The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, pt 1.
- Starring: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Josh Hutcherson (Bridge to Terabithia), Liam Hemsworth (The Expendables 2) and more.
- Directed by: Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)
- Synopsis: “When Katniss destroys the games, she goes to District 13 after District 12 is destroyed. She meets President Coin who convinces her to be the symbol of rebellion, while trying to save Peeta from the Capitol.”
- Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences, some disturbing images and thematic elements.
- Must-Watch Trailer:
To say that this latest installment of the franchise is the worst to date is not to necessarily say that it is a bad movie…but it is definitely the least favorable of them all as it serves to set up the climatic final act and lacks some of the appeal and feel of the first two. Hollywood’s latest trend (splitting stories into more films than necessary) is arguably viewed at by some as simply an attempt to extend its run and make as much money as possible. Unfortunately, it also causes stories to be stretched thin and lacking in substance. Such is the case with The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay, pt. 1.
Starting not too long after the events of the last film, Mockingjay pt 1 introduces viewers to the inhabitants of the mysterious District 13 and their leader. Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant anti-hero, has been whisked away from the Capitol and finds herself in the middle of a brewing underground rebellion that is at a pivotal tipping point. Her desire to be a part of said rebellion takes time to find its spark as the movie proceeds to show the destruction that the Capitol has inflicted upon the districts and the result of President Snow’s quest to squash the rebellion and all those who side with the Mockingjay.
Ironically, while the first two installments center around a series of games that force the participants to eliminate one another in a competition to the death, this installment features no such games but is far more violent. (I, for one, find the PG-13 rating of movies particularly useless…along with most of the MPAA’s ratings itself…but that’s another discussion for another time.) Scenes of shootings and bombings replace scenes of luxury and pomp that we saw much of in the first two…and I found myself missing the indulgence of the Capitol, the colorful clothes and the superficial settings of Panem.
Those wanting a movie that follows the book, look elsewhere or just remember that this is an “adaptation” made to appeal to audiences and keep the story going. There exist several distinct differences from the book but most add to the film such as the smart and useful inclusion of the ever stylish Effie Trinket (coveralls never looked so in-fashion). It becomes quite evident that the story is stretched for the sake of this 2-part finale.
It’s quite transparent and a bit predictable at times. A rebellion that may remind some of the Matrix sequels and a romance that may remind others of another Young Adult novel series (Twilight), Mockingjay, pt 1 is a different type of movie than the previous two. The story develops plot and purports political propaganda throughout its 123 minute run and is drawn out much longer than necessary. Easily, it could be half its length and continue the tale to its end.
(Remember these character posters? I was hoping to see these tributes or hear mention of them, but behold, there was none. Why even make the posters? oh well.)
One of the aspects I felt missing from the film: it uses little of what works in the first two while changing the direction of story and thus makes it a long movie in which a lot is said but very little happens for as much action takes place. It serves simply as a bridge to the finale and is full of teases but is overall rather empty in substance. Sure, it’s got a few stirring moments, including a musical number from Katniss herself, but ultimately the film serves as a stepping stone.
I agree with a review note I saw online earlier (apologies, I do not remember where) that stated it is more “filler than thriller.” The Hunger Games: Mockingjay pt 1 may leave you hungry for more and not nearly as satisfied as the first two. Whet your appetite for the finale with this one, but remember the end is not for another year.
My Score: 3 out of 5 stars for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt 1.
(Remember, to read this review of mine and over 250 more, check out THE ARCHIVE of movies I have reviewed anytime. Know before you go…or rent…or buy!)
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–T, The Focused Filmographer