The Hunger Games (3): Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)
Director: Francis Lawrence
Cast : Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Synopsis; With the Games now destroyed and in pieces, Katniss Everdeen, along with Gale, Finnick and Beetee, now end up in the so thought “destroyed” District 13. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her friends, Katniss becomes the “Mockingjay” and the symbol of rebellion for the people.
Watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Full Movie: When it was first announced that Mockingjay was going to be split into two movies, I gawked. It’s one book. How can there possibly be enough to fill two movies? It didn’t help that my sister also found it weird, having read the book. She couldn’t see any obvious place for the split. Despite what feels like everyone else on the internet is saying, I actually support the split now. Mockingjay marks a massive tonal shift in the franchise, so it would have been a bit jarring introducing this tonal shift for the final movie, leaving you no time to settle into the new status quo left from Catching Fire. The biggest reason for my support though is how rushed everything would have been.
Watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Full Movie: When a book is adapted into a movie, there are certain time constraints to be taken into account. That inevitably means things are cut, which leaves many fans unhappy with the final product. With Mockingjay they decided to give it time to flesh out the characters; give everyone a bit of limelight, expand on various elements in the book, and just generally make sure it doesn’t frenetically jump from scene to scene or cut out important plot points. Having now scene Mockingjay Part 1, I can’t imagine it being compressed into half the running time without sacrificing the emotional resonance or rushing through everything.
Watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Full Movie: The emotional resonance is the big selling point of Mockingjay. For some it might be seen as boring, drawn-out melodrama, but for me it made Mockingjay a darker, more harrowing movie than the previous two, which says a lot about a franchise hinging on a fight-to-the-death between children in order to keep the tyrannical dictatorship in place. Katniss has lost her district, lost Peeta, and now lives in hiding with a group of rebels intent on overthrowing the Capitol. To not dwell on how that affects her and the people around her would have been a massive misstep. The franchise needed to slow down and focus on the characters.
Watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Full Movie: To say it’s only half a movie is misinformation as well. It feels like a complete movie, at least more complete than Catching Fire ever did. As I mentioned, Peeta is kept prisoner by the Capitol, and he’s being used as a propaganda weapon in response to Katniss’ propaganda by the rebels. The whole plot of the movie is about this cat and mouse of propaganda as the two opposing sides try to get an upper hand on the people of Panem. The big final climax feels like the big final climax of a story, bringing this cat and mouse to an end. It’s final moments are a resolution to the beginning and middle, and in that respect it absolutely has all three acts. Of course it has a cliffhanger moment right before the credits to segue into the next movie, but so did Catching Fire (and Desolation of Smaug, and Fast & Furious 6, and every Marvel movie etc. etc.)
Watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Full Movie: Everything else ticks all the right boxes as well; the acting is top-notch, especially from Jennifer Lawrence and Philip Seymour Hoffman (with a little memoriam for him in the credits). The visuals are on the nail. District 12 is now depicted in ruins, the CGI of the various ships and futuristic cityscape of the Capitol is flawless. There was also some fantastic use of CGI on Josh Hutcherson to make him look progressively thinner and beaten up as the movie goes along, showing the torture he must have been enduring. The musical score is fantastic, with the Mockingjay theme coming well and truly into it’s element, as well as a fully fledged song that brings the rebellion to full strength in the propaganda war.
Watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Full Movie: Mockingjay proves that milking extra movies out of a franchise doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing (looking at you, Desolation of Smaug). It slows the franchise down and gives you time to breathe before the big conclusion next year, injecting plenty of heartfelt emotion to the whole situation, fleshing out the world, developing the characters etc. However it’s not without it’s higher-octane moments. There’s a number of action scenes despite it’s calmer narrative, which expand what was in the book to blistering effect (the fantastically suspenseful climax is apparently just a few lines in the book, largely glossed over). It’s tense, unpredictable, emotional, yet has it’s light-hearted moments. I give Mockingjay Part 1 a very good 8/10. It’s made me very excited for next year when I can marathon the whole franchise in one go.
back to top?