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August 16, 2017

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014) --- "The Climax Of A Rebellion Can Sometimes Be Anti-Climatic."


Plot Summary

As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
     It appears that I am in a minority here because I really liked Mockingjay Part 1. Now before you rip this review to shreds, at least hear me out. I do acknowledge that when compared to the previous two films, Mockingjay Part 1 doesn't feel like a complete film; it is basically a build-up film that doesn't have a proper ending. On one hand, I agree that splitting the last book into two films was a purely greed-driven decision by the studio. This resulted in the film being largely deprived of the action and adventure scenes that so many fans loved in the first two films.
I feel bad for the non-readers who did not expect such s drastic change in tone for the film. Now, of course, it did have some action and adventure but the film mostly followed the rhythm of Katniss’ feelings, she’s angry and pissed off. Why do I say this? Well if we really watch Katniss and focus on how Catching Fire ended then we will notice that while she is slightly depressed – although no more than usual – she is more so angry and pissed off; both at President Snow and those that she considered her friends. However, on the other hand, if we ignore the film’s most obvious flaws for a moment then we can see that the film actually has some good qualities.
     For instance, the theme for Mockingjay Part 1 is a surprisingly realistic portrayal of an oppressed and tyrannical society at the beginning of an all-out civil war. One aspect I found refreshing – one that seems to always be lacking in films with similar themes – is an emphasis on the human drama rather than the special effects. Another aspect that I admire is that the film surprisingly remains faithful to its section of the book and I appreciate that the film does not have a solely action-driven narrative. Considering the first half of the final book, it would have been easy for the producers to invent a couple of heroic battle scenes in order to appeal to more fans with action and adventure. However, the most impressive aspect of the film is how layered it actually is; and this does not carry the same good-vs.-evil story that the previous two installments did. This story portrays a smart study on how far one can reach with good propaganda how one system of dictatorship is about to be replaced by another system of democracy. Mockingjay Part 1 is filled with morally ambiguous characters, an aspect that we don’t usually get to see in films aimed at teenagers, and for this alone the film deserves some credit.
     Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen has done a masterful job in portraying through action and emotion the transformation of Katniss after realizing the devastating events she has unintentionally helped set in motion, events that have led to an innumerable amount human casualties that she cannot stop or control; at least not until President Snow is dead. Katniss is being pulled in two different directions that conflict her on the inside. On one hand, she hates President Snow and everything he stands for; in the book, she describes him as a snake that smells of poison and blood. And on the other hand, she begins to see that there are some rebel leaders that have been employing non-moral methods of their own; methods that are not very different from President Snow’s. Dwight D. Eisenhower  once said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” I believe that Mockingjay Part 1 does an excellent job at getting that point across through Katniss. As far as the other characters go we are not met with you basic good or evil characters – except for Snow – each character carries a bit of both inside.
     Overall, Mockingjay Part 1 is a great movie that accurately follows after the previous movie. It focuses solely on the journey of Katniss’ transformation from a young girl to a young woman but it does not bring that transform to a conclusion; that final will be saved for the last movie. And unlink with most Young Adult “book to movie” adaptations the story from book to movie has not been dumbed-down and functions as an honest exploration through a civil war that is threatening to all of Panem and the film doesn't shy away from showing what that truly means. The audience is left with a somewhat understanding of the emotional and physical toll a revolution like this can have on even the strongest of people. Here we being to see, as the audience, the lines between what is morally right and what is morally wrong, become hazy.

“I have a message for President Snow. You can torture us and bomb us and burn our districts to the ground. But do you see that? Fire is catching... And if we burn... you burn with us!”
- Katniss Everdeen

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  4 of 5 stars
Worth Buying:  4 of 5 stars

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send in your comments, and watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014).

Movies Similar
Divergent (2014)
Divergent: Insurgent (2015)
Divergent: Allegiant (2016)
The Giver (2014)
The Hunger Games (2012)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (2015)
The Maze Runner (2014)
The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials (2015)

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Francis Lawrence 


Writing Credits:

    (ScreenplayPeter CraigDanny Strong and Suzanne Collins.

    (NovelSuzanne Collins.

Produced by 

   John Bernard           ---   co-producer: Paris
   Suzanne Collins       ---   executive producer
   Joseph Drake           ---   executive producer
   Miki Emmrich           ---   line producer: Germany
   Christoph Fisser      ---   co-producer
   Jan Foster                 ---   executive producer
   Jeffrey Harlacker     ---   associate producer
   Nina Jacobson          ---   producer
   Jon Kilik                    ---   producer
   Henning Molfenter ---   co-producer
   Michael Paseornek  ---   production executive
   Cameron MacConomy     ---      associate producer
   Allison Shearmur    ---   executive producer
   Bryan Unkeless        ---   co-producer
   Charlie Woebcken   ---   co-producer


   Stanley Tucci --- Caesar Flickerman
   Jennifer Lawrence --- Katniss Everdeen
   Willow Shields --- Primrose Everdeen
   Liam Hemsworth --- Gale Hawthorne
   Elizabeth Banks --- Effie Trinket
   Paula Malcomson --- Katniss' Mother
   Josh Hutcherson --- Peeta Mellark
   Woody Harrelson --- Haymitch Abernathy
   Julianne Moore --- President Alma Coin
   Mahershala Ali --- Boggs
   Toby Jones --- Claudius Templesmith
   Philip Seymour Hoffman --- Plutarch Heavensbee
   Donald Sutherland --- President Snow
   Erika Bierman --- Snow’s Granddaughter
   Eugenie Bondurant --- Tigris
   Meta Golding --- Enobaria
   Omid Abtahi --- Homes
   Joe Chrest --- Mitchell
   Michelle Forbes --- Lieutenant Jackson
   Gwendoline Christie --- Commander Lynn
  Jeffrey Wright --- Beetee
  Sam Claflin --- Finnick Odair
  Stef Dawson --- Annie Cresta
  Jena Malone --- Johanna Mason
  Natalie Dormer --- Cressida
  Evan Ross --- Messalla
  Elden Henson --- Pollux
  Wes Chatham --- Castor
  Sarita Choudhury --- Egeria
  Stef Dawson --- Annie Cresta
  Patina Miller --- Commander Paylor
  Robert Knepper --- Antonius

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