Quality: This score indicates entertainment value.
0 stars is horrible, while 5 stars is spectacular.
Political: This score addresses political messaging.
0 stars is aggressively anti-Conservative, while 5 stars is highly pro-Conservative. 3 stars is apolitical.
Moral/Religious (M/R): This score addresses moral and religious messaging.
0 stars is either intensely immoral or all-out, needless assault on Christianity. 5 stars is either great moral messaging or highly pro-Christian. 3 stars is inoffensive either way.
Quality – 4 stars, Political – 4 stars, M/R – 3 star
Have you noticed movies with young people are getting depressing?
“Day 1: The name’s Dorothy. My team and I are going to kill a Wicked Witch. I didn’t want this job. But the people said I was their Mockingjay. Said the Force was strong with me. Said I was Divergent—huh? Said I was the Ring Bearer. They wouldn’t stop saying I was things till I took the mission.”
“Day 2. Our numbers are dwindling. Scarecrow went first. Bringing the world’s most flammable man to a war zone—that one’s on me. Poof! Gone. And Lion? Turned and ran—right into a wall. We just left him there.”
“Day 3. Had to cut Tin Man loose, once his oil dependency flared up. I got no time for junkies.”
“Day 4. Should have known Toto was helping the Witch. He changed after her ‘treatments.’ Wouldn’t come when I called. Twitched a lot. Never blinked. When I caught him giving away our position, he just laughed and said, ‘Trust me! We’re both from Kansas!’ Those were his last words. This ain’t no freakin’ Kansas.”
“Day 5. I’m all that’s left now. Not my fault. I promised them brains, heart and courage in a magical land of music and dancing—but recruiters always say that! I needed bodies, dammit! I needed bodies!”
“Day 7. Haven’t eaten in two days; not since that flying monkey crossed my path. It was him or me. War changes a girl.”
“War changes a girl.”
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay II" is a worthy finale for this blockbuster franchise. There’s good action. Terrifying special effects. Though at times predictable, Hunger 4 maintains a dystopian blend of coolness and dread.
The lone drawback? This film is grim. Hopes keep getting dashed. Beloved characters keep dropping—one seemingly from nowhere. Like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Matrix, and any other “Chosen One” series, the central character becomes gloomier as the climax nears.
No light remains in the eyes of Katniss Everdeen.
Reprising her signature role, Jennifer Lawrence balances poise with vulnerability. Katniss is hurting, yet more driven than ever. She races through peril. But wearing her down are swirling political agendas—so she often appears, frankly, irritated. Josh Hutcherson captivates as the damaged Peeta, a tortured soul with literal love-hate feelings toward Katniss. And oozing villainy from every pore, Donald Sutherland dominates as the evil President Snow, while Julianne Moore brings cold ambition to President Coin (neither Snow nor Coin are polling well for 2016).
It’s not like “Hunger Games: Mockingjay II” is always depressing. There’s romance—okay, conflicted romance, as Katniss remains torn between Peeta and the hunky but wooden Gale (Liam Hemsworth). And there’s some honest discussion of war; both its necessity and horror. For young viewers, this will provide more insight than most academic lectures.
There’s political intrigue, with Coin wanting Katniss held back from the front lines as more of a PR goddess—all to help Coin’s ascendency. Wary of Coin’s goals, Katniss prefers fighting to rallying, but Coin has a point: This dystopian world is a strange one, where citizens only fight after lengthy speeches from hot girls wearing leather. Go figure.
If the action drags, it’s because Director Francis Lawrence does a fine job building tension. Just wait…it’s coming. Of particular interest is watching Katniss’s shrinking Seal Team Six press forth to the Capital, setting off “pods” that bring everything from boiling oil to monsters called “mutts.” (Note: These are almost identical to vampires from the movie, “Priest”) It’s cool stuff.
Okay, maybe this whole film is depressing. Bleak to a fault, “Hunger Games: Mockingbird II” feels like a kid’s birthday party where the clown is going through a nasty divorce. “Don’t ever trust a broad, kids. I drink to quiet the pain. Hey, who wants cake?”
I do. I want cake. I want fun. I want to laugh again—to feel the warm sun upon my face. But with all its misery and woe, Hunger 4 sends us off with thrilling combat and a satisfying ending—one of the more pleasing conclusions I’ve seen in years. Sure, young people will stream from the theatre with shaken expressions, looking for their safe space. But I liked it.
Still, I’ll probably rent The Wizard of Oz now. The happy one.