Here’s the short version: Neither my sister nor I were wowed with Mockingjay Part I and do not recommend you spend your money on it in theaters. For those that have read the book, I know you will probably see it anyway because your curiosity will kill you and you want to form your own opinion. Fair enough. But at least watch a matinee and save a little money. Please don’t scramble for a sitter this weekend and brave the crowds. I’m telling you, it’s just not worth it. If you can wait, I’d recommend waiting until Part 2 comes out and watching the two back to back in theaters if you must watch in a theater. Otherwise, wait for Redbox.
So let me explain why I didn’t like it so much.
About 45 minutes into the movie, I leaned over to my sister Heather and said, “This is so boring.” She agreed.
On the way to the theater, I mused that although Mockingjay was depressing to read, that the action might come across really well on screen. And it did. Some of my favorite scenes in the movie were action scenes. Two in particular. One was when Katniss goes to visit a hospital in one of the districts. The Capitol ends up bombing the hospital and Gale and Katniss shoot the planes out of the sky with exploding arrows. That was awesome. Seeing Katniss strong and capable is good stuff. The other scene is when everyone is going to the bunkers for the bombings and Prim nearly misses it because she goes back for her cat. Katniss goes after her. Gales goes after Katniss and they almost miss the bunker. Total nail-biter. Loved it.
What I didn’t love is that most of the movie is political. A lot of the movie is watching Katniss and her team film political ads for the rebellion. There’s a lot of “this will be a great opening scene” and “Katniss, look at this camera.” And then, not only do we watch her film it, then we have to watch everyone watch the ad together. It was so entirely boring I wanted to poke my eye out with a fork.
When we finally get to the climax of the movie (which is to save Peeta) it was so uninteresting that I looked at Heather and said, Oh, I think this is the whole point of the movie. It was so unclimatic that I can’t explain to you. I mean, think about the first two movies. Those climatic scenes were AMAZINGLY CLIMATIC.
And I know this is just Part I of Mockingjay, but if you’re going to break up a movie into FOUR HOURS and make me wait a YEAR in between each one, you better be able to deliver a solid stand-alone Part I that will have enough resolution in it to make it worth my time and money.
Part I just didn’t deliver on that.
And not only was the end not climatic enough for me, the movie ended without a redemptive ending, but a downright DISTURBING ending that left me wtih a grimace on my face when the credits rolled.
IT WAS TERRIBLE.
Now, I’ve talked this out with my friend ohAmanda and she loved the movie. She admitted she likes movies with sad/depressing endings. I do not. I need all the happy feelings walking out of the theater. So, perhaps if you don’t mind a bunch of angst the entire time without a payoff until next November, this movie might be just fine for you.
It just wasn’t for me.
Now, I will say there are many redeemable qualities about the movie I’ll leave you with.
Jennifer Lawrence is downright amazing as always. She was in a terribly ugly gray jumpsuit without makeup for most of the movie and played the angsty, depressed mockingjay with perfection. For what she was given, she was outstanding.
The special effects were outstanding as well. Nothing cheesy about all the bombings or shelter or anything else. Cheese wasn’t the problem for sure.
Effie in particular gave a wonderful performance. She was still in character, making do with the jumpsuit and head wraps and no wigs and makeup. I actually enjoyed her much more this time.
It kind of reminded me of the exact opposite of how I felt about Twilight’s first movie–terrible acting, terrible effects but a great story. This had the opposite–great acting, great effects but not enough redemptive story for my liking.
As I said, readers of the book will probably go and see it anyway, so if and when you’ve seen it, I’d love your take on it.