfest that it was, Katniss is at least formidable? Intelligent? A badass?

    Rambler, me boyo, I adore your reviews and all, but I don't get this part. Sure, Katniss gets a couple of cool moments, but she's hardly "independent" or "badass" or heck, "intelligent" (she spends most of the time getting saved from her own stupidity by others, and following the lead of those who actually know what the fuck they're doing). In fact, as far protagonists go, she's actually a pretty "meh" character. Tris from Divergent, despite starring in a slightly shittier movie (well, compared to the first two. This one is the exception), was a hell of a lot more interesting.

    I also find it ridiculous that Mockinjay Team Six apparently break into the tribute center with the full knowledge of the Capitol, yet instead of setting up an ambush, and then wasting those guys as soon as they show up, Snow just lets them wander around at their leisure.

    And don't even get me started on the dam attack which had four guys with sub-machine guns out front, and some on the roof, instead of a shitload of guards all over the place. Considering that the place is the Capitol's main source of power generation, one would think they'd be setting up missile launchers and turrets and laser-tripped security systems and mines all over the place, not to mention fortify the place to take more than a suicide rush and some homemade explosives to destroy.

    (Actually, the Capitol in general is pretty stupid in these movies.)

    What's even more sad, though? Despite the general shittiness of these movies, they are still far better than the books they are based on. In the movies, Katniss at least feels a bit heroic. In the books, she's a borderline sociopath.

    And Battle Royale isn't the only thing that Suzanne Collins plagiarised. The difference is, she's usually smart enough to plagiarise foreigners that most westerners have never heard of, and then promote the shit out of her stuff.

    1. Independent in the sense that she's acting on her own beliefs and will. There's no one explicitly telling her what to do in Catching Fire, and she has drive all throughout the movie. Also, "intelligent" is contextual; obviously, with characters like Beetee, Katniss can't actually be the smartest one around, but she can still display good decision-making and attempt to operate logically – in Catching Fire, she makes some more or less good decisions about how to stay alive. In Mockingjay, however, she's marketed as a figurehead of independence (from The Capitol) and confidence (in the face of being threatened with death if caught), despite later not showing these traits in the movie, and as stated in the review, almost gets killed by Peeta because she's too stupid to see an obvious trap.

      Anyway, I can't even talk about Divergent. It's a movie telling girls that the most important decision they will make in life is what social group to identify with. Can't. Do it.

      Yes, I agree about the dam attack. The Capitol has the resources and technology, so they can definitely station a turret on those extremely narrow bridges to make an infantry assault impossible. But no, then the plot wouldn't progress.

      Katniss seems like a sociopath in the book because Collins is a shit writer. I really think that's all there is to it, there – the movies have made all the characters more interesting because there happens to be a triple A budget. So you get actors like Jennifer Lawrence trying to do the best with what they're given.

      Yeah, there's more than just Battle Royale. Theseus and the Minotaur stands out, though Collins expects a pass there because she mentions it was one of her inspirations. I mean, at what point do people draw the line? Yeah, it's an entirely different context, but I imagine that if a crew was to adapt a live action version of Theseus and the Minotaur, with an intended audience of teenage girls, it would hardly be any different from what we're seeing here.

      "Mockingjay Team Six." Fantastic.

    2. Somehow your reply to this guy seemed more fleshed-out than the review - not to say the review was bad.

      Oh, and yeah... Mockingjay was terrible.

    3. Somehow your reply to this guy seemed more fleshed-out than the review - not to say the review was bad.

      Oh, and yeah... Mockingjay was terrible.

  2. Why do you only post bad reviews? You are of the homosexual orientation, and you don't like any movies. Stop posting bad reviews, get out of your mother's basement, and get yourself a life, you loser.

    1. Yeah, I too remember being 14, though I can't quite say that I was ever homophobic. I wish you luck in life – you're going to need heaps of it.