Tag Archive for 'Dystopian'

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 movie review

A couple weeks ago, I saw The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 at the movie theater on opening night. I went because it was a date, and I may brag that I was a thoughtful date because I bought the tickets several days in advance, which at this theater made a difference because seats are assigned. I locked in a great pair of almost center seat. Being a sound geek, I always want to sit in the center to get the best sound stage perspective, aka sweet spot. The production on this film was great, as I would always expect of a film of this caliber.

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3rd teaser poster for the film The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. Licensed under Fair use Wikipedia

The Hunger Games series attracts a crowd younger than me, but overall it is a pretty good franchise because kind of like the 1990s TV show La Femme Nikita, it depicts the struggle between being oneself and trying to sustain that while an oppressor tries to take that from you. That concept probably is universal because in almost every culture people imagine a life they dream of and actually live a different life. That struggle to close that gap between the two is relatable to everyone with a pulse, and that struggle is probably one of the closest examples to essence of what it means to be human.

So, considering the target audience of this franchise, I was quite surprised how dark and traumatic this film was, spanning the realities of war to severe mental illness. Basically, the entire film takes place in an underground city built inside of a bunker designed to withstand heavy bombing. In one scene where the bombing actually begins to take place, I was pleasantly surprised and equally yet appropriately disturbed that when all of the citizens were rushed down into the bomb shelters, we could hear the screaming of all of the citizens during each explosion. It really made me think that this is reality for many people in the world today, regardless of who is foe or friend. People experience this fear all the same when a bomb rumbles the very ground and roof of your personal space, and yet we do that to each other. Fortunately, I’ve never had to experience that.

I really like how openly the characters discuss the creation and staging of propaganda. It almost feels satirical or educational in comparison to what happens on our news outlets today.

All of the characters show development in this series from the previous installments. It almost feels like that while Katnis, the main protagonist played by Jenifer Lawrence, hangs on to her identity the best she can, the other characters around her also begin to get more in touch with their own true identities.

I’m not a great critic of acting, but I’ve been told that one of the most difficult things to act is to act like if you’re acting. In the first act of the film, Katnis is asked to act in a propaganda clip where she delivers lines in various rigid ways, like one would expect from an under privileged girl of a coal miner who has no acting training or experience. It was fun and painful to watch Jennifer Lawrence deliver this, and that’s what made it seem so good.

Perhaps this installment is like a well written children’s show, lots of fun on the outside with fairly important messages underneath that a wise parent could bring up at the dinner table to make a lesson or two on life.

In conclusion, this film and series isn’t for everyone to indulge in, but most folks can find something to take away from this.

The Maze Runner movie review

Last week I went to see the film adaptation of the book by James Dashner The Maze Runner. Having gone with someone who has already read the book, I received great insight. Overall I enjoyed the movie very much and would see it again. This film is a young-adult post-apocalyptic science-fiction story where boys are deposited into a community surrounded by a colossal maze after having their memories erased. The only way out of this community is through the maze.

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The Maze Runner (2014) Poster

As I suspected in comparison to the book with this movie just shy of 2 hours in length, the film wastes a lot of time in the opening act due to a poor attempt to build curiosity in the viewer about the story by basically prolonging a question and answer sequence that explains the setting. A major drawback in this film adaptation is that none of the relationships were developed. It literally left the audience feeling that there is no investment between the individual characters.

As the story progressed, it truly explored very interesting symbols that represent life on many different levels. The sheer concept of running through maze, for example, is not dissimilar to the analogy of life for the common person is a “rat race.” How the boys built a society shows insight to the individual psychology of each boy because three years before the story begins there was only one boy who got dropped into the green glade that becomes the home base from which the boys try to run the maze. The boys established a democracy but where a hierarchy was respected. The hierarchy was segregated into functional areas, and a person from one functional area did not have direct influence over another functional area, including superiors, which was set by seniority. However, it was evident that the longer a boy was in the community, the less malleable his mind was.

As soon as the main character Thomas arrived to the scene, he immediately started thinking about how to get out of the community, and this drove the whole story. The creator of the maze and all evil things within it is the omniscient antagonist that has put all the boys into the glade, as well as, delivered any supplies over the course of the years. There is a stark contrast between Thomas and the leader of the boys who has simply accepted that life will always be as it is.

One of the most comical symbols in the story was when the antagonist dropped in a girl, which was the final delivery from the creators of the maze, meaning no further supplies would be delivered. It made me want to ask after the movie, “How can there be only one Smurfette for all of those Smurfs?”

Overall, it is not a movie that keeps giving over and over each time it is watched, but at least a few viewings could deliver some entertainment and discussions.

Never Let Me Go movie review

Exactly two weeks ago, I watched the movie Never Let Me Go, which is a movie about orphans of some sort that are aggregated into a secret program and are reared to grow into adults, at which time, will only donate vital organs. Some pass away after their first donation; some donate four times or more. Never Let Me Go is the most depressing movie I’ve ever seen. The only more depressing thing was a Frontline documentary The Suicide Tourist.

There is terminology used in this movie that is unclear from the very beginning because we don’t normally use these words to represent the meanings implied in the movie. To “complete” means to die, for example. Virtually all of the main characters wanted to find their biological parents.

What really gets to me is why if all of these individuals knew that they were destined to die as part of a program, why didn’t any of them try to run away? They wore tracking bracelets like wrist watches that could probably be easily removed. Also, as adults, they had much freedom to move about the country (Britain), so I don’t understand why they returned back to the facilities. That part was a little unbelievable to me. If you like depressing movies, then this one is for you. I don’t think there was a single bit of comic relief in the entire film.