‘Mockingjay, Part 1′ Movie Review: The Games are still on

Nov 23, 2014 by     No Comments    Posted under: Entertainment, Screenplay

The Hunger Games is the third major Young Adult franchise to split its final movie into two parts. And yes it does feel as though everyone is looking to jump on the Harry Potter  bandwagon but Mockingjay, Part 1 proves that you can divide the final movie into two parts where a compelling first half is possible.

What makes this first half so good is that not only has the extra time been used to really benefit the movie-goers who’ve read the book but like the previous two  movies in The Hunger Games series the percentage of the audience who haven’t read the books aren’t missing out on so much of the big stuff, of course there are parts of the story you miss out on if you haven’t read the trilogy but it’s stuff you can live with! unlike with Harry Potter where reading the books and just watching the movies are vastly different. And also, Mockingjay takes the action off Katniss from time to time to show what problems the Girl on Fire has caused around Panem. And it’s always good to have the camera taken off the main character to see what effects their actions are causing all around.

This movie, frankly speaking, is more than half of a final book. This is a big upgrade. The amazing and final book of the trilogy has taken off to an incredible start.

I will be doing my best to keep this review spoiler free and if you’ve read the books already then you have nothing to worry about!

Mockingjay, Part 1 begins with Katniss having to deal with the repercussions of District 13’s plan to mess with the Quarter Quell and bring down the Capitol and making Katniss the centre of it. Having been forced into a situation completely against her will, Katniss struggles with becoming the face of the rebellion, their Mockingjay,  while finding out a way to rescue Peeta who’s being held captive by the Capitol and whom President Snow is using as a means to taunt Katniss.


Director Francis Lawrence has once again managed to do a great job with yet another Hunger Games movie.  The movie doesn’t feel like it’s dragging on or trying to fill the allotted time. There isn’t a single scene that won’t keep you on the edge.

Because the story isn’t being narrated by Katniss, the Capitol and the 12 (13?) Districts are bought up in front of the storytelling. President Snow (played by Donald Sutherland) pops up more often than he does in the books and even more times than he has appeared in the previous two firms.For example, there’s a great scene where we see Snow learn of Katniss’ presence in District 8, and his horrific decision to bomb the hospital for associating themselves with the Mockingjay. We see how Snow always manages to keep a careful watch over Katniss, how he suspects her every move, his actions send a constant chill over Katniss’s, and ours, back.


And of course we get to see the revolution enfold. The Districts are pushing back against Peacekeepers and the Capitol. These new moments bring the plot from internal (Katniss’ own experiences as expressed in internal thoughts and private conversations) to external (how her actions are impacting others in society), meaning that some scenes where Katniss is having a conversation with Finnick, Haymitch, or Prim her dialogues are a part of the background and we see how what an impact she has created on the general civilian population of all the Districts.

The movie even adds an element of fun if you were hoping to take a break from crying to laugh during at least a couple of scenes! Our favourite Effie Trinket makes an appearance and wherever Effie is there is bound to be a hint of laughter accompanied.

There are plenty of new roles in Mockingjay, Part 1, and the two biggest are played by actresses: Julianne Moore is,the leader of District 13 and plays a slightly kinder version of President Coin than the one we see in the book. And Natalie Dormer is incredible as Katniss’ camera crew director, Cressida. Meanwhile the old crew is as good as ever.

And finally, there’s Peeta and his rescue from the clutches of the Capitol. The movie has no shortage of tears and every time Peeta’s face came up on screen I inched forwards on my seat. Peeta’s rescue and the way it was delivered was surely one of the best scenes of the whole movie; Finnick’s unexpected speech  about President Snow and his stash of secrets that would have the potential to bring down the Capitol was what made the entire rescue sequence nail-bitingly suspenseful. Even though Peeta has very few scenes , he makes it up by making movie-goers believe the Capitol’s control over him.


But the scene that will have fans talking for a long time definitely has to be where we get to hear our very own Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen sing The Hanging Tree song and take our breath away.

And one more very important thing…make sure that you stay after the Mockingjay credits to get your first look at the Mockingjay, Part 2 logo. The new logo depicts the Mockingjay breaking free of the ring that has encircled it since the first film. Exciting isn’t it?!

The Games will continue in the third and final film set for next year.

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