So I wasn’t able to make it to the screening of the “Hunger Games” finale this week but I figured that was OK as it would give me an excuse to head west and check out the new Wentzville Tower theater.
I liked the theater more than the movie.
I figured to avoid crowds and not lose the whole weekend, I’d check out the first available Saturday showing, which was scheduled for 9:45 a.m. It was snowy and cold and I got confused by a damn roundabout and wound up in downtown Wentzville but eventually made my way back to the theater. When you get out of your car you are greeted by movie theme music blaring from the parking lot speakers. Nice touch.
I go to the box office for our first — but fortunately only — major setback. The Tower has reserved seating. I do not believe in reserve seating at movie theaters. Reserve seats are fine for concerts and theater, but not movies.
At the movies whoever gets their first gets the best seats. That’s the way it should be, after all those people have to sit through the half-hour of Screen Visions. I really hate people who show up at a movie five minutes before the start time and expect to find primo seats in the back. If you arrive at the theater five minutes before showtime, just go sit in the front row where you belong.
There are other reasons for hating reserve seating. What if some idiot sits down in front of me and blocks my view? Or a chatty couple sits down next to me. Or a family with a child who enjoys kicking the seat in front of him sits down behind me? I want to always reserve the right to get up and move to a better location.
Anyway, one reason for going to the 9:45 a.m. show is that not a lot of folks are going to be there so you probably don’t have to worry about people around you. I give the young lady my $8 (which seems high for a matinee, but then I’m going to the GRAND SCREEN so that tacks on a surcharge.) and pick my seat from the computer screen.
Wentzville Tower has a very spacious, clean and impressive lobby. To the left is a large, curved bar area with a section for tables and chairs. I don’t know how many people think, “Let’s go to the movie theater for some drinks” but I guess there’s a market.
There was a large concessions area with outrageous prices but you could pour your own soda so I guess you could make up some of that cost by going back for multiple refills.
Go into the GRAND SCREEN room (one of two) and find my seat. I gotta say, this is the nicest setup for a movie theater I’ve been in. The leather seat reclines back and a footrest comes up. It’s better than the couch at home because it has a cup holder. I especially liked how much space there was between rows. Even if you didn’t recline, you had unlimited leg room. Even better, when the movie was over you could get up and walk out without having to trip over the people next to you.
As for the movie — meh. At least it’s over. I’ve enjoyed “The Hunger Games” more than other Young Adult novel series turned movies — “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” being the biggest examples — but I haven’t adored it.
I’d pretty much forgot what happened in “Mockingjay Part One” but it mostly came back to me as part two began. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is still the face of the rebellion against President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Her longsuffering boyfriend-since-youth Gale (Liam Hemsworth) is a major player among the rebels while her boyfriend-since-the-Hunger-Games Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) has been brainwashed and now hates Katniss and the rebels. Julianne Moore is the slimy leader of the rebel alliance and Philip Seymour Hoffman is somehow still alive (how long ago did they shoot this movie?)
Katniss, Gale, brainwashed Peeta and a handful of expendables go on a secret mission to assassinate Snow. There’s a lot of walking and a lot of talking punctuated by the occasional action sequence. A lot of waiting for Peeta to snap out of it, a lot of “war is hell” debate between Katniss and Gale.
Whether you find “Mockingjay Part 2” to be a suitable finale to the “Hunger Games” story probably depends upon how much you’ve liked the series up to now. Most of the problems I had early on I still had by the end.
I can’t decide if I like Katniss or not. Most of the time she has my sympathy but sometimes she really gets on my nerves. I was always on the Gale side of the Gale-Katniss-Peeta love triangle so needless to say I didn’t approve of how that was resolved. I especially don’t like how they felt the need to make Gale look bad so they could write him out.
Oh, and where did the weird, albino sewer monsters come from? I don’t remember creatures like that from earlier films. It was like all of the sudden I got plopped down into a “Resident Evil” movie.
And the dramatic ending was pretty damn predictable once it was clear how sleazy the rebel leader had become. The movie also suffers from multiple endings syndrome. Just when you think it’s over, they tack on another scene.
Anyway, I highly recommend the Wentzville Tower theater. I also recommend if you’ve got money to spend on a movie this week, go see “Spotlight.”