Archive for December, 2014

Will Into the Woods reverse the Depp Dip?

December 17, 2014

Will Into the Woods reverse the Depp Dip?

Look, we love Johnny Depp. He’s talented, charismatic, and can do both comedy and drama.

For the past few years, though, audiences haven’t loved him enough to actually go see his movies in theatres all that much.

Here at The Measured Circle, one way we judge the success of a movie is by comparing its dogro (domestic gross) to its production budget.

As recorded both on this blog and on our IMDb list

2014 The Measured Circle’s Most Profitable Movies

we give movies awards based on the following metrics:

Dogro 2X production budget = “Money”
Dogro 3X production budget = “Golden”
Dogro 30X production budget = “Platinum”

Dogro less than 50% of production budget = “Underperformer”

Let’s take a look at Depp’s starring movies for the past three years (leaving out 21 Jump Street as a cameo):

  • Transcendence (4/18/2014): dogro $23m / production budget $100m = 23% UNDERPERFORMER
  • The Lone Ranger (7/3/2013): dogro $89m / production budget $215m = 41% UNDERPERFORMER
  • Dark Shadows (5/11/2012): dogro $80 / production budget $150m = 53%

As you can see, the trend has been diminishing returns.

Taking these three movies as a whole, it’s dogro $192m / $465m = 41%.

Going back to the previous three year period, the picture is quite different:

  • The Rum Diary (10/28/2011): dogro $13m / production budget $45m = 29% UNDERPERFORMER
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (5/20/2011): dogro $241 / production budget $250m = 96%
  • Rango (3/4/2011): dogro $123 / production budget $135 = 91%
  • The Tourist (12/10/2010: dogro $68 / production budget $100 = 68%
  • Alice in Wonderland (3/5/2010): dogro $334m / production budget $200m = 167%
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (12/26/2009): dogro $8m / production budget $30m = 27%
  • Public Enemies (7/1/2009): dogro $97m / production budget $100m = 97%

(not included: When You’re Strange, with Depp as narrator)

While only one of them was an underperformer, and none of them got to our Money level of 200%, this is still a much better showing. Taken as a whole: dogro $884m / $860m = 103%.

Skipping 2008 (no major releases), the previous three year period showed real strength:

  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (12/21/2007): dogro $53 / production budget $50m = 106%
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (5/25/2007): dogro $309m / production budget $300m = 103%
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (7/7/2006): dogro $423m / production budget $225m = 188%
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (7/15/2005): dogro $209 / production budget $150 = 139%

(not included: The Libertine and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, due to lack of production budget data)

Here are the other movies for which we have data (from

  • Finding Neverland (11/12/04) dogro $52m / production budget $25m = 208% MONEY
  • Secret Window (3/12/2004) dogro $48m / production budget $40m = 120%
  • Once Upon a Time in Mexico (9/12/03) dogro $56m / production budget $29m 193%
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (7/9/03) dogro $305m / production budget $140m = 218% MONEY
  • From Hell (10/19/01) dogro $32m / production budget $35m 91%
  • Blow (4/6/01) dogro $53m / production budget $53m = 100%
  • Chocolat (12/15/00) dogro $72m / production budget $25m 288% MONEY
  • The Ninth Gate (3/10/00) dogro $19m / production budget $38m 50%
  • Sleepy Hollow (11/19/99) dogro $101m / production budget $100 = 101%
  • The Astronaut’s Wife (8/27/99) dogro $11m / production budget $75m 15% UNDERPERFORMER
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (5/22/98) dogro $11m / production budget $18.5 59%
  • Don Juan de Marco (4/7/95) dogro $22m / production budget $25m 88%
  • Ed Wood (9/30/94) dogro $6m / production budget $18m 33%
  • Platoon (12/19/86) dogro $139m / production budget $6m 2317% SEPTUPLE GOLDEN

Did you think that Platoon would be Johnny’s best movie, based on return on the investment dollar? That Chocolat was second? That The Astronaut’s Wife had done worse in that department than Transcendence?

Taking a look at it graphically (without Platoon, which is such an outlier that you wouldn’t be able to see the other differences very well  if we included it), you can see that there have been ups and downs…but all downs recently:

Depp Dip


So,  back to the question: will

Into the Woods

opening December 25th, reverse that slide?

