So...Mockingjay part 1. The third movie in the Hunger Games franchise. To talk about it, it's almost necessary to give a little background on the series so far. The first entry, The Hunger Games, was a decent film telling the classic underdog story from the perspective of Katniss Everdeen; a young but strong-willed girl from District 12. It's a serviceable enough watch which is bolstered by the acting prowess of Jennifer Lawrence, but I wouldn't have personally called it anything special. But the hundreds of millions it raked in seem to prove me wrong in that regard. Catching Fire was a superior film, taking a similar premise but giving a deeper look at the big picture rather than narrowly focusing on the story of Katniss' character like the first installment. So that's that. Now, on to Mockingjay.
*Also, beware spoilers for the first two films*
After destroying the 75th Hunger Games, Katniss has been rescued and taken to District 13, which everyone had previously believed to be destroyed. She then finds herself in the situation of District 13's leader, President Coin, and Plutarch Heavensbee wanting her to embrace becoming the mockingjay in order to unite all of the districts in an uprising against the Capitol. The rest of it is spoilers, but I think the title gives away how that goes down.
But is the plot good? Well... yeah, but it's really, really slow. It personifies the problem of splitting films in two, because at the end of the day you have the first hour of a film stretched out to just over two hours. So when part 2 comes out on DVD and it's watched back to back with this, it (in theory) works great, but part 2 isn't out for another year so you leave the theatre unsatisfied. However, to the Mockingjay's credit, that's at least partially because it does such a good job of putting all of the pieces in place for what looks to be an action packed part 2. In short, the plot is definitely interesting and engaging, but is stretched too thin due to the naked cash grab of making two films out of one (pretty poor) book.
None of the supporting actors manage to be engaging. And that's due to them all getting far too little screen time between them. I imagine that a lot of them will be fleshed out later, but as of now, none of them manage to really get you to invest in them. Thankfully though, that's not to say that they aren't fun. Woody Harrelson is once again a joy to watch as Haymitch and Effie does well as comic relief, thanks to the contrast between her over-the-top elegance and District 13's militaristic lifestyle. But for a film to work, we need investment, and that means that everything rides on Katniss, which is lucky because Jennifer Lawrence brings her A-game. I'm not personally part of her ever-growing fan club, but when she puts in a performance like this, there are moments that she just grabs by the horns and just makes them emotional. Which she's aided in by some fantastically directed moments in District 8, all credit goes to Francis Lawrence for that. So I have mixed opinions in the character department, but I'm guessing that we'll see some arcs rounded off better in part 2.
There's not much to speak of here. There's a couple of scenes which show the Districts fighting back against the Capitol, and they're pretty great. Then there's also a scene where Katniss runs away from hovercrafts and shoots an arrow, but beyond that Mockingjay seems to be saving the big battles for it's second half. So yeah, what little action we have is fun, but we could use a bit more in order to make it feel like the film was more fast-paced than it was. Still, the dystopin future setting makes for some interesting (if not particularly original) visuals.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is a superior film to the previous two, but it has some major pacing issues. However it's still an enjoyable and engaging watch thanks to some flashes of brilliance by director Francis Lawrence and Jennifer Lawrence (hey, are they related?).
So thanks for checking out my review, have you seen Mockingjay Part 1? What did you think of it? Do you agree or disagree with my comments? Either way, feel free to comment below, and until next time guys, enjoy your lives!!!