This week we review The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. This film stars Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook), Liam Hemsworth (The Last Song), Donald Sutherland (The Italian Job, Citizen X), and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote, Doubt, Along Came Polly) among many others. This movie is the third Hunger Games film and is currently in theaters.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 will be the least epic installment of the franchise. The film certainly feels like a Part 1. Katniss shoots down a fighter jet with an explosive arrow, a few bombs are dropped, but outside of those instances, not much happens. In fact, much of the film takes place in a poorly lit underground bunker. However, like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, the slow pace actually allows for the film to experiment with tone and character. The repetitive and somewhat wearing child-gladiator survival story of the first two movies is finally over, and audiences are treated to a bigger, scarier, more subtle and more engaging plot. The story focuses intimately on Katniss Everdeen, our young, complex hero. A revolutionary group (lead by Julianne Moore) attempts to woo Katniss into acting as their poster child. Katniss is unfriendly, reluctant, not particularly radical, but accidentally charismatic, and she struggles to figure out her place within an idealistic movement that ignores her deepest emotional concerns. Julianne Moore’s character should be mysterious, balancing a blend of steeliness and warmth, but she comes across as if she couldn’t quite decide how to play the part. Other than Moore, no side characters are on screen long enough to mention. The spotlight is almost exclusively on Jennifer Lawrence, who absolutely shines, her face expressive and versatile throughout the film’s many close-up shots. Lawrence walks awkwardly in a tight warrior’s outfit, contorts her face with nausea when witnessing injuries and refuses to share her emotions with others. Katniss is not the romantic hero the revolution wants her to be, but this only makes her more interesting. Dull in the first two films, Lawrence finally caught my attention in Mockingjay Part 1 and I look forward to seeing where Katniss takes us in Part 2.
As a rather big fan of The Hunger Games book series, I have always treated the release of a new Hunger Games movie with much anticipation accompanied by dread.While I love Jennifer Lawrence and think she can pretty much do no wrong, I am still not convinced by these film adaptations. Something just seems off. I am not sure if it is the acting or the general ambiance of the films, but I have never really loved these movies. Unfortunately, this trend continues in a big way with Mockingjay: Part 1. Due to the unfortunate decision to split the final book into two movies, this first installment is not particularly interesting. It does not carry the excitement that accompanied the first two films because it does not involve an actual instance of the annual Hunger Games. Instead, it involves Katniss somewhat coming into her own as the figurehead of the rebellion while she simultaneously visits different districts and mentally breaks down as a result. This is only further exacerbated by the deterioration of Peeta. This movie essentially serves as a fill in until the finale is released. Even though I did not enjoy this movie, I am very much looking forward to Part 2 and recommend that you see it if you feel similarly. I always felt that the third book was the worst of the three, but if there is one part of it that is great, it is the second half.
Recommendations: Battle Royale, Divergent and The Maze Runne