The majority of critics were all in agreement about one thing concerning the highly anticipated Mockingjay: Part 1; and that is that “not very much happens” (IBN Live). Following in the footsteps of moneymaker series such as Harry Potter and Twilight, the studio stretched the final book into two separate movies. While filmmakers of the “HP” series started this trend for logical reasons (like including many important details and back story), it’s hard to imagine that the producers of the Hunger Games trilogy saw it as anything more than an opportunity to put more cash in the bank. Not cool, Lionsgate, not cool!
Though the sadistic Hunger Games arena is absent this time around, there is no shortage of violence in this third installment to the series—though perhaps not in the amount you’ve come to expect from these films. While there is very little action throughout the film, producers did a fantastic job of relaying the overall destruction caused by the civil war in Panem. Wide screen shots of ruined cities and charred remains of fallen victims definitely highlight the large-scale ramifications of war.
Fans of the bestselling novels will agree that District 13 was one of the environments we were most looking forward to seeing on the big screen. Lionsgate delivered on that aspect of the film, and the underground “honeycomb” bunker city was spot on with the book’s description, a dark location which complemented the somber mood of the entire film.
As always, Jennifer Lawrence gives us a brilliant performance playing the reluctant hero, Katniss Everdeen. Once again she tries to resist playing a part in political propaganda, but knowing she must put aside her feelings in order to save her loved ones, the ever-conflicted Everdeen becomes the raw, empathetic and honest protagonist we have come to know and love. Similarly, Josh Hutcherson’s performance as Peeta Mellark is just as palpable. Fans want to save “the boy with the bread” just as badly as Katniss does, even in spite of his complete character change.
In conclusion, Lawrence and Hutcherson steal the show, as usual, with their intense performances. The elaborate dystopian sceneries are also to be admired, but what the movie lacks is the franchise’s usual fast-paced action – due largely in part to the story being split into a two-part film.
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Mockingjay: Part 1 Review: Photographs courtesy of Lions Gate Entertainment