With Mockingjay, Part 1 days away from release, the reviews are spilling out like crazy. While they are far from scathing, there is one criticism that even the more positive critics agree with: the studio's decision to split the film into two parts.
Many critics feel that while the directing, acting and writing were top-notch, the split caused the first part of Mockingjay to be somewhat of a let-down. Here are a few examples of what the critics had to say:
Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly:
...When the story finally does manage to get interesting toward the end, it just screeches to a halt and cuts off, leaving fans wriggling on the hook for a finale they won't get to see for another 12 months. That's not a cliff-hanger, that's just a tease.
Matt Singer of Screen Crush:
There’s no (non-financial) reason ‘Mockingjay’ had to be divided into two parts. It’s like Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza wrote a Hollywood blockbuster. Nothing happens.
Kevin Carr of FIlm School Rejects:
What started out as a better-than-expected and relatively smart young adult franchise has hit a rough patch, and it appears the greedy money grab for four movies rather than three is the epicenter of the film’s problems.
It seems like the critics agree that a clean-cut trilogy would have been a better decision. Director Francis Lawrence, on the other hand, says otherwise. In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, Lawrence was asked if splitting the last book into two films was a "cash grab." He responded with:
There's a LOT of story in the Mockingjay book... Quite honestly, I don't know how we would have adapted it into one move without it being a three [or] three-and-a-half hour movie. So now we get to keep more of the novel in the movies...The structure of the book made two very clear, distinct stories. I mean, we could have two clear, dramatic questions for each story, really different arcs for Katniss in each, so they each work as whole pieces within the context of the much larger series.
This answer begs the question: does he honestly believe in the book possessing two distinct stories, or is he stretching the truth for the sake of the studio's image? If he were to say: "Lionsgate wanted to increase their revenue with two movies," it would be obvious that the split was financially fueled and there would be an even bigger backlash.
Mark Twain once said: "It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid, than to open it and remove all doubt." Therefore, even if Lawrence isn't being completely honest, the studio does not want to risk having a bad image. They could have very well put their words in his mouth.
What are your thoughts?