No I mean part one as in the first post, not part one as in… okay, this is going to get confusing.
We’ve come to the third and, for our purposes, final Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay Part Check Out All The Cash-Money We Made By Splitting The Last Movie In Half. I’m kind of leery about this movie because all of the events I actually remember from the book appear in the trailer for part two, which makes me wonder what’s actually going to happen in it. Guess we’ll find out.
We open with a traumatized Katniss recovering in District 13 shortly after the end of the previous movie. It seems her new caretakers have a pretty gruff disposition and don’t seem overly concerned for her mental well-being.
It’s understandable that Katniss would be affected this badly by the Games and the loss of OHD, but it’s also kind of a let down after Catching Fire’s final scene was her looking super pissed and ready to go out and start some shit. It ties into this whole story’s trend of telling us that Katniss is some kind of inspiring badass while largely putting her into powerless, helpless roles where her survival strategy is to act meek and keep her head down.
But hey, at least she doesn’t have pretend to be in love with a boring dude any more.
Finnick is here as well! Along with OHD and Axe Woman, the Capital has also kidnapped “Annie”, the person whose screams he heard from the Jabberjibbers in Catching Fire. It would be nice if we actually got to know this person a bit better so her capture would have any weight at all.
District 13 basically looks like Zion from The Matrix, in that it’s a big poorly-lit underground space with a lot of people milling around. The explanation for how this place is still here isn’t very satisfying: the surface was bombed to rubble, but they adapted to live underground and have been preparing ever since.
This immediately raises a lot of questions: did this huge underground bunker exist before the war, or was it built afterward? If it’s the latter why didn’t the Capital attack it to eliminate everyone, and if it’s the former how did they build it without anyone noticing? Did they make it in secret before the rebellion started? That seems kind of far fetched given how gigantic it is.
A military dude tells Katniss “for us, the war never ended”. Then what the fuck have they been doing for the last 75 years? I get that it would take a lot of time to rebuild and gather their military strength after being defeated, but 75 years. Come on.
Here’s a way better idea: District 13 was never destroyed at all, the Capital just said it was (all of the districts seem to be surrounded by gigantic empty wilderness and no one ever seems to travel between them, so its plausible that they could pull this off). In the books we learn that 13 was in charge of mining and refining nuclear material* and has the capacity to make nuclear weapons, so let’s say what actually happened is that they found themselves in a stalemate with neither side willing to pull the trigger and risk nuclear devastation, and they’ve spent the last 75 years in a cold war, with the Capital agreeing to leave District 13 alone as long as they don’t stir up trouble or announce their survival to the other Districts. Over successive administrations the Capital has grown complacent with this situation, allowing 13 to quietly start building its military power back up all sneaky-sneak like, and they’re only just now reaching the point where they feel confident moving into the open.
* I’m aware that District 13 being in charge of nuclear material opens up whole avenues of nonsensical plotting and backstory, but let’s just not even go there
This is President Coin, the leader of District 13 and, by extension, the rebellion against the Capital. Hey isn’t it funny how District 13 and the Capital both call their leaders “President” followed by a single four-letter name? Just putting that out there.
Coin continues to build up the Cult of Katniss by talking about how her trick with the arrow at the end of the previous movie caused riots and strikes to break out across seven of the twelve districts (because, again, everyone was just sitting around waiting for Katniss to inspire them). District 13 wants to use this energy to kickstart an overthrow of The Man, which means it’s time for propaganda videos! More reality TV bullshit wheee!
Katniss doesn’t care about any of this and just wants District 13 to rescue OHD. Okay, fine. I get why she’d feel that way, especially with the loss being so recent. But don’t also try to sell me on the idea that she’s some kind of ultra-feminist rebel badass.
I do like how as soon as Katniss leaves Coin is like “wtf she’s crap, we should have rescued the dude instead”, indicating that her earlier praise was all just a clever ruse. Finally, someone who doesn’t begin worshipping Katniss on sight.
Plutarch has Katniss brought to the ruins of District 12 so she can see what the Capital did to her homeland and be filled with burning anime fury.
How can District 13 fly planes around without giving their presence away? Aren’t the Capital watching their airspace? As far as we’ve been told this isolated society is the only political entity in existence, if unidentified planes start showing up then someone’s going to be like “either that’s aliens or there’s some mysterious shit happening, might want to look into it.”
And this isn’t like rescuing Katniss from the arena where you can assume it was somewhere isolated. They’re going to District 12, a Capital territory that was destroyed recently enough that there’s still smoke rising from the buildings. Wouldn’t there still be soldiers nearby, at least just to make sure everyone’s dead? Did the Capital just bomb the place and them immediately forget about it?
I think I figured out how they padded this material to split into two movies: just make everything take longer than it should. A whole lot of these scenes of characters going from place to place feel weirdly stretched out; they get to the point where you expect a cut, but then they go on for just a bit longer, which over the course of an entire movie is going to add up.
Obviously slow pacing like this isn’t in itself a problem, but it’s unusual for a blockbuster aimed at a younger audience and having just seen the previous two movies it’s a very noticeable shift in pacing.
(The second to last Harry Potter movie did the same thing, but at least it looked really nice)
Anyway Katniss wanders around for a bit and then crawls over a giant pile of charred corpses. This movie is fun for all the family.
Katniss’ house in the victor’s village is seemingly the only structure left standing (maybe Snow told the army not to bomb it for the lulz) and Katniss returns to retrieve some personal stuff, including Mr. Fluffy here.
So they don’t go into this much in the movies, but in the books Katniss is weirdly mean-spirited when it comes to this cat, even though it’s her sister’s beloved pet. Like, if I remember correctly she tells Prim she’s going to kill it at one point. It really makes her come across like a giant asshole, and I’ve always found this element of her character to be kind of baffling.
Ol’ Colonel Sanders addresses his citizens, and also stages some public executions of people who publicly displayed the image of the Mockingjay.
I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the heroes only win in this story because Snow is a bumbling jackass who has no idea how to run a dystopian society. He acts strangely reluctant to just fucking kill people when it would clearly be beneficial to do so, but then responds to unrest by murdering people until the problem goes away.
Interestingly, this scene cuts back and forth between two locations; in one it appears to be mid-day, while in the other it’s night, which means the districts must be very far apart.
Ugh this asshole is going to be in it more now isn’t he. I have a cold and I can’t look at Mr. Jerkface at the moment so we’ll end it here.
Making good progress! We’re, uh, less than twenty minutes into the movie.
God damn it I need to start making these shorter….