Mini Movie Reviews: Maleficent and Mockingjay Part 1

Maleficent

MaleficentI didn’t have a lot of interest in Maleficent, initially. It looked like one of those movies that could be good, but could also be pretty bad. After hearing a couple of co-workers praise it, I decided to check it, and to my relief it was pretty good. It has nice visuals, the acting is good (Angelina Jolie of course steal the shows in the title role, but Elle Fanning was also good), and the plot and writing aren’t lacking the way Snow White and The Huntsman was (though there is a pretty major plot hole that my husband and I basically facepalmed over). I think my favorite part was watching the various transformations of Maleficent. Also, you think there’s going to be insta-love in the movie, and then it actually ends up sort of poking fun at it and proving to be just insta-attraction, which is totally viable. The movie is definitely worth at least one watch.

3stars2Mockingjay Part 1

mockingjay-movie

I have to say that I have been really surprised to see a lot of mixed feelings about Mockingjay Part One among book bloggers. Before I dig into my thoughts on how the movie turned out, let me lay out my expectations…

– Mockingjay is my least favorite book of the trilogy because I think the pacing is weird and it’s just a lot of bad stuff happening. Plus Peeta is missing for a good chunk of it and if you read my blog regularly you know he’s my favorite.

– I have immense respect for how Francis Lawrence picked up where Gary Ross left off and was able to maintain the look and feel of the first movie while improving it as well as staying more true to the book than the predecessor. I thought Catching Fire the movie was so good that I might even like it more than the book, though it’s hard to say for sure without rereading it.

So in conclusion, while part of me wondered how Mockingjay could possible be made into two decent movies, I actually had a lot of faith in Francis Lawrence.

And personally, I think he nailed it.

I’m not going to get into a deep analysis of the movie, but what I will say is that the parts of the movie that were added and not from the book, everything with Effie, the portrayal of Katniss dealing with PTSD, all the propo stuff, and then that RESCUE OPERATION SCENE, were pretty close to perfect to me. Seriously. Given the source material, I don’t know if Francis Lawrence could have done much better. It is a slow-paced movie, and it’s not filled with the same sort of action, excitement, and romance as the first two, BUT IT’S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE. The third book is very different from the first two. It’s all about Katniss’s struggle and I think I felt closer to it in the movie than I did in the book. The only complaint I have is the omission of this conversation-

Haymitch takes the seat across from me. “We’re going to have to work together again. So, go ahead. Just say it.”

… All I can say is “I can’t believe you didn’t rescue Peeta.”

“I know,” he replies.

There’s a sense of incompleteness. And not because he hasn’t apologized. But because we were a team. We had a deal to keep Peeta safe. A drunken, unrealistic deal made in the dark of night, but a deal just the same. And in my heart of hearts, I know we both failed.

“Now you say it,” I tell him.

“I can’t believe you let him out of your sight that night,” says Haymitch.

I nod. That’s it.

It’s not necessarily an enjoyable watch, per se, because it is two hours of Katniss with PTSD, but there are some lighter moments and overall, I found it extremely worthwhile and a very worthy adaptation.

4-5stars-editWhat are your thoughts on these movies?

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