Unfortunately, while it may certainly do better than Transcendence, we think its unlikely that it returns to “Money” territory, and would be very surprised if it was “Golden”. The rumored production budget is $50m. Director Rob Marshall’s track record questions the ability to get to Golden, at least after the first big hit:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (5/20/2011): dogro $241 / production budget $250m = 96%
  • Nine (12/18/2009): dogro $20m / production budget $80m = 25%
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (12/9/2005): dogro $57m / production budget $85m = 67%
  • Chicago (12/27/2002): dogro $171m / production budget $45m = 377% GOLDEN

We hope the movie is terrific, and that it exceeds all of our expectations at the box office. We wish everybody involved with it well, and will be interested to see the results (and we will continue to watch Johnny Depp’s career in the future).

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them



Soon to be super: round up of casting news

December 8, 2014

Soon to be super: round up of casting news

There has been some major announcements recently of actors cast in superhero movies, and the names involved show that whatever stigma there may have been has largely been erased…no matter how big or respected a mainstream star an actor is, they may take a role as a superhero.

This won’t be comprehensive, but here are some of the biggies announced in the past week or so (in alphabetical order by actor’s last name):

Mike Colter as Luke Cage in Luke Cage Netflix series and Jessica Jones Netflix series

  • Actor’s geek cred: On the radar. Will appear in the Halo TV series and Halo 5: Guardians. Appeared in American Horror Story, Men in Black 3, Salt, and Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Ringer TV series
  • Mainstream: On The Good Wife as Lemond Bishop. No major award nominations, or starring roles in blockbusters. IMDb STARmeter: #2,574
  • Character previously played by: Gary Anthony Sturgis, Greg Eagles, Robert Wisdom, Khary Payton, Phil LaMarr, James C. Mathis III, Jesse Falcon, Little JJ, Isaiah Mustafa, Christopher B. Duncan, Larry McCalister, Marc Damon Johnson, Ogie Banks
  • Character history: Introduced in 1972, Luke Cage has interacted with many of the Marvel mainstream (especially those in New York). Coming from Brooklyn with a street gang background and time in prison, Cage is given an experimental treatment which makes him superhuman. He becomes a “Hero for Hire”, giving him a distinct motivation and attitude from many heroes

A geek’s response: we don’t know enough about Colter yet. This may be a good role to go to someone who doesn’t already have a clearly defined media image.

Jai Courtney as Boomerang in Suicide Squad, August 5, 2016

  • Actor’s geek cred: Strong, and growing: Divergent/Insurgent, Terminator Genisys, I, Frankenstein
  • Mainstream: No nominations or awards. Appearing in Unbroken which itself may get Oscar nods
  • Character previously played by: (there is some ambiguity here, because we don’t know which of two “Captain Boomerang”s Courtney is playing) Donal Gibson; John DiMaggio; James Patrick Stuart; Greg Ellis; Nick Tarabay
  • Character history: Introduced in 1960, Captain Boomerang has been one of the main enemies of The Flash. He’s an Australian who uses specially designed boomerangs. As a member of the Suicide Squad, he is generally considered a jerk and perhaps a racist. Digger Harkness and his son have both been Captain Boomerang

A geek’s response: this might work out very well, with Australian Jai Courtney playing Captain Boomerang and perhaps being a surprising stand-out in the cast.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in Doctor Strange, November 4 2016 (with other appearances likely)

  • Actor’s geek cred: Off the charts! The Hobbit, Star Trek, Sherlock Holmes…played Stephen Hawking (on television) and Alan Turing
  • Mainstream: Good, and rising. Likely to see an Oscar nomination for The Imitation Game, has won an Emmy, nominated for a Golden Globe, nominated for BAFTAs and won their Brittania Award, won Critics’ Choice, won Hollywood Film Award. IMDb STARmeter: #28
  • Character previously played by: Peter Hooten, John Stephenson, John Vernon, Maurice LaMarche, Bryce Johnson, Jon Gutierrez, Roger Rose, Zachary Vaudo, Jack Coleman
  • Character history: Brilliant and arrogant. Dr. Strange was a highly-paid neurosurgeon before a car accident injured his hands. He became a master of the mystic arts. He has worked with other Marvel heroes, but more as a consultant: he isn’t much of a team player. In the Marvel universe, practitioners of magic largely consider themselves to be apart from those who don’t: they may interact with each other regularly, but not as much with non-magic users

A geek’s response: “Of course.” Rumored for some time, this seems like a very good fit.

