I couldn't help but walk out of Mockingjay: Part 1 feeling a bit disappointed.
The first Hunger Games movie left a real bad taste in my mouth, but Catching Fire actually kind of won me over with its liberal dose of sassy Jenna Malone and its promise of legit rebellion and the outright warfare to come. That's the shit I was all excited to see in the first half of the final installment of this franchise. Sadly I was let down on both fronts, with Malone sidelined off screen for all but five seconds of the movie and the rebellion whittled down to two and a half skirmishes spread out over two hours of screen time. Those skirmishes are pretty cool in their own right, but I would have gladly taken more scenes of rebellion in the districts over Katniss staring pensively out over a brook.
There's plenty to like here, including Katniss's inability to perform in a propaganda video (I refuse to acknowledge this franchise's inane fixation with Suessian lingo), every word out of Elizabeth Banks' mouth, a well staged rescue operation, a horrific field of corpses and one last chance to enjoy Philip Seymour Hoffman. But the biggest problem with Mockingjay: Part 1 is that it simply doesn't feel like a complete story. We're not quite in Deathly Hallows* territory here, but everything that happens in this movie is merely the prologue to whatever's coming in Part 2. It's enjoyable, but not exactly satisfying in its own right. It reminds me of Episode 7 from any season of Game Of Thrones, one of those episodes that's more about moving the chess pieces into place so they can strike the killing blow later on down the road.
Bart and I talk to avowed Hunger Games fanatic Jamie about all this as well as her own wild-eyed theory that Peeta is secretly the boring version of Johanna. (I'm paraphrasing here.) We also talk about the recent Peanuts trailer, the upcoming Star Wars trailer and casting rumors for both Jean Grey and Jessica Jones.
Next Week: Foxcatcher and/or Horrible Bosses 2
*Or, as I call it, Harry Potter And The Campsite Of Sadness