Recently I heard that they’re planning to split the last movie of the Divergent trilogy into two parts. This is the fourth time this has happened in the making of movie adaptations of young adult series. The first, of course, was Harry Potter, which split Deathly Hallows into two movies, the first of which consisted of Harry, Ron, and Hermione standing around in the woods, with the second part containing most of the “meat” of the last book and being a much better finish to what I thought was a pretty good movie series, all things considered. Splitting the last book, however, was not one of the wiser decisions made by the people behind this series, and – I don’t care what anyone says otherwise, you’re all lying to yourselves – was just a method of getting the whole franchise more money.
Not far behind was Twilight, which split Breaking Dawn into two parts, and if I cared about Twilight/had seen any of the movies after New Moon I might be able to comment further. But my best guess as to the motivations behind this split is, funnily enough, the same as my guess for Harry Potter’s: cha-ching.
Then The Hunger Games people announced that it was splitting Mockingjay into two parts, and that was the first time I got really concerned.
You see, the Harry Potter film franchise was, for the most part, good, but by the time the last (two) movies rolled around they’d already had their fuck-ups. Prisoner of Azkaban was awful and Order of the Phoenix was only as good as the book it was based on (which, in my humble opinion, was the weakest and worst of the series), so everyone had reasonable expectations of the filmmakers and the filmmakers produced reasonable results. Not only that, the Harry Potter films are not and never will be as good as the books, so if fans became disappointed with the film series at any point, they still had the books to turn to.
With The Hunger Games, however, we have a very different problem. I liked The Hunger Games book, thought Catching Fire was eh, and thought Mockingjay was one of the worst treekilling pieces of shit to have been published um, whatever year it was published. It was and remains the worst ending to a book series I have ever read. I don’t want to get into specifics now, but keep in mind that Mockingjay is a much shorter book than Deathly Hallows, and Deathly Hallows would have been just fine as one film. If Part 1 of Deathly Hallows was Harry, Ron, and Hermione standing around in the woods for two hours, then Part 1 of Mockingjay is going to be Cat Piss Everdeen standing around and doing what she does best, whining. Because, unfortunately the Katniss of Mockingjay and some of Catching Fire is very different from the Katniss of The Hunger Games. Whereas in The Hunger Games she was a fairly interesting character put into a very original story and setting, as the books go on she becomes more and more annoying and the story and settings get less interesting and/or more stupid.
The Hunger Games, however, is different because, well, in my humble opinion – and this is the first time I have ever, ever, ever thought this way – the films are better than the books. In Catching Fire’s case, they’re exponentially better than the books. I actually thought Catching Fire was a good film, not just a good adaptation. And it should have won best Original Score at the Oscars (sorry, Gravity, I love you, but I have to be honest).
Much of why I thought Catching Fire was good was because of Jennifer Lawrence, and no, I’m not just saying that to jump on the Jennifer Lawrence obsession bandwagon. (I like Jennifer Lawrence as an actress, but I can’t really speak much on her as a person because that’s not what I’m here to talk about.) Anyway. Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss with a lot of maturity and respectability, and her Katniss is much more intriguing – indeed, makes more sense, if that’s possible – than the Katniss of the books.
So, if that’s true – if they’re going to continue making these excellent choices and Jennifer Lawrence is going to continue playing a really interesting Katniss – then please, oh please, make the split. Split Mockingjay into Parts 1-6 if you have to. I’m dead serious.
Because think about it. They’re going to have to add stuff in if they’re going to make a two-parter. There’s simply not enough in Mockingjay to even fill one film, let alone two. So they’re going to have to add stuff in, and in doing so, they have the fantastic opportunity of fixing what Suzanne Collins got very, very wrong. Oh, maybe they won’t change huge aspects of the story, like whom Katniss ends up with at the end (even though that was stupid, stupid, stupid) or the really sad thing that happens at the end of the book that Suzanne Collins put in just to make it sad and which I won’t mention by name because of spoilers, but large enough changes that remove the stupid and actually make a compelling end to this franchise.
And yes, Jennifer Lawrence, you can help. You can help by not making Katniss a whiny, stupid, obstinate, insufferable drug addict who makes me want to rip apart every young adult novel I come across in the bookstore. Please. I’m begging you. I’m literally on my hands and needs begging you to take advantage of a book series by squeezing every last drop of greasy corporate dollars out of it. Split the last book into as many parts as you want. Just make them GOOD.
Because, in the end, that’s all I want to see – a good movie. You guys have done amazingly well with your first two attempts.
So, in the words of my man Anton Ego: