Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part 1

Details from IMDB:

MockingjayPart1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)

123 min  -  Adventure | Sci-Fi  -  21 November 2014 (USA)

Ratings: 7.2/10 from 69,555 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 308 user | 253 critic | 44 from Metacritic.com

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.

Director:

Francis Lawrence

Writers:

Peter Craig (screenplay), Danny Strong (screenplay), 2 more credits »

Stars:

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

I’ve seen the first two "Hunger Games" movies (and I enjoyed the first one a lot) and is the case with me, I wanted to see the story continue (I haven’t read the books). So we got a chance to go to this on a quiet Saturday matinee show.

Main Points:

First off I enjoyed the performances of everyone in this film (though Woody Harrelson hardly gets to do anything) and of course I was sad to see one of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s last performances. This movie moves away from the actual hunger games and gets the war/rebellion in full swing against the capital.

I enjoyed how the film gets into the behind the scenes stuff with war. Both sides make propaganda films (though the Mockingjay one is never shown to anyone besides the top rebels) and the rebels realize that they need to show Katniss in the field fighting to make people want to join the rebellion. The movie also shows the horrors of war, dead bodies left in a corridor, a room full of people terribly wounded and then the government bombing the hospital.

The film also gets into torture and brainwashing, so for a film based on a YA novel I was surprised at some of the things they showed (twice there is a scene of burned/charred skeletons that is a little gruesome). There are a couple of twists that I won’t spoil and I like the fact that Katniss is a reluctant hero. She becomes the rebels spokesperson but only after several things happen and when she is injured another rebel is used to give a speech.

Final Thoughts:

Jennifer Lawrence continues to shine and I thought Juliane Moore and Sutherland gave good performances here. While the movie doesn’t show it, I assume that the rebels did cause some civilian causalities and we are shown that war always has its price, no matter how noble the cause. It even hints at the deeper idea that if you believe you fight for justice, what’s the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter? How far would you go to fight for what you believe in?

With those things said I did think the movie drags a little at the beginning and the love triangle bit with Gale/Peeta/Katniss still gets on my nerves. There is one part near the end that is rather predictable but still exciting to watch. Overall though I enjoyed this film and while I can’t see it winning any Oscars I would recommend it for fans of the Hunger Games (just not for children).  A strong 7/10 from me. Next will be more movie reviews, December is when lots of good ones come out!

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