Peter Suderman Reviews The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1



My review of the third Hunger Games movie, from The Washington Times:

Jennifer Lawrence is as much the hero of "The Hunger Games" as is her on-screen alter ego Katniss Everdeen, the sullen, brave, self-obsessed, self-sacrificing protagonist at the center of the movies.

On paper, the character doesn't make much sense, but Ms. Lawrence does a masterful job of turning the script's creations into an unruly and fascinating character.

It's easy to accept those contradictions, even when they don't seem to add up, because Ms. Lawrence seems to be struggling with them as well, slowly coming to terms with the mess of who she is. It's that struggle that makes her so watchable, and that carries the movies.

That's good, because there's a lot that doesn't add up in the latest entry, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1," which adapts the first half of the third and final book in the enormously popular Hunger Games series of young adult novels.

The story picks up shortly after the second film left off: Katniss, after sabotaging the murderous games at the heart of her society's dystopian social order, has been whisked away by the resistance to a secret buried city: District 13, a low-lit, utilitarian bunker that looks like a cross between an airport, a dorm and a cafeteria.

Once there, she becomes the Mockingjay — a symbol of the rebellion, cast in propaganda films designed to spur on the resistance of the other districts, which are, for all practical purposes, slaves to the rich, elitist denizens of the Capitol.

Newcomers will likely be lost, but even casual viewers may find themselves with nagging questions about the series' lore. The political and economic structures employed by the Capitol, led by the malevolent President Snow (a delightfully icy Donald Sutherland) to control the outer districts, never really make sense.

Read the complete review, which focuses heavily on the problematic social mechanics that undergird the story. As I say in the review, it's in many ways the most interesting of the films so far, but it's also the weakest. 

NEXT: Immigrants Have Mixed Feelings Over Obama's Announcement, Everybody Sues the President, Plague Is the Disease of the Week: P.M. Links

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  1. Van Jones tried to get the point of Hunger Games and relate it back to modern America. But he failed big time, of course.

    1. Oh god... the comments are even worse. Don't click the link. It's not worth it.

      Where's the delete button?

    2. Poor guy. He's trying so hard, but the more he writes the more he proves his own point wrong.

  2. ...in the enormously popular Hunger Games series of young adult novels.

    Wait. These books are for young adults? As for how Snow controls the outer districts, isn't it obvious? Threatening to withhold highway funds.

  3. Katniss Everdeen, the sullen, brave, self-obsessed, self-sacrificing protagonist at the center of the movies.

    Considering said protagonist is only around due to being the most successful child-serial killer in her age group, is "self-sacrificing" really an accurate description?

    1. Self-and-other sacrificing?

    2. She took her sister's place. Her sister was small and weak (both STR and CON well below average) and didn't have any points in the Wilderness Survival skill package or the Weapon Specialization - Short Bow Skill. The poor little thing would have been dead before the District 1 kids got to the Cornucopia.

  4. These movies aren't terrible but they're nothing to write home about. However, their greatest crime is dying Lawrence's hair black and frumping her up. She's too good looking for that, it's a waste. I'm going to protest by not going to see this one. Ok, that's not much of a threat or protest, but you get my point.

    1. There is an unmade movie with Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Dormer that I would go see. But this doesn't seem appealing. I'm especially not going to pay to see it just because of that whole "Part 1" shit.

  5. The logic of the world is probably why I don't give a shit. I don't understand why anyone cares about this Panem world, or these stupid games, or the characters. It's all been done better.


  6. I just like looking a Jennifer Lawrence. I could not care less about the plot (unless they kill her off).

  7. The real reason Suderman hates it is because he's rooting for the Capitol.

    1. I find this future where Oddball is a dictator a little strange. Though I've been disappointed in the films so far, because he hasn't referenced his "Always with the negative waves" quote. Which seems appropriate when he's talking to Jennifer Lawrence.

  8. So basically, the movie fails for the same reason the book fails.

  9. The first movie sucked so much, I haven't seen any others (including this one). You kids enjoy it. I think it was a horrible, derivative story, poorly told (AGAIN).


    And Jennifer Dumbass ain't that hawt, so....

    1. Actually, she's really hot, but they ugly her up some for these movies, unfortunately. Check out something else she's in like American Hustle.

  10. I'd tap that.

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  12. While I rather liked reading the whole Hunger Games series, it did require a lot of suspended disbelief. As Mr. Suderman points out, what were the games actually supposed to do? How did they get to be must-see TV? Doesn't that make the viewers in the districts as degenerate as their masters in the Capitol?

    And for those who have read all the books to the end: Is it just me, or does it appear that even with the Capitol overthrown, things never really got all that better?

    Oh, by the way: Some Guy, you made me click on the Jones piece. Shame on you!

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