Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

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.

mockingjaySummary from Wikipedia

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?)

katniss

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.

effie_by_pseudolirium-d55rrq9

Effie by Pseudolirium on DeviantArt

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.

 

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4 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

  1. I think they did a really nice job of adapting this. I’m still not convinced of the need to split the film into two but I did come out thinking that they found the most natural join possible in the story to make that split work. There were some changes made and I felt like many of them were smart – giving Effie a role in the story for instance (my memory is that she doesn’t feature at all in Mockingjay and that it was her make-up team who end up working with her). A few did bother me a little though.

    I’m with you on disliking Gale and I felt that this film presents him in a more heroic, positive light than the book does. This may be to create a bigger payoff in the second half so I may reevaluate that.

    The other was the intercutting with the action mission during Finnick’s tell-all revelations. Those are a huge part of the book and I think it’s his best moment in the book. The cutting back and forth diluted the power of that speech to allow for an action sequence that I don’t think we would have seen if the chop hadn’t meant that the final act needed it. Given he’s my favorite character, I wasn’t too happy with that choice.

    J-Law was great as usual and I thought she made Katniss’ journey very credible. I thought Josh Hutchison was very good too in those all-too-brief interview scenes. I missed Jenna Malone though I’m excited for the second part for obvious reasons and Donald Sutherland is always fun as Snow.

    • You have done really good points. I think you are right about Effie vs her team. And that was a smart change, so many people love Elizabeth Banks version of the character. Josh Hutchinson did have a really small part in the movie, but he definitely made the most of it and he is one of the reasons I’m looking forward to the final installment in the movie franchise.

      I’ll admit I only have a vague recollection of Finnick’s tell all (due to the aforementioned drinking ::cough::), but I too get annoyed with the over done interspersed action with powerful speaking parts. And Finnick is a really great character. So that’s a shame.

  2. I liked it but I have to say I thought it was super predictable… and I don’t normally correctly see things coming. But then, I guess the book must have been like that because I’ve been told (by the better half, who’s read it) that it was pretty close to the book. Still looking forward to Part Deux though 🙂

    • It was pretty close to the book, which was also predictable and therefore my least favorite of the trilogy. But I found it am interesting concept and actually thought the movie added to the story rather than took away from it for the most part. I still think it could have been one movie instead of two. The acting was top notch and I found it really enjoyable, I’ll definitely watch the last one. And not just because of my girl crushes. Lol

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