In the Hunger Games trilogy Mockingjay was my least favorite of the books. The ending to the epic story of Katniss Everdeen and her love triangle with Gale Hawthorne and Peeta Mellark seemed rushed. It could easily have been written into two books which would have allowed for a more satisfying ending. That being said I was a little bit skeptical when I heard Mockingjay- Part 1 was going to be made into two movies following in the steps of my other favorite series such as Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga movies.
I saw the movie Thursday night at 9 with my mother (a tradition we have had since the midnight releases of the Twilight movies). The lack of people in line was a major concern. The release of Catching Fire was swamped with people. There were news trucks and people in costumes but not at this premiere. We got to the theater an hour early to get good seats and were the second of two groups who were in line.
I have seen this movie twice now and have enjoyed each time. Jennifer Lawrence is perfect, as usual, as Katniss Everdeen. Her callous attitude and sarcasm adds some humor to a somewhat intense film. The eerie song The Hanging Tree, which becomes the song of the rebellion (and is now my ringtone), was actually sung by Lawrence in the movie! In an interview with David Letterman she reveals that singing in front of the cast and crew was her biggest fear but you certainly cannot tell in the movie. The Hanging Tree is propelling Lawrence further and further into stardom as it has reached number 12 on the Billboard Charts.
The next paragraph contains a few spoilers about Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark. In short Hutcherson was incredible for the little time he was on screen. Skip down if you haven't seen the movie yet and don't want it ruined.
Although he was not the main focus of the movie, when he was on screen he was so intense it was almost frightening. First of all the way he looks in the interviews with Cesar Flickerman, YIKES. Throughout each of the Capitol's broadcasts Peeta gets progressively skinnier, shakier and just all around different. Once he is saved by Gale and the District 13 rescue team he looks awful. After being tortured, injected with trackerjacker venom and conditioned to associate Katniss with all of his fear and pain tries to kill her by strangulation.
I swear in this moment my heart stopped. I read the books but did not put together that this is what was going to happen. You could see the hate in Peeta's eyes at this moment. The scene was honestly terrifying. The last scene when he is tied down and is struggling to get free was something out of a horror movie. The intensity in which Hutcherson was acting toward Katniss was extraordinary.
The casting of this movie was spot on. They have been in all of the past movies but Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks as Haymitch Abernathy and Effie Trinket respectively, had their usual spark and hilarious dynamic. Philip Seymour Hoffman played Plutarch Heavensbee. I am very interested to see how the second part of the movie will play out with Hoffman's unfortunate death earlier this year. Director Francis Lawrence decided not to use CGI on Hoffman's scenes but instead cut him out of those scenes that hadn't been shot before his death. The only problem I had with casting was Julianne Moore as President Coin. She just seemed too out of place with the rest of the cast. Based on what will happen in the rest of the movie this could be what was intended. Stanley Tucci is just Stanley Tucci (ie. amazing). Enough said.
I don't know who couldn't love Sam Claflin as Finnik Odair. His character is so much deeper than he lets on and Claflin portrays this perfectly. FInnik's love for the mentally disturbed Annie Cresta is just so beautiful and pure.
This is shown in the movie when poor Finnik can do nothing but tie sailors knots because of how painful it is for him to think of Annie being in the capitol. Their reunion is just great when she jumps into his arms *sigh*
Donald Sutherland. Gives me the shivers just thinking of him as President Snow. We finally learn the true reason why has a white rose as his calling card and the subtle shot in Catching Fire when he sips from a glass and gets blood in it from his mouth. I cannot think of anyone who would be better at portraying the evil, smug President snow.
As a fan of Game of Thrones I might be a little biased but Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell in GoT) as Cressida was by far my favorite new character of the movie. Just her edgy look was enough to make me want to be her. The half shaven head with the tattoo going down her shoulder. She just killed it. I think it is just the sassy look she has that made her so perfect for Cressida, the rebel filmmaker who left the capitol to be a part of the revolution. Of course her role was minor but she played it perfectly.
This movie was overall pretty good! I will probably have to see it a few more times to get every single detail but I'm not opposed to that! I leave you with The Hanging Tree sung by Jennifer Lawrence.