The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Directed by Francis Lawrence – Based on the books by Suzanne Collins
IMDB Rating: 7.4
The third in the extremely successful… quadrology? quadrilogy? Whatever, the four part series that has won over so many young hearts all over the world – including mine, I must say. The games themselves are gone now, and I fear some fans will have gone with it.
First of all, I have not read the book ‘Mockingjay’ so I didn’t know what was going to happen. I also have no idea what happens in the rest of the book (although you can have a good guess), but I feel that most of the action in this book is in the last half, which in terms of this movie alone will disappoint many people who fell for this series due to the action as much as the rest. In Catching Fire, the politics of Panem took charge and made it a much more deep and meaningful film than the first. That was however coupled with the games, which brought me to the series in the first place. In Mockingjay – Part 1, much of the action is lost (I only think one arrow is fired by Katniss in the whole film.), meaning the film has to rely on the propaganda back-and-forth between Katniss and District 13, and the capitol and President Snow. I’m not saying that’s not good – the way Katniss is played off against her beloved Peeta gives the film depth and intrigue – I just feel it needs the support of the actual games that the films (and books) were based around. Another piece of the Hunger Games success story is the Gale-Katniss-Peeta love triangle, but I don’t feel like we got much more understanding in that regard either. Yes, Gale talks about it a bit, and it’s obvious he loves her, but it’s still not clear which side of the fence Katniss is falling on. Maybe that’s the idea, I don’t know, but that could have added another dimension to the film if that was looked at in more depth. This was, strangely, the most light-hearted and fun movie of the series so far. I don’t know if it was intended, but certain bits were nearly laugh-out-loud funny – whether that was a good or bad thing, I’m undecided.
Jennifer Lawrence resumes her role as Katniss Everdeen, a role that suits her more than any other I’ve seen her in. She embodies perfectly the fragile, confused and deeply scared leader of the revolution – performing at her best when there is fire in her belly and a tear on her cheek. Quite poignantly this was one of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last movies, and he did a stellar job as Plutarch Heavensbee – bringing a fun side to the series that I had not seen from anyone except Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy – who again did a good job lightening the mood. Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth again gave solid performances, none better than in previous films but still to a good standard.
Francis Lawrence, after directing Catching Fire, does a good job again of helping the book onto the screen. The scale of the film is bigger than in the last film and that gives Francis more freedom to spread his wings (ahem.) and produce more stunning shots. I think he has done a very good job with this film in terms of direction and creating drama. The scene where Peeta becomes aware of Katniss’ prescence through her propaganda was a particular highlight of mine. Also, why the ‘if we burn, you burn with us’ propaganda clip was not used as a trailer for the movie is beyond me, it perfectly outlines what everyone wanted this movie to be! I think Lionsgate may have missed a trick on that one.
Overall, I think unfortunately that this is the worse Hunger Games yet – but I remain hopeful that it all leads to an exciting end to what has been an incredible series!
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