Movie Review: “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” – Fire Is Catching

Written by Caitlin Cooper November 23, 2014

the hunger games: mockingjay, part 1
Movie franchises which began with a book series and avid fans have become the latest film trend. Some of the film adaptations are successful while others are not. It’s easy to see that “The Hunger Games” is one of the best book-to-film series in recent years. It deals with themes of politics, the entertainment industry, media, war, and more. Last year’s “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” blew me away with its intensity, good script, tense action scenes, and wonderful cast. The films only get better with each installment. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” takes all of the high points from both of the previous films and ups the ante even more, if that’s possible, to create a film that’s highly emotional, dark, and suspenseful.

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” picks up shortly after Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is rescued from the destroyed arena and is recuperating in District 13 – a now hidden underground city – from her injuries in the games. She’s suffering from PTSD and weighed down with guilt that Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) was left behind to be tortured in the Capitol. Since she ended the games, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) has been tormenting any who show signs of rebelling against him. Little does he know, Katniss is alive and President Coin (Julianne Moore) has plans for her to become the Mockingjay and inspire the districts with her fire to take a stand against the tyranny they face.

“There she is, the girl on fire.”

One of the best things about “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” is that there are so many compelling, complex characters that are so easy to become emotionally invested in. Katniss, of course, is the story’s best character. The great thing about film franchises is that we get the chance to really see the main character undergo change and see how the events of the film(s) affect them after the fact. Katniss started as a rebellious young woman who protected her sister – and others – above herself. While she’s become traumatized and and angry, that is the one thing that remains the same about her. Her motivations are protecting those she loves. Her motivation grows a bit once she sees President Snow having people executed left and right. Her hatred of him is apparent and it’s one of the things that enables her to get out of bed each day.

the hunger games: mockingjay, part 1

Minor characters from the first “The Hunger Games” films are allowed the screen time to become more complex characters. Prim (Willow Shields) isn’t a child anymore, in some ways, and her career in the hospital with the aim of becoming a doctor is a nice touch. Katniss helps people by inspiring them and protecting them; Prim helps people by healing them. Gale (Liam Hemsworth) gets quite a bit more screen time and becomes a more central character. He’s Katniss’ good friend yet his hatred is changing him to a bitter person. Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) is mostly absent, but he opens up to Katniss in a way he hasn’t before. It’s nice to see him beyond the drunken facade. The new characters introduced in this film are intriguing and add new perspectives.

“We need every district to stand up to this Capitol the way you did.”

the hunger games: mockingjay, part 1

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” has good action scenes, but has a darker tone than the previous films so is mostly comprised of suspense and drama. With the reliance on intense and emotional scenes, the cast could make or break the film. Luckily, the acting is good. Lawrence’s performance is once again moving as she navigates Katniss’ hard realities and the occasional sweet or funny scene; she’s the perfect actress for the role. Shields comes off as wise, and one of Katniss’ main shoulders to cry on. Sam Claflin, as Finnick, is moving as the depressed and traumatized fellow tribute. Hutcherson, while in decidedly fewer scenes this time around, manages to portray the height of emotion in each of his scenes. The new cast members make their characters memorable and help support the story.

“Prepare to pay the ultimate price.”

Overall, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” is one of the best films of the 2014 and solidifies the franchise as one of the best in recent years. The script is wonderfully adapted from the source material to highlight the high stakes reality of Panem. Katniss and the other characters are so complex and compelling, made even more so by the strong cast. If there’s one thing you do in the remaining weeks of 2014, it should be heading to the theater to watch this film.

My Rating: 9.5/10

the hunger games: mockingjay, part 1

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

Browse Archived Articles by

No Comments

There are currently no comments on Movie Review: “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” – Fire Is Catching. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

Leave a Comment