The Hunger Games Mockingjay is a good, but not great way to end an impressive series of movies. The tales of Katniss Everdeen, the Mockingjay, is a great story of a strong heroine who reluctantly finds herself and her footing within a rebellion against the capital and the evil President Snow.
The last book was split into two movies in order to give a more detailed experience that fell in line with the books. I did not read the books. However, both Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2 suffer from the same problem, they are about 30 minutes two long. With an edited version of both movies together, an audience would have easily sat for a three hour movie. There is enough action and drama to really put together a fine last film.
Jennifer Lawrence is very good as Katniss Everdeen. With all the hurricane of activity around her, she manages to keep her wits and will about her. She stays true to herself, always allowing her self to care and to hope for a better outcome for all. Lawrence really shows her emotions well with her eyes and just raises the bar for all the other actors in the movie.
I do not know why people aren’t knocking down Donald Sutherland’s door to be the villain in every movie from now until he retires. His chews dialogue, engulfing every scene in such a malicious and gleeful nature. His smile is played with such a fantastic menace that it just captures you and the chills roll over your body watching him. He is just fantastic.
Because of the drawn out sections of the movie, the pacing tends to bog down and I found myself thinking – OK, cool, another impressive trap. But one thing boggles my mind, the rating of the film. Why is this movie not an R rated film? There is some serious violence, and the zombie skeleton creatures are beyond frightening.
If you really like the series, see it in the theater. But, it can wait for you to see it at home as a casual fan, nothing really compels me to tell you to rush to the theaters to see the movie.
2 stars – a slight Hitting A Mark recommendation.
I find myself highly disappointed in Spectre. It seems the filmmakers tried to use a checklist to satisfy the idea of what elements are needed in a James Bond film. This causes the picture to not live up to the quality of it’s predecessor Skyfall. Also, as the media has reported, this may be Daniel Craig’s last Bond movie and the director Sam Mendes tries way to hard to make memorable scenes versus letting the film play out naturally. This film needed one more review of the script and perhaps needed to be delayed until they Bond team got everything tightened up.
Evil henchman, check. Surprise twist, check. Good looking Bond women, check. Great locations, check. Great story and script, um no. The story only exists to further the various sequences in the film, it does not bind them together. I can tell you exactly what the great Bond films where about. In a month, I won’t be able to tell you what Spectre is about.
The movie opens with some of the best action and visual sequences of any Bond film. I don’t know how they did it, but the sequences shot during the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico City are just fantastic. At one point, I felt a bit out of sort as my stomach was queasy from watching the fight within a helicopter above a crowded square. The back and forth in the copter was outstanding. This is the highlight of the film and it is within the first ten minutes.
There are several wasted opportunities within the film. Starting with the female leads. Lea Seydoux and Monica Belluci are the two female Bond women in the film. Their roles should have been swapped. Belluci exudes sex appeal and Seydoux doesn’t really seem to have a great connection with Bond. At one point she tells Bond she loves him. They don’t have enough moments and they are in love? Bond fell deeply for Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale, Seydoux’s character has none of her charisma and chemistry with Bond. Belluci connects with him more in five minutes than Seydoux does in the rest of the film. I never believe that they are in love.
The second wasted opportunity is Dave Bautista. Having seen him act as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, I know he can bring the serious and cheeky fun. In this film, they made the odd choice of making him a mute. He should have been taunting Bond and as a mute, they could have had him make motions and signals at Bond. While Mr. Hinx and Bond beat the living stuffing out of one another, Bautista not being able to talk takes away from the sequence.
The final great failure of the movie if Christoph Waltz. He is a fantastic bad guy in Inglorious Bastards and has this feeling of menace about him. But he never really brings it out and the director and screenplay do nothing to show him as a someone to fear. Your movie is only as good at it’s villain. Remember they are following Javier Bardem’s Silva from Skyfall. Silva is one of the best Bond villains ever, and Waltz’s Oberhauser just fall’s flat.
Not wanting to give away the surprise, I was just dumbfounded at the direction they chose to go. Introducing Spectre as the overarching evil organization and revealing the reason’s why they are doing what they are doing just made me shake my head. This all ties back to the point I made earlier, they should have done one more script revision before shooting the film.
1.5 Stars – NOT a Hitting a Mark recommendation (Sadly)