The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

2014-11-21 15:28
What's it about:

Katniss Everdeen is in District 13 after she shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin and on the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage.

What we thought:

It has been a long build up to the penultimate installment of the Hunger Games franchise with endless teasers and trailers.

Having read the books I had a bit of a shaky start with the movies. I wasn’t a fan of the first movie which put me off the second one. In fact I only watched Catching Fire a few months ago and I absolutely loved it. So I was looking forward to Mockingjay Part 1. So much so that I even read the book again.

Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 begins exactly where Catching Fire left off. After destroying the arena, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) finds herself underground in District 13. Believed to be destroyed, District 13 is a thriving community of rebels who have impressive artillery. It’s pretty bleak in the District as everyone wears a uniform, everyone eats together and a very rigid schedule is kept.

Joining Katniss in the District are the familiar faces of Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) , Beetee (Jeffrey Wright) and Finnick (Sam Claflin).

Katniss is plagued by the guilt of having left Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) behind. She struggles to come to terms with being without him. Peeta is held captive in the Capitol where he is used to promote the Capitol’s agenda.

The District is run by President Coin (Julianne Moore), she’s stern and stiff and has absolutely no personality.

While Coin is president the real brains behind the revolution is Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), former gamemaker turned rebellion advisor. He believes that by uniting the rest of the districts, President Snow’s (Donald Sutherland) oppressive government can be overthrown and that Katniss is the poster child for the revolution. 

Katniss who is suffering from post traumatic disorder reluctantly agrees to become the ‘Mockingjay’. Her first order of business is to create propaganda videos to inspire the other districts. When her acting skills fail in a mock studio she is sent into the field armed with her bow and a video crew. This is Katniss at her most potent when she is raw and unscripted.

For the most of the movie we witness the beginnings of a war of freedom. New allies are made as the Districts unite. All the preparations lead to an epic standoff between the rebels and the storm troopers.
Highlights: Philip Seymour Hoffman is bitter sweet to watch. He really embodies the character.

Natalie Dormer who plays Cressida, a director, is a welcome addition to the cast.

Elizabeth Banks as Effie brings a bit of lightness. Even though her character doesn’t appear in the last instalment of the book she is a welcome addition.

The special effects, the music and the costumes are amazing!

Lowlights: The Katniss, Gale and Peeta triangle borders on Twilight territory.  I have always had a love/hate relationship with the character of Katniss. For me Lawrence’s internal struggle wasn’t very believable. Having said that, there is one particular scene where she did shine. You’ll know it when you see it. I won’t spoil it.

The film is very dark and I get that it was used to set the tone but it does become difficult to watch two hours of it.

My main gripe is that while a lot seems to be happening nothing really happens. The film is a long, slow, build up to the final installment of the franchise. I honestly think that they could have wrapped it up in one film. It just seems like they are trying to milk as much money out of it.

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Zk 2014/11/24 10:58
Totally disagree with the reviewer. I have watched all the movies in this franchise and this one is the best by far. I don't usually say this about adaptations, but this to me is better than the book.
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