I read the Harry Potter books one by one as they came out. I watched the movies for a while. But I stopped. They just … lost the appeal I guess.
I’ve read and re-read the Hobbit many times. It’s a great book and I still enjoy reading it. I watched Peter Jackson’s first two movies and never bothered with the third. I just couldn’t be interested.
When I discovered Suzanne Collin’s three book series ‘The Hunger Games’, I literally read all three of them over the course of a week. Perhaps it was faster. I wasn’t particularly excited about the movies, but I went to the first one anyway.
It was better than I expected. It was good enough that when Chasing Fire came out, I watched it too. I wasn’t quite as impressed, but like the book, the movie is a bridge. It gets the reader (or viewer) from the end of the first book into the beginning of the third. So I didn’t fault the directing, the casting, or the production. It was after all a reflection of the source.
I was disappointed to read that the third movie was split in two. I immediately think about The Hobbit and worry. I need not have. Mockingbird (part 1) was excellent, with good pacing and a nasty cliffhanger that left me wanting more. I never felt it went over-long.
Which leads my to tonight. Unlike Harry Potter, unlike The Hobbit, I finished watching the full series tonight. Part two of Mockingbird picks up where part 1 left off and beautifully executes the book (at least as I remember it). The sappiness is there (and appropriate). The strength of character is there (and appropriate). The acting is good, the directing is tight. The movie was not too long, nor too short.
I left happy. It’s not a happy movie, but it ends on an uplifting note. Even the most broken of people can survive. Perhaps even thrive. Just like the book.
It’s nice to see an adaptation that stays true to the book and isn’t hopelessly bogged down in the details. Peter Craig, Danny Strong, and Collins herself deserve credit for pulling it off.