Next week, the final installment of The Hunger Games will be released in movie theatres nationwide.
I'm hoping that my teenage daughter will deign to attend this major cinema event with me. Not because I'm particularly looking forward to it. (I'm not.) Not because I enjoyed the last book in the series more than (or even as much as) the other two. (I didn't.) Not because I give a rat's you-know-what about what happens to Katniss, Peeta or Gale. (I don't.)
I want to go to Hunger Games: Mockingjay 2 with my daughter because (a) she rarely wants to go to movies, and (b) she even more rarely wants to go to them with me. In truth, I'd happily go to pretty much any movie she suggested, pull out the credit card and pay ridiculous sums for seats and popcorn. Yes, I'm a shameless-opportunist-movie-going-ho and I'll be the first to admit it. My darling daughter who used to love going places with her doting mama is too busy these days. And if it takes a big budget dystopian sequel to bring us together for an afternoon ... so be it.
Four years ago, while she was still in middle school, my daughter insisted that I read the books by Suzanne Collins before she would permit me to see the first movie. By the time the two of us sat down in the local multiplex together, she had already seen it twice.
A year later, we saw the second movie. Again, it was a repeat performance for my daughter who managed to see it, not once, not twice, but three times during its opening week — all supported by my credit card, oddly enough. Still, we enjoyed the time together, and I had to admit that the two films stayed true to the books and gave my daughter a fearless — and female — hero to root for.
So, fast forward another two years and to prepare for our next outing (not yet confirmed, btw), I recently watched Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 on Amazon Prime. I can't recall who my daughter saw it with when it was released last year, but suffice it to say, 'tweren't me.
The third movie picks up where the second left off. Our gal Katniss (the all-around wonderful Jennifer Laurence) has now survived two Hunger Games and despite a lot of PTSD, she has to stand up and become the symbol of the revolution. The districts have finally had enough (about time!) and they are going to fight until they're free. President Snow (a thoroughly evil Donald Sutherland) will stop at nothing to punish the rebels. Meanwhile, President Coin (Julianne Moore in believable bitch-queen mode) has her own agenda and is happy to use Katniss (and anyone else) to promote it. As for the love triangle from the earlier films, Gale (Liam Hemsworth) is finally in his element as an heroic freedom fighter, while Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), brainwashed in the Capitol, has gone bat-sh*t crazy.
Did I leave anyone out? Oh yeah, Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) is fashioning fashion out of trash bags; Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson in a part he probably paid to play) still acts like a boozer whether there's booze or not; Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci, my favorite) is still prancing about on air; and Plutarch Heavensbee (the late Philip Seymour Hoffman) remains the steady voice of reason whether he was working for Snow (he wasn't really ... shhhhh) or masterminding the resistance.
If nothing else, we have to give Collins kudos for the names of the characters! They're delightful.
So, I paid my dues, sat through the sequels, and now I'm ready for the fourth and final installment. Katniss and company, here I come.
Assuming that my daughter doesn't have any other plans, of course.
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