Cara Delevingne as Enchantress in Suicide Squad, August 5, 2016

Actor’s geek cred: Not much. Voiced a DJ in Grand Theft Auto V. Appears in the upcoming [Peter] Pan, starring Hugh Jackman.
Mainstream: Best known as a model, has some acting credits just in the last couple of years. Still, STARmeter is #177
Character previously played by: first time?
Character history: Note: There is a different Marvel character called Enchantress: this is the DC character. First introduced in 1966, Enchantress has had an erratic history (both in terms of the character’s personality and publishing history). June Moone is a freelance artist who goes to a costume party at a castle, and basically gets possessed by an entity and can change into a powerful (but often evil) magic user. Being a magic user in the DC universe is particularly effective, since Kryptonians are affected by magic (June has had run-ins with Superman’s cousin, Supergirl). She may act for good or evil: it’s unpredictable

A geek’s response: Cara will have to prove herself as an actor at the same time the character has to prove herself both within the cinematic universe and to the audience…that’s going to be a challenge

Tom Hardy as Rick Flag in Suicide Squad, August 5, 2016

Actor’s geek cred: Superior, with Star Trek: Nemesis; Inception; Bane in The Dark Knight Rises; and as the new Mad Max (in the upcoming movie)
Mainstream: Perhaps more recognized in Europe than in America (with a BAFTA Rising Star award, and a British Independent Film Award), but certainly known here for more mainstream works, including Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Layer Cake
Character previously played by: Adam Baldwin, Lex Lang, Ted Whittall
Character history: Flag is a soldier, an elite agent, and a leader. He has no super powers, but has encountered and worked with supers. In the comics, he was the leader of the Suicide Squad in Legends, and the movie may be based on that series

A geek’s response: Sure, this makes sense. Tom Hardy can bring the necessary power it would take to control and command this group of wild individuals

Jared Leto as The Joker in Suicide Squad, August 5, 2016

Actor’s geek cred: present, with Urban Legend and Mr. Nobody, but not strong
Mainstream: Lauded and respected, with an Oscar and a Golden Globe (and many others) for Dallas Buyers Club
Character previously played by (note: this is incomplete because, well, look at the length of it already!): Cesar Romero, Larry Storch, Rod Navarro, Lennie Weinrib, Frank Welker, Jack Nicholson, Renee Requiestas, Mark Hamill, Roger Stoneburner, Bud Watson, Andrew Koenig, Brian C. Bethel, Marc Jongebloed, Michael Simon, Paul Matthew Miller, Kevin Michael Richardson, Joey Matthews, Paul Molnar, Bryan Bockbrader, Billy Davis, Heath Ledger, Brian Jarreau, Steve Lekas, Louie Ruiz, Mike Matei, Michael Dobson, Cliff Poche, Stephane Malka, Matthieu Lemeunier, Chris R. Notarile, John Kassir, Paul Matthew Miller, Paul Louis Harrell, John DiMaggio (note that he has also played Captain Boomerang: see above), Josh Davidson, Matt Cinquanta, Dayleigh Nelson, Seth Green, Ryan Gregory, Greg Nugent, Jeff Bennett, Brent Spiner, Zachary Barrett, Steve Reeve, Al Gurst, Christopher Levine, Andrew Saunders, George M. O’Connor, Scott McClure, Giovanni Ribisi, Dee Bradley Baker, Troy Baker, Daniel Baxter
Character history: Introduced in 1940, the Joker is arguably the best know supervillain today. From Jack Nicholson to Heath Ledger, the role has been recognized as a challenge for actors, although those two interpreted in very different ways. Even in 1940, the Joker was one of Batman’s most murderous foes, and one of the ones most deserving of the time spent in Arkham Asylum. Having a marquee actor play him in the Suicide Squad movie is interesting, since he wasn’t a member of the team (although his associate, Harley Quinn, is…see below)

