This week I will combine two columns into one! I tried to get this out last week but every time I started to work on it, I got pulled in another direction, mostly towards work and getting the theater ready for The MockingJay to take flight and lift the box-office fortunes with it. This week we will cover Katniss as well as take a look at another sequel that hit theaters in the past week.
First up is DUMB AND DUMBER TO (PG-13 107 Minutes) the sequel to the original Dumb and Dumber from 1994. In case you’re not good at math, that is TWENTY YEARS ago. Some films work their way into the public conscience to such a degree that no matter how much time has gone by, people are still ready for another film with those characters. Star Wars comes to mind. Dumb and Dumber does not. When it came out in 1994, Jim Carrey was red-hot and still on the rise and the film was a hefty sized hit. The films writers and directors, Bobby and Peter Farrelly were also red-hot and their biggest (and best film in my opinion) 1998’s There’s something about Mary, was still to come.
Now, twenty-years later they are all coming together to…make some easy cash. Sorry, but that’s what it feels like. I can count on one hand the comedy sequels that are funny and still have fingers left over. Not comedy sequels that are as good as the first films, just sequels that were at least a little funny.
I’m trying to think of one….um…..anyone?
Okay…we’ll come back to that, or maybe we won’t.
Lets talk about Jennifer Lawrence, shall we?
The Hunger Games: MockingJay Part 1 (PG-13 122 Minutes) is the dystopian future film featuring a young woman as its lead who is torn (sort of) between two different young men in between battles for the future of mankind that may kill them all at any minute, that we’ve been waiting for!
Sorry, Divergent and The Giver….we had a nice flirtation, but our hearts have always belonged to Katniss Everdeen and even though she is snarky and might send an arrow through our hearts for trying to get close to her, she is where our true love lies.
Yes, all joking aside, if you look at the first two films in this series, the shortcomings of those other pretenders to the throne become very clear. Gary Ross set the stage and took care of the main casting and Francis Lawrence came in for part two and raised the game of everyone involved (no puns intended) and he again brings his A game to the first part of the two-part finale to the series that has made almost a Billion dollars.
If you have read the book then you know what to expect. The Games are over, this time it’s war and the gloves are off, both for the Capital and the evil President Snow, played with relish by Donald Sutherland, who hasn’t been this alive on-screen in years, and for the rebels, led by President Coin, played by Julianne Moore.
Caught in the middle between all the warring factions is Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, a girl who only wants to keep her family and friends safe but finds herself being seen as the MockingJay….or Leader of a growing rebellion that has taken on a life of its own.
If you are expecting a simple story of good versus evil and easy heroes and villains, then look elsewhere because this story is many things, but simple isn’t one of them.
It’s the complexity of the story that made the books bestsellers not just to the target audiences, but to discerning readers, myself included, who enjoyed the layered storytelling and the fast paced nature of the story being told.
Yes, this is only half a film and yes, readers of the book probably can guess where they split the story. Right after that person tries to do that thing that you aren’t expecting….and yes, that is exactly where the film DOES end, but it feels more complete as a film than part one of the last Harry Potter film did, I will say that.
And let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter what I say, or what anyone says, you’re probably going to see this film. It’s projected to make anywhere from 130 million to 150 million over the three and a half days from Thursday night to Sunday night, so a lot of people will be watching to see how long it takes for Katniss to embrace her destiny and become the MockingJay even though the actual conclusion of the story won’t happen until next November.
It’s fate. Stop fighting it.
I’ll see you next week with a piece of turkey in my hand and a smile on my face, so have a great weekend and (one last time….) May the odds be ever in your favor….
Until next time, keep the projector threaded.