The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1After she was rescued from the arena, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is struggling with the fact that Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is still missing.

President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), the leader of the rebellion against President Snow (Donald Sutherland), is hoping to cash in on the inspiration Katniss has given the people in the districts to get them to rise up against the Capitol. Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) suggests that they use Katniss as the “Mockingjay,” the symbol of the rebellion, in a series of propaganda spots broadcast to the districts to bring the people together.

President Snow has preemptively broadcast his own series of propaganda interviews between Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) and Peeta to dissuade the districts from banding together. Along with a series of deadly bombings, he has been quite successful.

After seeing what President Snow has done to District 12, and seeing Peeta under the Capitol’s control, Katniss decides to go along with Plutarch and Coin’s plan to bring the people together.

Mockingjay is a bit of a departure from what we saw in the first 2 The Hunger Games movies. There is no battle in the arena. In fact, there is not nearly as much action at all. But those who say “very little happens” in Mockingjay are sorely mistaken.

The point of splitting the last book into 2 parts is not strictly a money grab, designed to make you pay double to see the final installment. Instead, it lets you soak in everything that is happening. All that happens in Part 1 is essential to the story, at least to those, like me, who have not read the books, and obviously have not seen the entire conclusion. And there is plenty to fill up its own movie before getting to the final battle that is coming.

Even though Katniss spends the majority of the film at the District 13 command center, the film never drags or moves slowly. Every minute is intense and keeps you riveted on the edge of your seat. Credit must be given to Suzanne Collins, the original author, and director Francis Lawrence for giving the cast something good to work with.

That isn’t to discredit the cast at all. Jennifer Lawrence is amazing, as she always is. Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth all turn in excellent performances, as well. It was a nice change of pace to see Elizabeth Banks’ Effie Trinket and Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch toned down several notches. It shows they are more than just over-the-top caricatures.

It is bittersweet to see Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final role. Of course, he doesn’t disappoint. You have to respect Francis Lawrence’s decision to not try to replace him with stand-ins or CGI. Instead, he will let Hoffman’s brilliance shine through with what they have filmed. Naturally, this film is dedicated to him.

The effects are on par with what we have come to expect from The Hunger Games. Very well done. This film definitely has a more somber, dark feel than we were given for the first two, even as grim as the idea of children hunting each other for sport can be.

Another great chapter in what is turning out to be a great saga. Ignore those who say you can skip Mockingjay – Part 1. Even if you are not into the Young Adult genre, it is definitely worth seeing.

To get you ready, here is the trailer for the movie.


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