A geek’s response: Heath Ledger’s performance was one of the greatest movie performances ever…period. For that reason, it was going to be difficult to return the Joker to the movies. Bringing in a recent Oscar winner is a good way to do it, and not having the movie depend on the Joker being front and center is likely also a smart move: get people to accept the idea of having someone else play the Joker before making the “Clown Prince of Crime” one of the star characters. Just speculation, though…

Ezra Miller as The Flash in The Flash March 23, 2018

Actor’s geek cred: Barely visible…Cakey! The Cake from Outer Space
Mainstream: Respected, especially for his award-winning and nominated performances in The Importance of Being a Wallflower and We Need to Talk about Kevin
Character previously played by: Ray Owens, Ted Knight, Jack Angel, Rod Haase, John Wesley Shipp, Kenny Johnston, Charlie Schlatter, Michael Rosenbaum, Neil Patrick Harris, Eric Bauza, Billy Mitchell, Josh Keaton, Justin Wilson, Alan Tudyk, George Eads, James Arnold Taylor, Justin Chambers, George R. Miller, Jason Spisak, Christopher Gorham, Grant Gustin
Character history: It appears that this will be the Barry Allen version. A police scientist accidentally gains the ability to move at superhuman speeds. What that means has really been explored in the comics, including the ability to vibrate through walls, travel through time, and create hurricane like weapons.

A geek’s take: It’s entirely possible that the current Flash TV series will still be going at that point, so I would guess that would take a different approach, perhaps more serious. It’s reasonable to interpret Barry Allen as more intellectual than physical, and Ezra Miller could play that.

Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones in the Jessica Jones Netflix series in 2015 and presumably to appear in other productions

Actor’s geek cred: Some, although it would be reasonable to say nothing with a strong fandom or widespread appeal (unless one includes Veronica Mars). Vamps with Alicia Silverstone (and a screenplay by Amy Heckerling) reported grossed under $5,000 in the USA. Woke Up Dead was a web series with Jon Heder as a zombie
Mainstream: Don’t Trust the B**** in Apt. 23 lasted 26 episodes, but had a lot of buzz (and got a Teen Choice award). Again, it depends a bit on where you put Veronica Mars. Other TV series have included Gilmore Girls and Breaking Bad (something about alliteration, perhaps?) 😉
Character previously played by: Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (Marvel Heroes videogame)
Character history: Introduced in 2003, Jessica Jones is not your typical superhero. In fact, she’s retired. She has a troubled and complicated past, having been victimized and misunderstood. She does have super powers, and has interacted with many Marvel characters (although not always in a good way)

A geek’s response: This could be one of the more interesting super hero TV shows, and Krysten Ritter should be able to bring us a character who can be both sardonic and vulnerable

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, August 5, 2016

Actor’s geek cred: It’s a bit of a stretch. Uncredited performances as a butterfly in Elephant Princess and a part in the Richard Curtis movie About Time (U.S. box office under $20 million). Will play Jane in 2016’s Tarzan which will be released prior to Suicide Squad, at which point geek credit will be solid
Mainstream: The Wolf of Wall Street put her on the map and got her some nominations and a UK Empire Award
Character previously played by: Arleen Sorkin, Sherilyn Fenn (unaired pilot), Mia Sara, Chrissy Kiehl, Tara Flynn, Rachel Nicole, Deanna Miller, Hynden Walch, Cindy Airey, Amanda Giesel, Meghan Strange, Laura Bailey, Tara Strong, Calliope Tsoukalas
Character history: First appearing on Batman: The Animated Series in 1999, Harley Quinn has since become an accepted part of the canon, appearing the comic books as well. She was a mental health professional who was treating the Joker at Arkham Asylum, and became involved with him. It’s a lot more complex than that, but she becomes a supervillain, both with and without the Joker. She is arguably even more vicious than the Joker, and without the subtleties.

