Mockingjay Has Been Split into Two Movies. Get Over It or GTFO.

This post will be about the fact that Mockingjay was split into two movies, but there will be no mention of where the split happens or spoilers about the film.

If you’ve read any negative reviews of Mockingjay Part 1, you can be sure that a major gripe with the reviewer is that Mockingjay is continuing the trend of making the final book of a series into multiple movies. These people want the trend to DIE because they don’t want Hollywood to make more money on blockbuster movies at the expense of the sanctity of cinema. It’s a cash grab that offends them on behalf of the moviegoers that actually have to pay to see movies. Meanwhile the publication they write for probably has articles every other week about how Hollywood isn’t growing box office receipts enough. Negativity begets web traffic which begets more ad dollars which keeps that person in a job.

Katniss CoinWhen Lionsgate made the decision to split Mockingjay into two movies, I think the decision was purely financial. They weren’t thinking it would make the fans happy, they were thinking that the audience who had miraculously made The Hunger Games into a monster hit would be willing to stick around, so it would be fiscally irresponsible NOT TO make an additional film. If you’re a studio executive, you don’t leave money like that on the table if you want to keep your job for long.

I don’t own any Lionsgate stock, so I don’t have any stake in their financial success. However, I would be pissed if they decided to keep the budget low and make two cheap films to squeeze even more dollars out of the franchise. But they didn’t. They bankrolled talented people to make these movies and gave it a large enough budget to look great. If they give me two movies I enjoy, I will happily pay to see each one.

D8-Hospital1-620x413And you know what, I’ve seen Mockingjay Part 1 twice now, and I love it. I’m glad I get two films to go more into detail of a book that means so much to me. If they had made just one movie, it would have been rushed, and long, and left too much out.  Yes, at the end, I really wanted the movie to keep going, but that’s the point. It’s not going to end in a neat little bow. I was prepared for that, so I’m a satisfied movie-goer.

So let’s break it down, who is going to be unhappy about Mockingjay being two movies?

  • People who don’t really like the book.
  • People blinded by the “YA” heritage of this series to see the universal relevance of the story.
  • People who haven’t read the book but just show up for THE HUNGER GAMES killin’ action movie or because Jennifer Lawrence is hot, without any self-awareness or care of how “Capitol” that sentiment is.

At the end of the day, if Mockingjay had been one movie, I don’t think it would have won over those people anyway. The book is a huge departure from the first two in the series. It’s darker and more introspective and not for everyone. But I’m ready to see Mockingjay Part 1 yet again, and will enjoy the ride up to the finale next year.

Happy Mockingjay PART 1 weekend,

JJ

 

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4 comments

  1. Slightly OT but relevant to this and I want to get this off my chest, so if you’ll allow me to, to quote Beetee, “interrupt your regularly scheduled horse manure” (not at all implying any of this sites posts are horse manure at all!!! Just borrowing my fav quote…)

    I’m not a fan of a LOT of fans going on about people who criticise the movie for being a drag and too slow to get through responding with “oh you don’t get and appreciate all the themes, significance, the characterisation, all you’re looking for is popcorn action yadda yadda yadda”.

    Slow paced, dark and action deprived films don’t have to be boring or a slog or chore to get through.p ad I’ve seen many examples of that. MJ1 thematically is rich and compelling and I appreciated it wholeheartedly. But did surprisingly a lot of the time (60% or so) felt unnecessarily dragged and a slog. Funnily enough, it’s in the bits and scenes that were adapted without any changes from the book, aside from one or two exceptions. The bits that were changed from the book or added to the book? Those were the strongest parts of the film.

    Now unfortunately the issue here is that to make the film (emphasis on the wold film) better, you’ll have to make changes to the source material that will be seen as radical, including, yes, taking away bits. The film either adds or changed, but never takes away from the source and I’m not sure that’s a good thingp because it’s exactly the bits that weren’t changed from source that were weak in my opinion.

    Going to the topic at hand of the split – yes there is a feeling of incompleteness unfortunately but it’s not as bad as I thought, but it’s still there. As a standalone piece at the moment it doesn’t quite work for me, and yes making changes I talked about above would have made it better as a standalone too. After thinking about the film for past couple of days though, that lack of completeness isn’t the main reason why I’m unhappy about this split. If Francis had to make it into one 160 minute film, then he would have had to make more radical changes to the source material, and with the film we have now he clearly showed that all the changes he made are for the better, especially and at least in filmic terms. Yes those changes may have caused for a less faithful adaptation, but it would have made it better as a FILM, not only because it’d feel complete and be able to stand on its own, but also because (at least the first half because I hope MJ2 is back to CF levels of brilliance) it’d be more cinematically compelling even with the dark themes, tone, pace characterisation you name it – Francis would nail it had he been given the chance and if he didn’t want to not cause an uprising amongst the book fans.

    Actually I’d be interesting to see a post on whether the films should have a prerogative of being tailored to fans and be faithful to the book or not…

  2. I completely agree with this post and couldn´t have expressed myself any better. The story is soooo much more than the mere games, and all the action. And people who don´t get that should just try to think why they like cinema in the first place. For me, a good movie is one that makes me think about several issues, and does not dumb me down for 2 or more hours.
    “The Hunger Games” book series are considered YA, but in fact, they are not. They cover a wider age range, because it´s not just a love story, it´s a war story, and war´s consequences.
    Mockingjay, for me, is the book where the real message Suzanne intended to share with her audience really comes to life, with all it´s complexities and painful eye-openers. This was my favorite book out of all 3, and so I am MORE than happy that they decided to split the story.
    This was the only way to do the book justice. And, after seeing the movie, I am so glad that they did. Francis Lawrence was the perfect choice indeed. And now…BRING ON PART TWO!

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