Mockingjay Part 1 is the continuing story of Katniss Everdeen based on the popular young adult novels by Suzanne Collins. Katniss Everdeen is played by Jennifer Lawrence and also stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, her two romantic interests, Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks, as Katniss’ mentors, and Julianne Moore and Donald Sutherland, as two opposing politician types.
The story continues to follow Katniss Everdeen; having twice survived the Hunger Games, Katniss finds herself in District 13. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss reluctantly becomes the symbol of a mass rebellion, a mockingjay, against the Capitol and fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage.
I give Jennifer Lawrence all due credit for this being an excellent film. Also, the writers, they deserve a huge round of applause. I found the story engaging and the characters believable. This was not the case for the book Mockingjay. I thought the book was the poorest installment in the series and only finished it because I wanted to know what the writer thought happened, but it was not what I expected from a book that followed the Hunger Games.
With Jennifer Lawrence as their paintbrush, the writers paint a picture of a bewildered young woman trying to take care of the people she love, trying to rise to the occasion, and trying to handle all the of the responsibilities that have been thrust upon her while remaining true to who she is as a person. Katniss is a great heroine, because she isn’t perfect, she has her faults, but she tries, she grows, and she succeeds. That is amazing, and Lawrence took the character by the throat and pushed her to new levels as a role model. (Can you tell, I have a small crush on Jennifer Lawrence?)
I really wish there had been more of Peeta in this first part, that was the only thing I was disappointed about. I wish there had been less Gale. Such a whiny character who busy so readily into the dogma of a military regime. Ugh. I didn’t like him in the books and I still don’t like him in the movie rendition of the story. But Peeta, I rooted for him in the books, and I love him in the movie version. So, I wish there had been a bit more about him.
Another brilliant piece of casting was Elizabeth Banks as Effie. She added warmth, spirit, and depth to a character that had very little of those qualities. Plus, she pulled off some amazingly outrageous costumes. I love how Banks is able to take on and slip into a role instead of turning the role into a version of herself. So, maybe I have a little girl crush on her as well.
While I am still a little sore that they decided to take a rather unremarkable book and elongate it into two movies (for the sake of extra coins in the pocket I can only assume), but I ended up quite enjoying the film, more than I thought I would. And I swear it had nothing to do with the several cocktails I consumed. Ok, maybe a little. The movie was well paced, well written, and excellently acted. My only other complaint is that the ending was a little rushed, and my sister turned away from the screen for a few minutes to pay her bill and missed a crucial piece that just kind of flew by at the end. However, I’m looking forward to part 2 and then a Hunger Games marathon some time in the future when I can sit down and watch all four movies and revel in my girl crushes.