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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
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409 out of 614 people found the following review useful:

Very Slow Pace; Almost 2 Hours of Melodrama with No Payoff

4/10
Author: coatic from Philadelphia, PA
20 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Let me first note that I am an avid movie-goer, but not a reader of the books. I did, however, watch the first two Hunger Games movies and was pleasantly surprised by them. They kept my attention, with plot and performances intriguing and action-packed enough to get from one scene to the next without a dull moment.

This latest installment is the exact opposite. The movie opens with some melodramatic scenes where Katniss (JLaw) suffers from previous trauma, then scene after scene just keeps rehashing the same weepy look on her face partnered with some sentimental background music. "Remember how President Snow tried to kill everyone in our district? Sniff." followed by "How could he do this again in this district? Sniff." then "Why is he doing this to my friends? Sniff." over and over until the end. Imagine that for 2 hours. That is essentially this movie.

Other scenes later on are just variations of the same - different scenery (a town in ruins, a mountain lake, a bomb shelter), different characters to ruminate with (the old flame Gale, old allies like Finnick and new ones like the District 13 folks, the sister Prim) - but they essentially are the same scene. I really wanted to tell the director the whole time: "Ok I get it, they are all angry and hurt. Now what? Please advance the story." I understand this treatment is beneficial at the start to provide some exposition on how the characters are brewing in their discontent and how it all boils over later on, but that's also what the first two movies already established. To fill 2 hours of the supposedly climactic final chapter with further exposition is just too much, perhaps unless you truly are a solid fan and have the patience to wait it out.

There was one final part in this movie that was intended to be a climax of sorts before the cliffhanger. It's the only scene that promises some sort of cathartic, action-packed sequence, but they skip the meat and flash-forward until after the event concludes.

There were, however, some good scenes of rebels rousing here and there that were quite entertaining even if they were also just more exposition fodder. At least they reminded me to wake up from time to time.

I think this is the unfortunate fault of the cash-grab strategy of trying to split the last book into two parts. The movie just feels so out of place with regards to momentum, which was a very positive thing going for the storyline in the first two movies. Even though Catching Fire was essentially just going back to the Hunger Games, it still felt fast and different enough to keep me tuned in. This movie managed to rehash itself endlessly and leave me feeling like nothing of gravity happened after my viewing experience... and it tried so hard to make me care via the melodrama, yet I am left unsold.

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440 out of 720 people found the following review useful:

Slow, boring with poor acting

3/10
Author: lianpeled from Tel Aviv, Israel
20 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Let me say it right now; I hated this movie. It was bad. Look, the concept of a being movie cut into two parts just does not work. The whole thing felt like a two-hour exposition. The first 30 minutes were so damn boring I literally could not stop getting out of focus and move uncomfortably in my seat. There really isn't anything special going on as it progresses, too. There is war going on, but they do not really show it and it doesn't suck you in. It's very slow paced with lots of teenage drama and not a lot of "games" or "hunger" as in the previous films (which I liked, by the way). And now there's Jennifer Lawrence's acting, which was trying too hard (while making lots of weird facial expressions that made me laugh at inappropriate moments). Overall, I think the idea of splitting a movie into two parts; thus making the first half boring, isn't a very good one. And in this particular movie "not very good" is a compliment. 3/10

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348 out of 545 people found the following review useful:

Is there such thing as a set-up movie?

4/10
Author: jmacdavidson
21 November 2014

I had never heard the term "set-up movie" before today. There has definitely been a trend of splitting up a story into multiple movies. These movies don't have a beginning-middle-end the same way other movies do but at the very least there's some progress.

The problem with the Mockingjay Pt 1 is not that it's boring or poorly made. In fact, there is a lot of excitement in this movie. The problem is that from beginning to end there is hardly anything that changes. If you look at where the characters are in the beginning and where they are in the end there isn't much that's changed except for what happens in the very end. Katniss has been doing things but we haven't seen much of the effects of her actions.

I didn't dislike this movie that much despite it's slow beginning. I just can't give this my seal of approval when I left the theater feeling like I saw half a movie. By the time the story gets its payoff my memory of this movie will be worn-off.

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270 out of 426 people found the following review useful:

Dull as dull can be

1/10
Author: memefactory from Czech Republic
21 December 2014

Like watching paint dry. Boring to a mind-numbing degree. How many times can we see Katniss be horrified and/or emotionally distraught? Maybe the filmmakers thought they were adding depth to their characters. Well, they were wrong. Instead we, the audience, sit through one scene after another in which really nothing happens at all. This whole thing could have easily been compressed down to 40 minutes and then we could have had the rest of the book as the rest of the film. This felt very much like they were stretching it out so they could make two movies - which is the new thing to do in Hollywood with these franchises. Not good storytelling.

