The Hunger Games Trilogy is finally reaching it’s climax with the release of Mockingjay Part 1 on November 21. I have been anxiously awaiting the film for months, and of course I was there to see it on opening night. In the past I have done reviews that shied away from spoilers, but this time I simply cannot help it, as I want to discuss so much of this film with you, my readers.
So, obligatory spoiler warning…..
If you have not seen the Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay Part 1, don’t read this. I will also discuss the books up to the point that was covered in the film Mockingjay Part 1.
You have been warned.
At the start of the movie, we are in District 13 with Katniss, seeing her struggling with the events of the end of Catching Fire. Jennifer Lawrence does an excellent job at making the audience believe that Katniss is struggling with post traumatic stress from the games. She was great with it in Catching Fire and continues with another amazing performance in Mockingjay. Whenever she was upset or frantic I really believed it; like when Snow dropped the roses on District 13 and Katniss believed he was going to kill Peeta. It seemed real and believable. The little glimpses of her fondling the pearl Peeta gave her Catching Fire were a nice touch to show to the audience that Katniss had fallen in love with Peeta, even if she didn’t fully realize it. Well done.
But, while we are on the subject of District 13….as a reader of the books, I was very upset that the revelation that 13 was alive and well was so glossed over and downplayed in the last 2 films. In Catching Fire, the novel slowly built up the lore of District 13 and hinted people could be there throughout the book until Katniss woke up there after being retrieved from the arena. In the film however, she just woke up there and Gale just tells her she’s in District 13….and she doesn’t even seem surprised. They continue to completely gloss over this in Mockingjay Part 1 by having a short bit of dialogue between Boggs and Katniss in the elevator which was basically this:
“Hey, we all thought 13 was destroyed.”
“We weren’t, we learned to live underground.”
It felt as though these lines were thrown in just to try to explain things in a quick way for the audience, since the movies did not do the slow build up that the books have. A similar one-liner was thrown in at the introduction of Pollux, the avox.
“Don’t expect to hear much out of him, he’s an Avox. The Capitol cut out his tongue years ago.”
My very first reaction was to turn to my boyfriend and muse, “It only took 3 movies to finally introduce what an Avox was.” The Avoxes were one portion of the books that fascinated me and truly played up how sadistic and cruel Snow and the Capitol are. In past films, we saw hints of their presence, but they were never spoken of or outright introduced. In fact, two Avox characters with ties to Katniss were cut from the movies just about entirely. I wished the Avoxes had been more of a consistent presence, but it is what it is, and I’m glad they at least had them in the background in the past.
A bit off topic, but the camera woman with half her head shaved, Cressida, is the same actress who plays Margarey in Game of Thrones. It drove me insane trying to place her face as I was watching, I knew I had seen her before. When I realized who she was after, it made me very excited. When talks about the movie first hit the internet, it was initially announced that the actress who played Brienne of Tarth was going to play the role of President Coin. I was stoked to see it, and I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I heard Julianne Moore took over the role. I began to change my mind as I was watching the film though. She had the right look and was really able to convey that cool commander with a hint of cruelty underneath. I’ll be interested to see how this ends with her.
I was a bit miffed that the capture and subsequent torture of Katniss’s prep team on Coin’s orders was left out of the movie, it added a darkness to her knowing that she did that in the books. I understand why they left those characters out though, the audience didn’t know them and was therefore not attached to them. Giving Effie a presence in District 13 in their place was something I did approve of. She is a more well known character and besides…..I love Effie. I did cosplay her, afterall. Seeing her work her own style into the drab greys that District 13 supplied their people with was something I found very amusing.
I was happy that for Mockingjay Part 1 we finally got a little grittier. Seeing Katniss walk through the ruins of District 12 and seeing all the charred skeletons was a gruesome sight which really drove home what I believe this movie was out to say: the “game” portion of the Hunger Games is over.
I’m still curious what is going to be done with Plutarch’s character since Phillip Seymour Hoffman died last year. It is unfortunate he is no longer with us, I really looked forward to seeing development of Plutarch in the plot. 😦 I still wonder if he will be killed off.
The beefed up weapons were cool to see. As soon as we saw the crossbow with incendiary arrows, my boyfriend and I instantly agreed that Daryl Dixon needs one of those.
It was interesting to see the districts rising up against the Capitol. We only heard about what was going on through Katniss–one of the unfortunate things about the series being written from her point of view. The scene with the dam was especially amazing. No one was going to come out of that plan alive, and to see that suicide mission was exhilarating, especially the image of the dam coming down.
I was anxious throughout the entire film to see Peeta get retrieved by District 13. Actually seeing Gale and Boggs go in with the soldiers was pretty awesome. My only gripe with this is that I would have had the film end right when Peeta tried to strangle Katniss for ultimate WTF cliffhanger; and this is just a small gripe because that’s just how I would have done it. As for that scene, I have to give kudos to the makeup people to actually giving Jennifer Lawrence’s eyes the bloodshot look that one would expect to see from someone who had been strangled. Fun fact: when a person is strangled, the capillaries in the eyes burst. I was very impressed that this detail was thrown in.
I am glad this installment is being spread over 2 movies, though it is usually just a trick to bleed as much cash out of a franchise as possible, that’s not the case here I believe. Mockingjay has enough action in it to warrant 2 movies, and I am on the edge of my seat in anticipation for the final movie.