Let’s Watch Mockingjay pt. 4

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The time has come! Rise up against the tyranny of watching Hunger Games movies and savour the sweet taste of freedom!

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Does this guy have any military experience at all? Maybe sending him on a dangerous covert ops mission isn’t the best idea in the world.

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That’s some serious ghost in the shell shit right there.

Th rescue mission has some cool stylistic choices and is kind of exciting, but it’s galling that our ostensible protagonist is just sitting around watching all of it while the grouchy asshole gets into the action. At least she’s actually fought and killed people before.

While all this is going on Finnick appears in a live broadcast to jam the Capital’s communications and spills the beans on all the juicy secrets he acquired during his time living in the Capital. Among these are the fact that president Snow murdered his way to power by poisoning rivals, and that that mysterious blood-from-the-mouth thing we saw in the previous movie is the result of an attempt at the old “drink from the same cup and then take antidote” gambit (famously employed by the chicken dude on Breaking Bad) that didn’t quite go according to plan.

This raises an interesting question: what is the actual political structure of the Capital? Snow seems to be a dictator with absolute power over every facet of the state, but how did he gain that position? All that political manoeuvring and bumping off rivals indicates that it wasn’t through force or a dynastic succession. There must be some sort of system in place to select a new ruler when the old one dies or is forced to step down, and clearly it’s one where you can theoretically rise into the job from a lower standing (as opposed to, say, the previous president just hand-picking his or her favourite) if Snow felt that others stood in his way. Is there some sort of council that makes these decisions? If so, do they have any sort of oversight over Snow’s reign? Could he be impeached or dismissed if he wasn’t up to the job?

The story is going hell for leather on making Snow out to be this supremely evil villain, like the emperor from Star Wars (the last few trailers for the final movie were particularly focused on this). But this fails because a) he’s just straight up not that scary and b) this world is just a bit too realistic and similar to our own for the idea of one all-powerful bad guy whose death will topple the system to hold water.

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Seal Team Jackass arrives at the place where the captured Tributes are being held and find what appears to be a torture chamber, which is never a good sign.

(Apologies for these screenshots by the way, this part of the movie is extremely dark due to the power being out in the Capital. Even on full screen it’s hard to make out what’s happening at times.)

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Katniss gets to do something when the Capital’s defensive infrastructure suddenly comes back online, threatening to cut off District 13’s surveillance of the rescue team. If they don’t find a way to Hack Attack the firewalls or whatever the air defences will reboot and make it impossible to escape. Katniss stalls for time by addressing Snow, arguing that he might keep the communication channels open to mock her.

The fact that he actually falls for this just makes everything I said a minute ago more true. This guy is seriously incompetent, especially since the last movie also ended with him getting utterly played.

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On the other hand he’s incredible at looking like a smug bastard. That actor must be having the time of his life.

Unfortunately Snow knew the whole time where the rescue team was and springs a Cunning Trap. The fact that the building was mysteriously empty and unguarded probably should have been a give away, but what do I know I’m not a special forces operative.

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Katniss is distraught at the idea that she might have lost both her beloved OHD and her beloved Asshole, especially as hours pass with no word from the rescue team. Coin comes and gives her a pep talk. Man this character is cool, I sure hope she doesn’t turn out to be evil as a cheap twist.

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And then the rescue team comes back and they saved all the Tributes! Yaaaaay! Wow that was some short-lived tension.

Katniss meets Asshole outside OHD’s room and he reveals that the Capital just let them waltz out completely unopposed even though all of their anti-aircraft guns were online. Huh! That’s odd. I’m sure it’s

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Oh.

Yeah so the Capital brainwashed OHD into trying to kill Katniss on sight. Also they apparently gave him super-strength somehow because he manages to fling Katniss and several other people around the room like the incredible Hulk.

Here’s what I don’t get: if this was the plan from the start why did the Capital bother bringing their defences back up and going through the whole song and dance with Snow taunting Katniss? Wouldn’t they want District 13 to suspect as little as possible? I mean, surely someone would think “hey, it’s almost like they wanted us to get these prisoners back alive, maybe there’s something else going on here.’

Hell Snow even says “it’s the ones we love that destroy us” while giving the biggest shit-eating grin in the universe. Granted, the chances are very low that anyone would hear that and jump to the conclusion that he’s programmed Katniss’ boyfriend to kill her, but giving them that clue combined with letting the rescue mission go at least raises the possibility that someone might put it together and decide to keep the Tributes isolated until they can be properly examined.

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The movie ends with Snow giving a hella inspiring speech about the rescue of the Tributes. She fails to mention that one of them is currently being restrained in isolation to stop him from murdering the Mockingjay, which the other characters seem to think is somehow questionable or shady even though there’s zero reason to make that publicly known.

So what did I think of the movie? Honestly, it’s my favourite of the three. Not a whole lot happens, but we don’t have to sit through yet another boring Hunger Games and all the reality TV shit starts to finally feel impactful and story relevant. The plot up until now has been balancing this tension between being a teen adventure romp about lampooning the media and telling a serious, dark dystopian story, whereas Mockingjay decides to just go all-in on the latter and it works much better despite the occasional jarringly silly element.

Now, if you want to see the thrilling conclusion you’ll need to head to your local cinema on November 20th for Mockingjay Part 2! Book your tickets now! Enter offer code WIZARD for 10% off your ticket price!

(Note: the above information is not true, do not enter offer code WIZARD for 10% off your ticket price)

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