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310 out of 528 people found the following review useful:

I am disappointed

3/10
Author: WillyW154
19 November 2014

I am so disappointed of the movie. And that's because there happens close to nothing. At nearly every point you notice it's stretched for making out of one book two movies. At the beginning I liked it, because many parts of the book found their way into the movie. But I realised transferring the story of a book 1:1 into a movie isn't that good.

(NO SPOILER) As an example they need about 5-10 minutes just to go down a staircase, back upwards because "missing" something and down again. And nothing really happens. All the time absolutely no excitement rose in me and I just got bored. And I am pretty sure this should be a part where your heartbeat is meant to been rising.

Sure there are some nice and decent scenes but most of the stuff is just lame. In the book it works but clearly not in the Movie (plus the showdown of the book is missing because of the split).

But at least I enjoyed the screenplay of Josh Hutcherson and Philip Seymour Hoffman, which lifted the Movie "up" to 3 Stars. I hope the last one gets back on the level of the first two movies.

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264 out of 437 people found the following review useful:

The Long Anticipated Set Up Movie

4/10
Author: Nathaniel Jones from United States
19 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland,Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Julianne Moore. Just to get something straight I feel splitting a movie into two parts is dumb and studios do it just for more money and I find it irritating. Not every finale of a young adult novel needs to be two parts. That being said "How is Mockingjay part 1? " Is it a big step up from Catching fire? Frankly its pretty boring and basically a huge waste of time. Nothing really interesting happens in this movie. Bonding moments that don't need to happen between characters that feel pretty forced. Some dialogue and extra propaganda speeches to make the run time just a little bit longer. More characters that were throw in your face with really no character development at all. Katniss doesn't grow as a character from the last movie. Besides shooting an arrow at a jet which is shown in the trailer all Katniss really does is Propaganda Commercials and cry over things. Also all of the other characters that you already know you don't really care about them at all throughout this movie either. Really the only person you care about is Katniss kinda. Shaky cam has made a return from the first movie and isn't that why the change of director happened for the second movie? Wasn't the point to get rid of all that? I guess not. A couple of cool moments happen but that doesn't really help much. I mean the best parts of this movie were promoted in the trailer. Don't get me wrong this isn't an awful movie it's more of a very long trailer for Mockingjay part 2. What I did enjoy was all of the propaganda parts which was a nice change from all the killing in the first two movies and the last 15 minutes. A camera crew follows Katniss around to make propaganda commercials and then the capitol will fire back with their own propaganda stuff. It's a political fight. Honestly the propaganda concepts was really the only thing keeping me awake. I have to be honest I started to dose off a couple of times. The last 15 minutes it starts to build up and things start going down that makes it feel like the actual movie is fixing to start and it just ends. Kind of in the way The Desolation of Smaug did as well. Now you have to wait another year for the movie that you wanted to see in the first place. In the end i was really bored throughout this movie. This is just a waste of time to get more money out of the franchise. Even if your a fan of the novel wait till next November to see this movie so you can go see part 2 right after and pretend like part 1 doesn't exist.

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67 out of 70 people found the following review useful:

Sadly, this doesn't feel like a complete film at all - but it offers a surprisingly realistic portrayal of a totalitarian society on the brink of an all-out civil war

7/10
Author: gogoschka-1 from wherever good films play
28 May 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It appears I'm in a minority here, because I actually liked 'Mockingjay: Part 1'. Now bear with me for a moment before you rip this review to shreds and please at least hear (or read) me out.

I do absolutely acknowledge that unlike the two previous films, 'Mockingjay: Part 1' doesn't feel like a complete film; it is practically all build-up and doesn't have a proper ending, and I agree that splitting the last book into two films was an inherently stupid, purely greed-driven decision by the studio. Also, due to that idiotic split of the last chapter, the film is largely deprived of the action/adventure elements that so many fans loved in the first two films, which must be especially disappointing to non-book-readers who didn't expect such a drastic change in tone. But if we ignore its most obvious flaws for a moment, the film has actually quite a few things going for it.

For instance, it offers a surprisingly realistic portrayal of a totalitarian society on the brink of an all-out civil war, and unlike other Hollywood adaptations of such tales, it dares to put the emphasis on the human drama instead of the special effects. And it remains faithful to the book: it would have been fairly easy to invent a couple of heroic battle scenes to amp up the spectacle (Hollywood is notorious for such disregard of source material - and such disregard for the fans), and I must say I appreciated the film precisely because of its NOT solely action-driven narrative.

But the most impressive aspect about 'Mockingjay: Part 1' is how layered it actually is. This is not the good-against-evil story of the first two films anymore: this is a really smart study on how propaganda works and how one fascist system is about to be replaced - albeit with the best intentions - by another. This kind of moral ambiguity (and again: faithfulness to the novel) is not what we usually get in blockbusters aimed at teenagers, and for that alone the film deserves some credit.

