So today I got to go to the premiere of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 at Harkins and only three words can be used to describe it—IT. WAS. AMAZING! (I could have also gone with "OH MY GOD!" or "HOLY MATZO BALLS!")
Mockingjay Part 1 is the first part (duh) of the film adaption of the third book in the wildly successful Hunger Games series. It picks up right where Catching Fire left off. Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, after firing an arrow at the force-field during the Quarter Quell and causing a huge electrical explosion, finds herself underground in the confines of the thought to be dead District 13.
First let's talk about Katniss. She's no longer the brave and outspoken girl we saw in the last two films at the beginning of this one. Sure you could see the fear and uncertainty in her face before, but it was masked by her courage and hope. But now, now you can see how much she's changed since the beginning. The results of her actions have caught up to her. She has nightmares and is noticeably paranoid; but this is to be expected from someone who just survived two murder games and an explosion.
But that doesn't make her weak. If anything, seeing the repercussions of her actions has only made Katniss stronger and more willing to fight for the cause! Especially after seeing what the Capitol and President Snow (The only old guy with a white beard who isn't wise and wholesome) have done to District 12. As a person who read the book, seeing this scene is all the more emotional. Witnessing what Suzanne Collins described so well in her novel just brings about a whole new level of visual experience.
Speaking of experience; if you were expecting to have the same all around experience with Mockingjay that you had with the first two, you're in for a surprise.
The feel of this movie is very noticeably different than the rest of the franchise. While the other two had a focus on action/drama, this one's mostly just drama/drama (That's two times the drama!!) There are a lot of action parts yeah, but they don't feel like the ones in the last two films. This is because the emphasis on this film isn't the Games, but rather, what the Games (and Katniss) have brought about.
It's like the first two were the cause and Mockingjay is the effect. War, famine, loss and heartbreak are all present themes in this movie. For an example of how sad this movie is, just look at the scene where some Capitol airships blow up a hospital full of sick men, women and children.
But in all honesty, I really like the atmosphere in this movie more than I like the others. The movie shows not only how much Katniss has grown and changed since she volunteered as tribute for the first Hunger Games, but it also shows how the world around her has changed. As she grows, she starts to finally witness all of the pain and suffering the Capitol has brought the rest of Panem.
And what's really great is that (if you had been watching since the first film) you grow up and witness with her. You see all of the death, the starvation and the pain of the world of Panem just as she does, and then suddenly you agree with hers and District 13's rebellious mission even more!
Speaking of, District 13 is even better than Suzanne Collins described! It's a huge change in scenery, replacing the wide and open (albeit murder filled and dangerous) space of the arena forest with a dingy underground rebel base. Regardless, it looks amazing.
The attention to detail is outstanding! There's TV, a cafeteria and even indoor activities! It's like a underground resort that doubles as a rebel war sanctuary! Also it kind of makes me wonder how they have cable if they are so far underground, and why they get the Capitol channel in the first place.
The character progression is great too. Katniss goes from "girl who's just trying to survive the games and get back home" to "brave face of the war who will stop at nothing to bring peace to Panem and destroy the Capitol"!
Haymitch goes from "drunk off his rocker mentor" to "sober and hating it mentor". And Effie goes from fabulous to...oh let's face it Effie's fabulous no matter what.
But the biggest change—is Peeta. Who, if you didn't know has been basically brainwashed by the Capitol to see Katniss as a life threatening danger, making him attack her and leave her pretty emotionally and physically scarred.
Mockingjay doesn't feel like a Hunger Games movie—and that's a good thing in this case. It shows how much the story, the people and Katniss herself have matured since we last saw them. This isn't about the games anymore. It's about survival, freedom and justice!
If you've read the book, you'll love this movie! There are some scenes the either changed or didn't include at all but I won't get into those because they're not super important. And even if you haven't read the books, or seen any of the other movies, you can still enjoy this movie. If you haven't read or watched Hunger Games or Catching Fire than you may be a little lost at the start, but it'll all make sense come the end of the movie.
All in all, Mockingjay is a joy ride and a hell of a good film! The perfect mix of drama, action and rebellious attitude will keep you glued to your seat. And there will be more than a few times where you'll let out a huge GASP! Especially the tease of a cliffhanger it ends on! I give it a 9.5!
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part 1 is a definite must see and is sure to be movie of the year! So if you can, go see this amazing first part of the conclusion to the second best trilogy franchise!
Sorry HG, but Harry Potter still holds number one in my heart.