20 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

How to keep the hunger going after ‘The Hunger Games’ hits theatres.

The further adventures of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), the post-apocalyptic Joan of Arc, are on view in the interminable, if also less painful than usual, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2,” the supposed final installment in the series inspired by the best-selling novels of Suzanne Collins (I’ve only read the first Katniss-narrated book, which was a semi-literate slog and more than enough for me). While I am thankful to director Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend”) for banishing the nauseating shaky-cam stylings and eye-gouging, murky 3-D of Gary Ross (“The Hunger Games”), there is not much anyone can do about how boring, derivative and relentlessly juvenile this material is. In 2013, luxury e-retailer Net-A-Porter teamed up with Trish Summerville, costume designer for Hunger Games: Catching Fire, on a capsule collection based on the film.

Thanks to evil President Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland, providing the film with its sole witticism), tyrant leader of embattled Panem, Peeta has been brainwashed, a technique that has left him with a nice blond rinse as well, and he now believes Katniss is the devil incarnate and can’t stop himself from trying to kill her. The Capitol Couture line featured adaptations of designs that appeared in the movie including a laser-cut leather dress for $995 U.S. inspired by Katniss Everdeen’s chariot outfit. Nevertheless, he is taken along in shackles when she and a band of brothers and sisters, including characters I dubbed “Man Bun” and “Slick Haircut,” go on a mission to help Katniss assassinate Snow single-handedly.

To the tune of Robert Newton Howard’s pounding militaristic score, Katniss and her cohorts try to avoid the “pods” (high-tech IEDs) and zombie-like computer-generated “mutts” sent to destroy them. Relief from the turgid plot, which alternates cheesy-looking CG action and boring speeches, comes in the form of Jena Malone’s damaged Goth Johanna Mason, her head shaved and muttering irreverent and subversive comments under her breath. Wearing a daily uniform doesn’t have to be stifling, as many creatives and innovators have discovered (see: Sofia Coppola, Karl Lagerfeld, Steve Jobs).

Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), who redeemed herself in the previous installment and was the only fun to be had therein, has too little to do herein. A recreation of District 12 complete with costumed characters is in the works for the complex in Dubai, but here’s what we would add to the mix: A Harry Potter-themed bar called The Lockhart recently opened in Toronto, featuring “potions & elixirs” that allude to characters and a decor that pulls from inscriptions in the book. In a rare moment of respite from war, the rebels stage a post-apocalyptic square dance, and by the downy beard of club-wielding Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin), it hit me: “The Hunger Games” is the “Hee-Haw” of the future. Local city bylaws prevent weaponry from being in such close proximity to alcohol, so instead of a crossbow range on the patio we would settle on a dartboard where the bull’s-eye would be President Snow’s face. Consider The Flux Capacitors, a SoCal ensemble that bills itself as “the only official Back to the Future-themed ’80s band.” The group performs ’80s hits decked out as Marty, Doc, Biff and the like, and even brings a DeLorean replica to shows.

Panemonium is an obvious choice if we’re going in a punk direction, but we also like The Jabberjays for a hip-hop crew, or Peeta Burnt the Bread for the shoegazing crowd. There’s no shortage of songs about stickin’ it to the man to choose from: “Fight the Power,” “Killing in the Name” (natch), “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Any encore would have to include a haunting rendition of “The Hanging Tree,” followed by the anti-establishment anthem “Tubthumping.” Those Panem rebels, they get knocked down, but they get up again.

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