Mockingjay Hardly Takes Flight

Lexie Reinecke, Staff Writer

For those of you who have been waiting months, even years, for the latest installment in the Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay is finally here. 

I’m a firm believer that the book is always better than the movie. Mockingjay is just another example to support my point. Despite the fact that the plot closely follows that of the novel, it doesn’t transfer nearly as well to the screen as it does to the widely acclaimed work of Suzanne Collins.

While diehard fans were counting down the hours to the November 21 premiere, many reviewers gave the movie a thumbs down. Review website Rotten Tomatoes, which grades in percentages, gave the penultimate flick in the Hunger Games franchise a 66%. This translates to a D rating. Reviewer Kevin Fallon from The Daily Beast begins his article, “A lot of people die in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. Unfortunately, Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne are not among them.”

A majority of the widespread criticism online, isn’t due to the content itself, but rather the futile attempt to spread an hour long plot into a two-hour long feature.

A majority of the two hours takes place in District 13, which is essentially an underground prison. Protagonist Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, quite frankly, doesn’t do anything in the movie. Okay, to be fair, she visits a hospital and shoots a poison arrow which blows up a plane.  Also, she once again saves her always-in-danger sister, Prim, and her annoying orange cat. Besides that? She makes a few propaganda films to “inspire a revolution” which result in uprisings throughout the districts and account for hundreds of deaths.

Perhaps the only interesting part of the movie is when District 13 sent volunteers, one of whom being Gale [Liam Hemsworth], to rescue Peeta [Josh Hutcherson] and the other victors from the Capitol. Gale plays the hero as he jeopardizes his own interest in the fight for Katniss’s love in order to bring Peeta to her. Yes, Peeta is saved. Unfortunately, he’s jacked up on mind-control meds and a little bit, okay, a lot, crazy. As for Gale? His valiant efforts are rewarded with, drum roll please…a thankful hug from his love interest. Can you say friendzoned?

With all the shots of dead bodies and the ruins of destroyed districts, it is pretty depressing.

There is even a scene where District 13 is bombed, and the roof begins to crack and tons of random water is raining down as people run for safety. It is like Titanic all over again, minus the love story. Honestly, the Mockingjay barely interacts with either of her admirers. And yes, it is definitely a great idea for her to endanger herself and others to, yet again, find her sister’s irritating feline.

After a long while of witnessing terror and charred remains, I guess the directors figured you needed something uplifting, so they throw in a couple of minutes of Katniss teasing Prim’s cat with a flashlight and some nondescript jokes about democracy and stylist Effie’s lack of makeup. Because that totally removes the image of blood and gore from the back of my mind, thank you.

The one good thing which happens, when they steal Peeta back, turns out to be a not-so-good thing. After Gale receives that friendly hug, he tells Katniss she should be there when he wakes up. As if she wasn’t already going to rush and see Peeta without advice from Gale. So when she does go to him, she runs into the room, all happy-go-lucky, and guess what happens? Do they exchange a hug, a kiss, talk about how much they missed each other? Nope. With his first glimpse of Katniss, Peeta lunges at her, drags her to the ground and nearly strangles her to death. What a heartwarming embrace for our love birds.

As if the less-than-peachy encounter in the hospital room wasn’t upsetting enough, the movie, which I’d been secretly wanting to end for over an hour, does end, abruptly.

If the movie’s not an archetype of American theater, I don’t know what is. How’s that for cheating people into paying for Mockingjay – Part 2?