The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Pt 1 & 2 (Francis Lawrence, 2015)

What are they about? In time-honoured fashion, the third part of Suzanne Collins' trilogy has been split into 2 films in a blatant money-making exercise to do full justice to the story. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has become the somewhat reluctant figurehead for the oppressed masses of Panem. If that makes no sense, better catch up with the first and second films in the series first.

Are they any good? As the films were released several months apart, I took the decision not to review Part 1 here until I watched Part 2. Unfortunately, when I came to watch Part 2, I found that I could remember nothing from Part 1 at all. Nothing. I think Jennifer Lawrence was in it but maybe that was the girl with the mop story? A quick bit of research did little to refresh my memory and then I realised with relief that I wasn't going senile after all - it's just that Mockingjay Part 1 is utterly and literally forgettable. Nothing of note happens that couldn't be condensed into a few minutes to be added at the start of Part 2. It's a pity because the central theme of wartime propanganda, and its possibly reluctant participants, is another interesting slant in the series, which hasn't let its mainstream blockbuster status stop it from addressing challenging ideas. Sadly, however, the redundant Part 1 dulls, rather than stimulates, the brain, and there's not enough action to compensate either as it moves to a ho-hum cliffhanger. Part 2 is better, moving things along in snappier fashion, merrily dispensing with various expendable characters, and rallying to a reasonably satisfying climax to the overall tale. Throughout, as in the first 2 films, Lawrence continues to dominate the screen, even as the likes of Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman (who died during filming) and others attempt to steal scenes from her. The film-makers have a lot to thank her for keeping the franchise going through the bad times.

Hopefully, one day, someone will create an abridged version of the two films which should dispense with the boring bits. Until then, what we've got is a rather stodgy, tasteless dessert, desperately followed up by a double espresso Irish coffee and a couple of quick Jaeger-bombs at the bar to ensure the entire feast doesn't end up with us falling asleep at the table. 

Anything else I should know? As it happens, shortly after writing that previous sentence, I was taken from my house and forced to fight in a Hunger Games-style battle to the death with other reviewers who had thought it clever to use meal-related analogies to review the franchise. Confronted with the shameful evidence, we had little choice but to fight to regain our dignity. I won, but sadly I didn't get to fall in love, become a hero or wear a nice fiery dress. However, I'm told the crowd went wild when I fashioned a shiv from a sharpened spork and sneakily stabbed Paul Ross in the back.

What does the Fonz think? I've had enough now, thanks

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