Movie Review – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)
Katniss Everdeen has been able to survive the second Hunger Games she has entered, and has become a symbol for the Rebellion, who is fighting vigourously against President Snow and the Capitol from the secret District 13. But Katniss is struggling with the capture of Peeta Melark and her other allies from the last Hunger Games, and she is also struggling with the destruction of her home District 12. Thankfully her family is with her in District 13, where she becomes the “mockingjay” of the Rebellion, and begins to work with them to motivate and gather allies to the rebellion cause from across all the Districts. But President Snow has other ideas, and uses violence, killings, and even Peeta against the Rebellion and against Katniss. All out war looks more than certain.
This is the first of two movies based on the third and final novel of the trilogy. As with the previous films in the series, this one does not disappoint in the area of visual effects. Many action sequences in this film are exciting and are executed effectively, adding to the plot which is getting more intense. A nice bonus for this outing is that the story expands beyond just a “Hunger Games” setting and moves into the more political arena of rebellion versus capitol. The back and forth of the two leaders, and the involvement of Katniss and Peeta on both sides, makes for a stronger plot versus previous films. In addition, the acting continues to get stronger as the series moves along, in large part because more adults are taking on larger roles in the series, other than the two main protagonists of Katniss and Peeta. One downside which permeates the series is the character of Katniss, who continues to not necessarily convince in her role as a strong leader. She is more a figurehead for the rebellion, given she doesn’t necessarily see the big picture, which perhaps demonstrates complex character and is probably fair for a younger person who has been through a lot. However, the scenes with Katniss are sometimes confusing, and the writers don’t do a good job of perhaps demonstrating that this is their goal. Instead, she is strong in one scene, crying (again) in another scene. The result is disjointed writing and a somewhat confusing character in some scenes here. The closing is definitely intense, and will of course leave audiences excited for the second film. The breaking into two films is clearly done for increased profits, which is unfortunate, but that’s a cynical side point!
Overall: 3 stars out of 5 stars