Film Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Mockingjay Part 1Don’t get me wrong, I love The Hunger Games series. However, I equally hate books being broken down into multiple movies. So as much as it pains me to say it, it comes as little surprise that on its own, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 just doesn’t get the job done.

Catching Fire ends with quite the WTF moment as Katniss is pulled from her return showing in the Hunger Games by the long thought lost members of District 13. “Oh man! Super crazy! Minds were blown!  This must be ramping it up big time to bring these confined battles of survival to a much larger scale!” That’s what you were thinking, right? If you were, you’ll probably leave the theater disappointed.

Only a few simple phrases are needed to sum up this film: Katniss is hesitant to be the Mockingjay, she sees something that allows Jennifer Lawrence to gain experience points in horrified face expressing, Cressida (a director tasked with following Katniss around to get emotionally charged footage) asks her to repeat what she has seen (and thus what we’ve just seen), Katniss gets fired up, and then we experience it all a third time thanks to Cressida’s propaganda piece. But then something happens sending Katniss back to being hesitant to go to war, more horrified face experience points, Cressida asks her to repeat what we’ve seen, Katniss gets fired up again, more propaganda.

“Should we fight? Yes we should. But should we? Yes we should. But… Should we?”

Yes we should, so get to it already.

After all Katniss has gone through it is understandable that she has been broken down emotionally, and her hesitation to be the Mockingjay is an important part of the book to include in the film adaptations. But breaking Mockingjay into two parts does this aspect of the story a disservice because it becomes a watered down story of mostly stretched out filler slowly setting up the events to come. Sure, there are some great scenes showing unrest throughout the districts as they deal with the Capitol’s forces, but these are the only moments that really stand out in this film. Everything else is just a slow boil in an attempt to make a whole film to fit between Catching Fire and the big events that will conclude the series.

Long story short, The Hunger Games: Mockinjay Part 1 is worth seeing the one time, but when I watch the series in the future I could easily leave this film out of the marathon because it just doesn’t fit with the flow of the rest. Honestly, I probably will.

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