My new cinema card arrived yesterday. That’s the one that gets me two cinema tickets for the price of one because I’m disabled. The idea behind this is that you might need someone to go with you, you know to carry your popcorn or something? Maybe watch the film for you? Or maybe just to throw you out when the slavering starts but anyway although none of this strictly applies to me my philosophy is that if you are going to get kicked in the bollocks on a daily basis by your disability you might aswell pick up any perks that it might offer you along the way.
So I do. Unashamedly. And what? At least I don’t use it as a chat-up line like one or two people I know. That’s only because 1) I’m not single and 2) If I was I’d still be too scared that even a free cinema ticket wouldn’t be enough to convince someone to go out with me. That’s when you know you’re struggling, although maybe some women are still old fashioned enough to believe that they wouldn’t have to pay for anything anyway. Maybe if disabled people got two for one on hair straighteners we’d be on to something.
So Emma and I used said card last night to watch Mockingjay Part 2, which confusingly is the fourth and final part of the Hunger Games story. While we’re on the subject, it is a bloody good job that I get two for one tickets at the cinema when you consider the price they charge these days. I remember going to see The Matrix at a cinema in High Wycombe when Emma and I first got together and reeling at the outrageous £6.00 charge back then. That was in the late 90’s possibly 2000 and it was still twice the price of what you could expect to pay here back then. Fifteen or 16 years later you will now be relieved of £9.20 for the privilege of viewing a film, even a shit film, Cineworld in St.Helens. Add in an unreasonably sized popcorn and a more sensibly sized soft drink and the whole lot costs over £17.00. It would have been over £27.00 if I’d had to pay for the two of us like you normal people have to. While everyone rightly screams and shouts about the price of going to football say, those at the helm of the cinema industry have stealthily sneaked up behind us and mugged us.
Not that Mockingjay Part 2 is a shit film, not by any stretch. If you don’t enjoy two hours of Jennifer Lawrence running around shooting shit in a suit that would be tight on Mo Farah then it is either because you are female, gay or dead. I could watch Katniss all night, to the extent that I remember watching the vastly inferior and relatively sleepy Mockingjay Part 1 with the unwanted bonus of subtitles after a bizarre, head-shakingly absurd mix-up, and not having it spoil my enjoyment completely. But there is much more to this final instalment than just Katniss running around shooting shit. We get the climactic if hastily tampered with denouement to the whole saga, which while it is not wholly surprising is no less entertaining for that. Aswell as Lawrence’s masterclass in combining stressed with sultry there’s also Natalie Dormer pulling off the stunning achievement of smirking seductively with one half of her hair shaved off, Liam Hemsworth and Sam Claflin competing for male pouting honours as Gale and Finnick respectively, another splendidly barmy turn from the brilliant Julianne Moore and the sinister, scary if brief performance of Jena Malone.
In truth, while I enjoyed it immensely it is not the best of the series. Like the books which I read a couple of years ago, that honour goes to the first effort. Part of the appeal of the whole thing, what sets it apart from tiresome and arse-achingly boring super-hero movies and run of the mill action thrillers is the original concept of a ritual fight to the death between children. The outright cruelty of the thing, the horrific idea that you will at some point have to exterminate someone who may have saved your life not long before is just preposterous and it is this which keeps you emotionally invested throughout. By the way there are only three of Suzanne Collins’ books, despite the fact that this is the fourth film. With true Harry Potterist chi-chingism they decided to make two films from the final book in the series, a decision which led to the frankly pedestrian meandering of Mockingjay Part 1 but which is somewhat atoned for here. I would recommend each of the books either before or after you see the films, especially as I say that first one.
Just one thing. Early in the film Gale tells Katniss that kissing someone when you are drunk doesn’t count. Or rather, he compares something else to kissing someone when you are drunk, meaning that it doesn’t count. I BEG TO DIFFER. If that’s the case, hardly anyone has ever kissed anyone. George Best and Olly Reed must have died with their virginity intact by that rationale.