I didn’t start this blog with the intention of reviewing television shows and movies, but I like discussing them.  I also think that talking about them provides a good mechanism for keeping the pen going while I’m taking a break from the other things I’m working on.  That is, if it doesn’t become a distraction or a means of procrastination.  I’ll try to guard against that.  If you’ve read some of my Game of Thrones recaps, you may have noticed that I try to keep them to a numbered list of ten items.  To reinforce that intent, I think I’ll categorize these under “Quick Thoughts”.

I stumbled on the iTunes $.99 rental feature last night and gave it a go.  Mockingjay Part 2. If you haven’t seen the Hunger Games finale, probably best to stop reading now.  There will definitely be spoilers below.

In case you missed that last sentence, there will be **spoilers**.

1.  The movie was fun and easy to watch, but I think it misfired and stumbled in places.  I can understand the director’s decision to break it into two parts, but I think doing so came at a cost.  The momentum and rhythm was broken up, and the actors seemed tired. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if they intended to convey the sense of war fatigue, but I don’t think they hit the right notes.

2.  Jennifer Lawrence is a fantastic actress.  I thought she did a great job throughout the series making the character believable, even though I don’t think they gave her great stuff to work with in this final episode.  It can’t be easy to maintain that sense of being a character who is reluctantly thrust into the role of revolutionary leader and figurehead.  I haven’t read the books, but I suspect the author had the choice of sticking with the notion of a reluctant hero or exploring the idea that the hero would start to believe her own hype. Jennifer Lawrence convincingly portrayed that reluctance, successfully avoiding the trap of “thy do protest too much”.  That said, I think the director knocked her out too many times and definitely went to the well too often by having her constantly gazing wide-eyed at something off-screen and rushing towards it.

3.  I don’t think the infiltration set up worked all that well.  I think it probably looked good on paper.  The writers and director needed to get the protagonists into the Capitol (or is it into Capitol?), and they needed to do so while keeping them out of a full-scale battle sequence and introducing some of the horrific aspects of the games.  But despite Boggs’ claim that they would be behind the main effort filming propaganda film, it sure seemed like they were the first into the city.  How did the main effort pass through without setting off the pods?  Only one holo?  Come again?  I found that a little confusing.

4.  Great cast.  But perhaps an example of having too much of a good thing.  It was disappointing to see Haymitch and Effie marginalized.  I realize there were a lot of characters who needed to be introduced, but I think the movie would have benefitted from more screen time for them.

5.  Two of the most important character/relationship evolutions were rushed.  I liked what they were going for in the depictions of Coin’s motivation and ruthlessness, and I thought the growing chasm between Katniss and Gale was interesting and plausible, but I would have liked to have seen both developed more thoroughly.

6.  Natalie Dormer’s Cressida, Sam Caflin’s Finnick Odair, and Stanley Tucci’s Caesar Flickerman stole the show.  Cressida was awesome in every scene.  When first introduced, I presumed that her character would go the route of cliched scheming filmmaker.  Instead, they made her a fiercely capable character.  She owned it in the tunnels.  Finnick proved to be the most likable character.  It usually bodes ill for the character shown to be enjoying the happiest circumstances, in this case being reunited with a loved one and getting married.  While Finnick couldn’t escape that kiss of death, he had you rooting for him instead of dreading the inevitable tug on the heart strings.  Stanley Tucci pulled off the impossible.  You looked forward to seeing his despicable, slimy Caesar on-screen.

7.  I was shooting for 10 items, but I started this late at night.  I’m tired, and if I save this as a draft to revisit later, I think I’ll have violated the spirit of “Quick Thoughts”.  My points above likely sound pretty negative.  I thought there were some missteps with the movie, but I had fun watching it, and it was a steal at $.99.