The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014) Review!!

hunger-games-mocking jay-part-1-bannerSynopsis – 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.

My Take – Frankly, I have not understood the craze (& BO performance) behind this series, yes the series is interesting and fun, but just like the Twilight series, the films are not just cinematic adaptations of teen novels, each one of them are given the reception of a life time event! I guess I have to be a teen again to understand that! The plot here is pretty simple, after Katniss Everdeen demolished the annual Hunger Games with the shot of an arrow, she set in motion a rebellion that may very well overthrow the totalitarian rule of the Capitol which has held sway over the people in twelve Districts for the past 75 years. But to get to that point of the struggle, Katniss needs to be transformed from a survivor into an icon, a symbol that would come to represent what the revolution stands for in order to rally the people from the Districts to come forth from fear and join in the armed struggle. While the 1st was fun, the 2nd upped it a notch & was freaking awesome (one of my favorite films of 2013), I cant help by say I was mildly disappointed by this one.

h mockingjay image2Yes! I have not read the book series, but that also helps in a way as I am not able to predict whats coming in next. Like a friend of mine commented, this film suffers from the ” Part 1 plague”, meaning the book was split into two films just in order for the studio to make more money! The film hardly has any action & at times seems to really drag, with some unnecessary sequences really effecting the pacing. Even though the “action” is clearly intended to carry the movie, given the amount of time devoted to it, it is largely vapid PG13-type stuff. Even the social & political nature of the series, which are shortly focused in the first two films, is in full swing here & may not be rel eatable to the non die hard fans audience. Nevertheless the film does has his own plus points, & gives you many reasons to watch this one, mainly as it doesn’t feel like a ‘Hunger Games’ film that we’ve come to know in the previous two installments, It almost feels like a complete reboot of the entire franchise.

Hunger-Games-Mockingjay-Part-1-2014-Movie-ImageThe film is almost entirely set in District 13; besides the short but poignant visits to District 12, 8 and little cutaways to scenes outside of Katniss’s perspective in the Capitol, 5, 7 and 11. There are no more “games” – which means no more reapings, no more chariots, or any of that lead up. The film get to the core of what it is really all about and gives us a shocking and horrifying portrayal of war in Panem and how media manipulation is used through the use of propaganda videos in battle to control the populous. The cast is stellar. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss carries the whole movie by herself, she is no longer forcing smiles in flaming dresses or dropped into a televised reality game show wearing latex wet suits all designed to appeal and appease the Capitol audiences, she’s now hidden underground in the bleak and gray District 13, a district that months prior, none of the characters even knew had still existed since its ‘alleged’ obliteration during ‘The Dark Days’.

huEven though her character seems whinny (& annoying) at times, but she is conveying so many different shades especially vulnerability as evidenced by how quickly she is seized by helplessness when she sees Peeta on TV, doubts towards President Coin , but most importantly her fierce determination when she turns towards the camera and delivers a personal message to Snow: “if we burn, you burn with us”. Lawrence has always been the beating heart of this dystopian saga, and by letting Katniss’ bow and arrow take a backseat to her emotional struggles, this chapter sees Lawrence deliver her most soulful, stirring and storm-raging performance yet. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta has the least screen time this time, but in the limited frame he has given out a true heartbreaking performance performance. Liam Hemsworth gets better role this time round & he is very likeable. With a strong supporting cast including Julianne Moore, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks & Natalie Dormer, the bar for performances just keeps raising. On the whole The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 may not be the best film this year, but if you decide to keep your minds open & don’t expect to see a film on the similar lines of the first two parts, this film is worth a watch mainly because of its crisp direction, powerful performances & prepare you for the epic showdown finale coming next year, as we follow Katniss and her squad in their final journey to stop the Capitol!

3

Director – Francis Lawrence

Starring – Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson

Rated – PG13

Run Time – 123 minutes

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