‘Mockingjay’ comes to unsatisfying end


   One of the tricky parts of reviewing a movie based on a book is separating the bad parts of the movie from just things that were bad about the book. I didn’t particularly like the Mockingjay book, but so far the Hunger Games series of movies have all been better than the books, and so I went into this with that in mind.

    What I’m trying to say is that I don’t want to be too harsh with this movie. There were quite a few things that I liked. The actors did well with the lines they were given, with some particularly strong performances from Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, and Donald Sutherland, who absolutely stole every scene that he was in.

    The problem is that the dialogue they were given was subpar. Mockingjay Part 2 falls into the adaptation trap of blindly taking paragraphs from the source material, and copy pasting them into the movie. If that wasn’t bad enough, the camera also shot every big block of book lines from the exact same angle, using the exact same lens. That’s boring. There were moments where I was literally counting down to when a scene was over.

    This isn’t helped by the stunning lack of any real diverse emotions shown by just about anyone in Panem. Mockingjay is all angst, all the time. On the rare occasion that an actor is given more to work with, they do very well, but the whole film gives off a vibe of a director that is sticking very strictly to the YA formula, so to speak, and isn’t giving these characters any room to grow outside of their predetermined boundaries.

   In general, the camera work was inconsistent. Some shots were done very well, with cool imagery and striking visual ideas far outside  the realm of a normal blockbuster. Others were muddy, and it was hard to see what was going on. The series also continues to incorporate shaky cam, dirty lenses, and plenty of other modern movie tropes that not only date the film, but take attention away from the otherwise very interesting fight scenes.

   Don’t get me wrong, the movie wasn’t bad. Due to part one being almost all filler, the pace of this film is nice. I would imagine someone with more of an attachment to the series being more invested in this film, but it held my attention fairly enough. Not a great movie, but it’s harmless fun.

   However, unfair as it might be, Mockingjay is more than just a movie. It’s the final chapter in a pop culture phenomenon that has kept a hold on millions, all wanting a satisfying conclusion. And this movie just wasn’t satisfying.

At first, I was worried that my dislike of the book was clouding my judgement, but even on its own this movie fell flat.  The characters felt stale, the environments felt washed out and bland, and the whole thing reeks of a movie made to sell tickets, rather than any desire for quality. The good of the film gets lost in all the boring elements.

That’s actually the word I would use to describe Mockingjay most. Boring. Well made, well acted, but completely boring.

2/5 stars.