…Too Many Colons: The Rise of the Colon Army
Director: Francis Lawrence
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, and a disturbing drought of Stanley Tucci
Have I Seen it Before: No. Honestly, I’m not sure why, after I genuinely liked The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), but in the current flood of media, it just never came up on the radar.
Did I Like It: I mean… I think I still have some problems with all of the proceedings, but sure.
I’m going to review both of the final movies of this series in one entry, because—and this isn’t exactly a hot take—that’s the way this story should have been presented.
Since filmmakers split up Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010 and 2011), we’ve been having to endure the unnecessary elongation of an epic’s final act. Scenes go on forever, fan service is turned up to eleven, and an artificial cliffhanger is injected into a story that never needed or wanted one.
Now, if I’m being completely honest, patient zero for this phenomenon was actually Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Part III (1990), although those are two films that—when someone derides them—I get irrationally irritated. The splitting—or culling, to borrow a term from this franchise—makes business sense, I suppose. If you have a hot property, why not get two big opening weekends out of your last hurrah, when you can get two for the same price? Good for the shareholders; have yet to hear an argument for why it might be good for the story.
Moving on from the artificial elongation, what we have here is your Typical Part III™, feeding off the momentum of the predecessor, and marching toward and end you can see coming a mile away. It couldn’t possibly be a spoiler to tell you that the Capitol as run by Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland) is brought to its knees and Katniss Everdeen, the titular Mockingjay (Jennifer Lawrence) is at the center of the social upheaval.
The film delivers on these intrinsic promises, and then succeeds and fails where it tries to play with these expectations. It soars when Katniss sees the sliding standards between Snow and his self-appointed successor Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and diverts her arrow. It’s less great when she and Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) are all of a sudden on board with a new batch of Hunger Games that would instell cull rich Capitol kids. And it’s even more of a thin attempt to make us feel something out of the blue when it is revealed that Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) retreat back to a life in the Victor’s Village, raising their kids, and Katniss appearing as if she’s become completely numb to the world she helped save.
It could be worse: the werewolf kid could have decided he was madly in love with his jilted lover’s infant daughter. That’s a ridiculous plot line. I’m not sure where I heard that one…