Also, what the film does masterfully, is showing how Katniss transforms upon the devastating realization that she has helped - or has been instrumentalised - to set a process in motion that she can neither stop nor control, a process which has already led to a terrible loss of human life for which she now feels responsible. She is torn apart by inner conflict because her hate for Snow and everything he stands for is bigger than ever - yet at same time, it begins to dawn on her that the leaders of the rebellion employ methods which don't seem to be all that different. The lines between what is morally acceptable and what is not start to blur. A very wise person once said: "War makes fascists of us all" - I believe 'Mockingjay: Part 1' does an excellent job at getting that point across.

Unlike in most popcorn movies, there are no mere black and white characters here (well, except maybe for Snow); instead, we get a story that - for once - hasn't been dumbed down and functions as a sincere exploration of an escalating civil war that threatens to consume everyone. And unlike most YA adaptations, the film doesn't shy away from showing what that means: the audience is left in no doubt about the human toll this revolution will take in the end.

Maybe the current situation in countries like Syria after the initially peaceful revolution that was the Arab Spring made this film resonate more with me than it should have, but I was surprised at how un- Hollywood-like this was done. And I can't stress this enough: Jennifer Lawrence MAKES this film; the whole franchise, really. The emotional intensity she brings to Katniss feels so real; it's the kind of performance that, in this kind of film, sadly often gets overlooked, but I sincerely doubt a better Katniss could ever have been found.

So my final verdict on the film: 'Mockingjay: Part 1' offers intelligent entertainment that doesn't solely rely on special effects and one mindless action scene after another. It's a fitting continuation of Katniss' journey, but - and that is the one serious downside to this film - it doesn't lead that journey to its logical conclusion. That the studio wants you to pay once more to see how the journey ends may be understandable from a financial standpoint, but it is a major flaw in the storytelling of an otherwise very good film. Likewise, the final chapter in the series (Mockingjay: Part 2) will likely suffer from having to do without all the dramatic build-up that Part 1 offers.

Still, there is a lot to like in this film and it is far from the boring mess so many reviews made it out to be: 7 stars out of 10.

Favorite Films: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054200841/

Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Favorite Low-Budget and B-movies: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054808375/

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263 out of 477 people found the following review useful:

Disappointing

5/10
Author: Ashley M from Australia
20 November 2014

Great acting from the cast; especially Jennifer Lawrence, the characters were as believable and entertaining as they were in previous films, this is pretty much the highlight of the film.

The plot however was dull and uneventful, as in nothing really went anywhere. in the majority of the film there was no tension; for the most part it was basically "stuff happens in a bunker for 2 hours: The Movie." which is super disappointing because although I haven't read the books; I'm told by people that have that they skipped a bunch of the action and downplayed the apparent love triangle.

If you wanted an action packed flick like the first two or you are the type of fan who doesn't like stuff in the book to be left out, you will be sorely disappointed as this is clearly a filler movie to get some extra $$$ before the series ends.

wait for DVD.

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170 out of 305 people found the following review useful:

Mocking Moviegoers - What a Horrible Movie

1/10
Author: JJ GG from Florida
6 December 2014

The screenwriter team for this movie was obviously under pressure to extend beyond reason the simplistic narrative of this movie. The result: over two hours of acting without substance. I cannot complain about the actors, for they did what they were paid to do, but COME ON, did it have to be so melodramatic and empty? Emotions are simply not credible, and only inspire scorn.

I want my money back. I want my time back. What a waste of effort to extend this film beyond one installment. Had they compacted the movie in 1 hour, then probably all the bad cinematography would have been eliminated.

Sure producers will make a profit at the expense of unsuspected viewers and several (perhaps demolishing) hits on actors careers. I will NOT view the last installment. I refuse to give my money away for nothing.

The saddest part is that this movie could have been great. The acting talent was there. Technical resources were available. But he most inexpensive part of the production was neglected beyond belief: storytelling. The screenwriters in this movie are not idiots. It is obvious that artificial constraints were placed to extend the story to two parts.

SAVE YOUR TIME, SAVE YOUR MONEY, DO NOT WATCH THIS BAD, BAD MOVIE.

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100 out of 171 people found the following review useful:

A 2-hour movie that could be condensed to 20 min

2/10
Author: belo0409 from Canada
7 December 2014

This movie was extremely dull and boring. You could probably skip watching this movie in the series and you wouldn't miss much. The story was dragged out so much that I found myself shifting in my seat and just waiting for it to end.

The acting was especially bad and I was cringing at the amount of cliché lines. My friends and I were also really surprised by such a lack of chemistry between Katniss and Peta; their relationship is so forced and I had difficultly even caring about the characters because they are so underdeveloped. So many scenes were completely unnecessary; they added nothing to the story and were just there to take up time. Mockingjay was extremely disappointing even though I went in with low expectations. 2/10, would not recommend.

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