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?)


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 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.


Awesome Adaptation with a Tough Heroine


Awesome Adaptations is a weekly bookish meme, hosted at Alisa Selene’s books blog, Picture Me Reading. Each week she writes about an adaptation of a book that she think is worth seeing and has challenged herself to come up with suggestions to match a category. Any format (television series, film, web series, etc.) is acceptable as long as it is based in some form on a book. Today I’m participating in An Awesome Adaptation with a Tough Heroine.

hunger games

 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is one of the first (self identified?) YA book series that I read. It is the story about a girl, Katniss, who grows up in the hills of coal mining country (I imagine West Virginia). She spends her days scrounging and bartering on the black market for food because after a civil uprising the United States has been divided into 13 districts centered around the Capital which now controls the districts by limiting food and her district gets very little from the government. The Capital also makes one boy and one girl from each district every year fight to the death in the Hunger Games to maintain control over the districts and prevent another uprising. Plus, the winner of the Hunger Games gets to bring food back to their district enough to feed everyone very well for a year. But they have to kill all the other tributes to do so.  Katniss volunteers in the place of her sister who was chosen and must take her survival skills from the woods to the arena.

I enjoyed the movie adaptation of The Hunger Games when it came out in 2012. I thought it kept fairly close to the original story, with some minor tweaking to make it more accessible to a wider audience. Some of Katniss’ thinking and analyzing was lost, which was something I enjoyed about the book version of Katniss, but I understand as a medium movies don’t always adequately portray a character’s thinking. But I enjoyed Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of the character and think she did a really great job. Unlike the rest of America, I actually liked Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. (I’m team Peeta all the way, FYI. Gale chose to be in the background and talked a bigger game than he acted upon.) I’m excited to see Hutcherson in Catching Fire which is where Peeta’s development in the books really took place. I thought it interesting that in the books he’s a kind of patsy from Katniss’ perspective, it takes her a long time to see him as he really is, thoughtful, brave, and endearing. I hope this transformation is well portrayed in the next movie.

While I could have done without all the camera shaking, I thought it was a fun movie and a decent adaption. And Jennifer Lawrence is hot.

cc Jennifer Lawrence at the 83rd Academy Awards Mingle MediaTV derivative work: Tabercil via Wikimedia Commons

cc Jennifer Lawrence at the 83rd Academy Awards Mingle MediaTV derivative work: Tabercil via Wikimedia Commons

Movie Review: The Hunger Games

First off, I really enjoyed the film and I thought it was excellent. Phew. Now you can all take a breath and decide if you really want to read the rest of the review or will go merrily on your way knowing that a huge fan of the series wasn’t let down by the film production of its characters. Honestly, I would have enjoyed the movie a whole lot more if I hadn’t been on the edge of my seat in fear that they would ruin it.

They didn’t.

Let us all clap our hands. ::CLAPHANDS:: I think this is probably due to the fact that Suzanne Collins had an instrumental part in the screen writing and production of the film. You go girl.

The Hunger Games is the story of one girl’s journey to womanhood, and along the way a nation grows as well. Katniss Everdeen is born in District 12, where they mine coal, and sent to the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death among 26 tributes, a pair from each District. The United States has been through a devastating war and divided into Districts centered around The Capital, a place of opulence, avarice, and stupidity. Sorry, can’t really think of a big word for stupid. Um, asshikery?

Katniss has some mad skills, fights for her survival, so she can simply return home to care for her sister and mostly catatonic mother. She enters the Hunger Games with her counter part Peeta, the baker’s son. A boy who understands how the play the game, and he plays it well.

Now for some spoilery bits for those who haven’t read the books after the break…

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Hunger Games Stills

Stills from the upcoming movie Hunger Games appeared on the internets this week. I’m soooo super excited for this movie! I’m also super excited that the author Suzanne Collins approves of the movie, because that is a load off, and hopefully means I’ll approve of the movie too. More pictures here. [via The Mary Sue]