22 November 2015

Does This Survive The Cut?

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I'll say right now that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 is the best second half of a film that I've ever been forced into paying full price to see. Generally it's nice for a film to have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but thanks exclusively to the greed of the money grabbing studios, that's sadly not the case here. Occasionally a franchise will start spewing out billions of dollars in box office returns and as the thing comes to its inevitable conclusion, the money men will do whatever they can to drag things out for as much as they can. As has been the case with other young adult franchises, their solution seems to be to stretch the final book out for longer than it needs to be and then slicing it in half like a magician with a real saw and an assistant that he doesn't particularly care about. Fans of the book will argue that the final two films had to be extended like this to get everything in, but that's only because they lack an emotional distance. When adapting for the cinema, it's often required to trim, chop, and change things for the story to translate between the two mediums. Kind of like shooting a hostage's arm off to kill a suicide bomber behind them. As an impartial spectator, I can see how that would have been for the greater good despite the probable pissyness of the louder, screaming loved ones.


So this film picks up one second after the previous instalment's conclusion with literally no attempt to explain things for people who might be seeing a Hunger Games film for the first time. And when I say that it picks up one second after the previous instalment's conclusion, I guess I really mean that it picks up one second after the previous instalment just stopped. It's like watching a film with my fucking Mum in that we'll get half way through and then she'll make me pause the thing for about an hour to go and do the dishes for literally no reason. But for those who need to know, the last film was two hours of everybody talking about an upcoming revolution, this one is them actually putting their money where their mouth is and going out for a fight. Katniss has decided that she wants to be the one to kill President Snow and so takes a crack-force, A-team of soldiers to fight through the capital and to his mansion. So essentially it makes about as much sense as seeing a soldier get sick of the Second World War and attempt to nip things in the bud by waltzing over to Hitler's shag-pad and putting a bullet through his eye. Now I'm no expert on global warfare, but I suspect that's a pretty fucking stupid idea. Having said that, I will say that Katniss's A-team of soldiers is slightly better than we had in Saving Private Ryan. Here she has people like Liam Hemsworth, Mahershala Ali, and Natalie Dormer, whereas in Saving Private Ryan, the 'elite squadron' seemed to consist exclusively of a shell shocked Paul Giamatti and Ted fucking Danson.

So I think we have to take two things for granted with this film; it really is stretched out and it really didn't need to be cut in half. In fact you could probably have merged the first two films seems as they're pretty similar, but with biggest change being that in the second one, Katniss is plucked to safety like one of those green aliens in Toy story. However, despite my rather large gripes with the now unavoidable fact that the filmmaker's artistic ambition was completely under the control of the cash wankers, I did enjoy this for what it was. For a start, as far as mainstream movies with their eye on the teen market go, this one does seem to have some desire to deal with issues relatable to our modern world. In fact, without meaning to give anything away, Katniss doesn't really seem to affect the plot of the film at all until the final half of the third act. Instead, she's really just shot through the cannon of war which provides her with a clear view to eventually see what's really happening on the battlefield. I don't mean her initial lack of impact as a bad thing either as at the very least it stopped the film drawing to what I assumed would be a predictable conclusion. Every franchise like this seems to revolve around the actions of 'the chosen one' and so it's nice to see a film in which the agenda of a lead individual means diddly-shit against the grand scheme of things.

In an attempt to be as vague as I possibly can, I also really liked the direction that the last act seemed to take as it attempted to show that most wars aren't simply a case of goodies versus baddies. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and as a standard game of Monopoly will prove, we humans are nothing but a gang of scheming little twats. Essentially the film seems to be arguing that the high-ground is something that you have if you're simply the one that's currently being shat on the most. However both side are going to have their power-mad bastards, and both sides are going to have their obviously innocent plebs. If you want to win a war, I guess it's inevitable that your morals are going to end up at least as grey as an ageing porn-star's junkie-pubes. It also continues the theme of the Mockingjay - Part 1 in that one of the most important things required to fight a war is a half decent morale booster. However being that the battle is reaching its climax, it's fun to see Katniss realise that if she dies, her martyrdom would ironically spur the troops on even more than her current heroics. Although if you think an army will fight harder having seen the splayed out corpse of Jennifer Lawrence then you should see how fucking much they'd achieve if you were to give them even a whiff of The Fappening.

Speaking of fighting, I guess with this being the war-half of the MockingJay choppage, you'd hope that the action was worth the wait. Over all it's pretty fun, although the highlight is undeniably a sequence in which our heroes run through the capital's sewers from something even scarier than the residents' presumably glittery posh poos. Interestingly (and thank fucking God I did), I re-watched Part 1 in preparation for this film and I noticed that the design of District 13 had a distinctly Alien-esque, Nostramo vibe about it. Well, if that was intentional, it would explain the sewer scene here which, as well as being impressive in itself, did remind me that it's been way over the standard month since I last watched Aliens. Maybe the shitty cat in these films is a reference to Ripley's Jones too, with the entire Hunger Games franchise paying nods to the grandmother of all female-led action movies. I doubt it, however it does seem like that if anybody even dares to share the films focus with Katniss then somebody from behind the camera would shout “Get away from her you bitch!” As a result, there are multiple on-screen deaths that I really didn't give a solitary shit about. I think “oh well” was the closest I could get to an emotional response when seeing some people kick the bucket, and that was with the recurring characters. Not only that but the newer people are given so little depth that they're really more like attention-seeking extras. I wasn't exactly bothered when my own granddad died, so good fucking luck trying to make me give a monkeys cock about them.

Luckily however, Jennifer Lawrence is as brilliant as she always has been and really does hold everything together. Even when she's kissing both Peeta and Gale, I can't get too mad at her for being the prick teasing little bitch that she clearly is. I guess she doesn't know which of the two will survive the battle, and so why not keep treating their cocks and hearts like spinning plates on a stick and just wait to see who falls first? The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 might not have a beginning, but it sure as fuck has about a million endings which I'm sure will mean more to the book lovers than it did to me. There's about nine places where the credits could have faded in, however it instead chose to drag on to the point that I was expecting to see Samwise Gamgee wander in with that cocksucker smile of his again. At the end of the day, this franchise has been too frightened to stray away from its source material and too desperate to hoover up as much money as possible before it's too late. However despite it starting off life as a toned down version of Battle Royale, I would still consider myself a fan. It's a young adult franchise that focuses on the idea of a world in which teenagers are forced to kill each other to keep the public from rebelling. Have you seen how annoying teenagers are? Even the oldest of them was born in the late-nineties so fuck them! Thanks for reading motherfucker, and see you next time. 

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