A geek’s response: At the time of writing, Robbie is perhaps the buzziest of the Suicide Squad cast. It was just announced that she was the #3 Top Star at IMDb for 2014 (based on page views), and the #1 new star (topping Jared Leto) at that site. It’s worth noting that Suicide Squad is more than a year away, and Tarzan may affect the public’s perception of her (in either direction). Suicide Squad may hinge to some extent on Harley Quinn (allowing a bridge to the Joker, for one thing), and Robbie should be able to deliver the insanity

Will Smith as Deadshot in in Suicide Squad, August 5, 2016

Actor’s geek cred: Stratospheric! Men in Black, I Am Legend, Independence Day…he’s even played a super before as Hancock (and a sequel has been announced for that)
Mainstream: Two Lead Actor nominations (Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness), plus numerous other nominations. Smith is a respected actor, doing comedy, action, and drama. IMDb StarMeter #122
Character previously played by: Chris Cox, Robin Atkin Downes, Michael Rosenbaum, Kofi Nsafoah, Jim Meskimen, Bradley Stryker, Tom Kenny, Marcello Rizzo, Michael Rowe, Neal McDonough, Rocco Chierichella
Character history: A wealthy expert shot, introduced in 1950, Floyd Lawton nearly took Batman’s place in Gotham City. Batman was instrumental in Lawton being arrested and getting prison time. As is the case with some other supervillain origin stories, Lawton blames the hero who bested him for his woes, and becomes more of a criminal

A geek’s response: While Smith has played a range of roles, most people still associate him with being sort of mischievous and good hearted. A murderous assassin with a personal death wish is going to be contrary to the full of humor characters for which Smith is best known. This one is going to be a challenge to pull off

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them

My takes on Birdman, Interstellar, and Mockingjay

December 3, 2014

My takes on Birdman, Interstellar, and Mockingjay

In a bit of a departure, I’m going to give you both my take (my opinion of it with no spoilers), and then, in a separate section afterwards, do a bit of analysis (which will contain spoilers).

Here is a look a three movies I’ve seen recently, in the order in which I saw them.

Starring Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Written by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo
Official Site
at IMDb
at Rotten Tomatoes

No question, this is an ambitious movie. It’s not the same old same old: for those of you who complain about “cookie cutter blockbusters”, and argue that there is no originality in Hollywood, well, here’s your answer.

Everything is part of the effort: the jazz soundtrack; the innovative cinematography; and the actors, going full tilt with no breaks.

It’s also all a bit unreal and theatrical, and that won’t appeal to everyone. This is the kind of movie where audiences say, “If I don’t act like I like it, people will know I’m not cool enough to get it.”

That’s not to say you won’t legitimately like it: many of you will. Others may find it pretentious.

At Gold Derby Michael Keaton currently is the odds on favorite (at 23 to 10…2.3 to 1) to go home with the Best Actor Oscar. I don’t see that happening…I don’t think it’s a role that the still relatively conservative Academy is going to embrace (not that he won’t get a nomination), especially when you have Eddie Redmayne in a role that seems tailor made for Oscar, and several others in historical figure parts.

Edward Norton and Emma Stone are amazing in Birdman…but they are amazing actors. What they do is wonderful, every single time, but it isn’t something that makes this particular movie special.

I think there may be several Oscar nominations, and we could see wins in some technical categories in particular. I think it has a good shot at Special Effects: while the Academy has that category, they prefer to give it to more of a mainstream movie when they can.

For more commentary on this movie, see The Spoiler Zone below.

Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Written by Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan
Official Site
at IMDb
at Rotten Tomatoes

I’m surprised at the positive response this is getting: people are saying how scientific it is, how much heart it has, what a surprising plot it is.

I suspect Christopher Nolan may be serving here as somewhat of an ambassador of geekiness to the general population. I think it’s sort of like if you go to the Swedish Embassy, they may serve you Swedish meatballs. That doesn’t necessarily mean Swedish meatballs that natives would love, but they want to introduce you to them in a safe way.

In other words, I think the enthusiasm may be coming from people less familiar with science fiction.

For me, several things which I think were supposed to be big surprises just weren’t. My feeling is that the Nolans were aiming for the transcendent screenwriting of The Twilight Zone, and ended solidly in Outer Limits territory. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Outer Limits, but that show wasn’t usually about taking you places you never expected.

Similarly, the actors, while competent, just weren’t being challenged that much. It largely seemed like the performances each stuck to a pretty limited range.

I said to my Significant Other, “Well, it was pretty,” and it is that. There are some great shots, and a couple of robots I really liked and who join the pantheon of great movie robots (including Robby from Forbidden Planet, and Huey, Louie, and Dewey from Silent Running).

