Looking at the all-important Rottentomatoes Tomatometer on Monday, your eyes might have popped at the near 90% positive rating the latest “Hunger Games” film, “Mockingjay — Part 1,” was earning.
Those are “Gravity” numbers, “Avatar” level appreciation.
Then you scan the list and see it’s British critics who got to see the film earlier — at a junket, earlier opening. Overwhelming endorsements. Well, they are the elder culture. Defer to the Limeys, right?
About 30 minutes into the film Tuesday night, I rolled my eyes, cast my third look at my watch (wore a battery out checking the time) and thought, “The wankers. What do they know?”
Teenage girls were lining up last night, filling shows at a theater where I was seeing a preview of “A Most Violent Year,” reminding us that “Games” is still most generously described as a femme-centric “YA” sci-fi piece, appreciated for the empowering hints in its heroine, mockable for its insipid “Extreme Makeover: Future Fashionista” elements.
Endorsing this is pandering to an audience that will make it a hit. Endorsing it, in a fanboy sense, is confusing “dark” and “murky” and downbeat for “deep.”
American reviews — mine was the first — started knocking this dog down. It sits at an overly generous 70% on the tomatometer, a more realistic 63 on the more reliably accurate Metacritic meter. American critics are very divided on it.
Not an awful film, just a space-filler between “Catching Fire” and the pointlessly split off “Mockingjay Part 2.” Passable director, straight from TV’s “Gotham” and “I Am Legend.” Dopey, action-starved script. They might have gotten a decent movie, with a real arc to the story, had they done the whole novel. Cynically, they cashed in by splitting it.
And Jennifer Lawrence is cell-phoning it in in between taking selfies. The worst acting this Oscar winner does is in the movies that made her rich.
It’ll make a billion, but that’s no endorsement. This same crowd subjected the universe to “Twilight” sequels and made “Divergent” a hit. Sci-fi lite, vampire romances, etc. It’s a cultural phenomenon in a faddish sense, not some lasting contribution to film or literature. Not to rain all over teenage girls and their latest mania.