THE BIG REVIEW
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
As a franchise, The Hunger Games has a good track record. A strong first entry meant that a bigger budget and more attention was placed put into the sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which ended up being better in almost every department. Now, with only two entries in the series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 has become one of the most talked about and highly anticipated films of the year. But can a film based on the first half of a book, that most fans think of as the weakest in the series live up to hype?
Ok, I’ll get this out of the way. Mockingjay Part 1 does suffer from being the first half of a story. Where The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ended with a brilliant cliffhanger that left you desperate for more, the climax of this instalment, while dramatic, feels like the mid way point, and isn’t very satisfying as an ending. It feels more like the ending of a TV show’s penultimate episode.
That being said, there is no shortage of interesting story points, with the film’s two hour run time passing by before you know it. There are also a number of powerful, emotional scenes, many of which reflect the real life struggle many countries are currently facing. Most of these are sold thanks to this film’s (and this franchise’s) strongest player: Jennifer Lawrence.
This is the best she has ever been, and I don’t mean that just within this franchise, but in her career. A lot is asked of her emotionally in this film, and she produces a fantastic performance in every scene she’s in. The Supporting cast are also very strong. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Jeffrey Wright, Josh Hutcherson and a largely under used Woody Harrelson are all great, as are newcomers Julianne Moore and Natalie Dormer. The only cast members who aren’t particularly inspiring are Liam Hemsworth, who isn’t bad but is forgettable, and Elizabeth Banks, who is just an annoying distraction, although thankfully her role is quite small.
Finally, I should say that this film is a lot more adult than the previous two entries. That seems like a strange thing to say about a sequel to a film where children kill each other, but the violence and graphic images are handled in such a way that they feel very real. The general themes are also a lot more adult, with the majority of the film focusing on politics, and the use and importance of propaganda during war.
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