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Official Site
at IMDb
at Rotten Tomatoes

Perhaps surprisingly, this was my favorite of the three movies in this post. I did like the third Hunger Games book the best (which isn’t the case with all fans of the series), but I don’t think it had to with that.

This is clearly now the Katniss show, but that’s appropriate. Jennifer Lawrence brings us a range of emotions, and is really effective in some difficult scenes.

Most other people aren’t given that much to do…or at least, they aren’t given that many different things to do.

I’d say that they’ve improved how integrated Panem looks: it is becoming more believable as the movie series progresses. I think they want us to feel that this could be real, and I believe they succeed.

There may be some criticism that it isn’t as action packed as the previous two movies, and that there aren’t as many scenes about the relationships.

I don’t see those as negatives. This movie, like the book, is in part about coping with what has happened. The sorts of things that Katniss experienced can shake your foundations, and your focus may be on making sense of it all, rather than what happens next.


Note: this part is going to reveal things about these movies that will include plot details. If you have not yet seen them and prefer to have that pure feeling of discovery that comes from approaching a work of entertainment with no foreknowledge (which I understand), I’d skip this part until you have seen them.

The Spoiler Zone: Birdman

We see some things here that definitely push the movie into the land of geekiness, and I don’t mean the Birdman character. If all we were dealing with was an actor who had played a superhero (without a suggestion that the superhero had been real), one could argue this was a mainstream drama.

However, Keaton’s character, Riggan Thomson, exhibits supernatural powers.

We can’t be clear if what we are seeing is real, or if it is a fantasy of Thomson’s. Certainly, his abilities to levitate and to use telekinesis are presented to us a real, but no one else sees them or reacts to them. They do see the aftermath, but if it’s a delusion of Thomson’s that would fit as well.

There is also a short, amusing fantasy sequence of a “new movie” in the Birdman franchise. The monster in it may remind some geeks of The Giant Claw, a 1957 monster movie with a goofy-looking marionette bird monster.

The Spoiler Zone: Interstellar

I’m sorry, but as soon as the “ghost” thing came up, I had a good idea what would happen. Any geek knows that when an intelligent child (played by Mackenzie Foy, who has become quite the box office player in the past five years) says that they are experiencing ghosts, you listen…not that you expect it to actually be a ghost, necessarily.

I certainly wanted a whole more mystery out of what! I had heard people allude slyly to a surprising appearance at one point in the movie…and the only surprise was the actor. I wanted them to do  a whole more with the time paradox angle, and they could have done it within the movie’s reality. McConaughey’s character could have met up with adult versions of his daughter in other places, without at first realizing it. We’ve seen that in science fiction: the pioneers in interstellar travel are met with their descendants when they arrive, because the later generations have figured out how to get there faster.

Again, I did think the robots were great! The personalities were believable (Bill Irwin was particularly good), and the physical design was unlike what we’ve seen in the past, but appeared to be practical.

The Spoiler Zone: Mockingjay Part 1

In some ways, I think that Suzanne Collins’ adaptation (Peter Craig and Danny Strong are credited for the screenplay) improves upon her own book.

I liked it a lot better having Effie be a somewhat reluctant part of the rebellion. She, at least, brought a little humor to it, but not as a false note.

I thought President Snow was even more evil and better defined. I had some discussion with my adult kid about Snow’s thinking. I believe that Snow had excellent strategy in allowing a brainwashed Peeta to get to Katniss in the “rebel base”…not because he expected Peeta to kill Katniss (a martyred Mockingjay is worse than a live one), but because he expected it to break Katniss (which is how to break the rebellion). Imagine if Katniss had been forced to kill Peeta, or even if a rebel had killed him protecting her. Would she go forward in her role as Mockingjay with that guilt on her?

We have to believe she might…but Snow might not think she would.

I’ll grant you: it’s an incomplete story, but we knew that going into it. I think it would build anticipation for the next movie. Even though Part 1 may not have as good a Rotten Tomato average as The Hunger Games or Catching Fire, I still expect it to do very well…and for Part 2 to be a huge blockbuster.

Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.


Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them


%d bloggers like this: