Shoutout to Aimee J for taking me to see Mockingjay for my birthday! Here is a link to the review podcast we did together for Aimee J’s site! Okay so let’s talk. Out of all The Hunger Games books, Mockingjay was my least favorite. I am going to try super hard throughout this post to not give any spoilers whatsoever for those shameful people who have not yet read the books, but let’s just say the book was too different than the other two and much more political for my liking. I was not expecting much going in to see the movie, but I am pleasantly surprised with the result!
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1 follows Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) after she has survived the Hunger Games twice and finds herself in District 13. Becoming the symbol of the rebellion against the Capitol, she must unite the districts and save Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) from the hands of President Snow.
Overall it was a good movie. Not the best, I still like the previous films more, but it was a surprisingly well done adaptation of the novel. Kudos Francis Lawrence for making such a dislikeable book into an enjoyable movie. I was always on the edge about Mockingjay being split into two films because honestly if they were able to fit Catching Fire into one, then Mockingjay would definitely work as one too. However, it is nice to see them not have to rush or take too many scenes out. The changes that were made were fine. It was a great move to make Effie into a much more prominent character. However, I am not sure how the change in President Coin (Julianne Moore)’s character will play out because it really is much different than that in the book. Not to give anything away, but it also surprised me where the movie decided to end. You won’t be disappointed but it was interesting to see how it foreshadows Part 2.
Let’s talk about my favorite part of the movie. The Hanging Tree. Readers of the book will recognize it as a song Katniss sings in Mockingjay briefly but the movie took it to a whole ‘nother level. First of all, Jennifer Lawrence did a great job singing along with whoever laid down the track because you just get goosebumps when you start to hear the music rise and the actions in the movie being played out to the tune. It is simply haunting, beautiful, and worthy of praise. In all seriousness though, it reflects the tone of the film. Mockingjay is not at all similar to the last two films. The games are gone, and this is war. The one person who I really thought encapsulated this shift into darkness was Josh Hutcherson. What a great performance! His visible and emotional downfall is really powerful though he has substantially less screen time.
Critics of the movie: I get where you are coming from. Mockingjay Part 1 does feel like mostly rising action but it does a great job of leading into the events of Part 2. Fans of the book will be pleased overall and it is a well done adaptation. Yes, I am still not a fan of Mockingjay in the series but the film was satisfying. Also, it was a nice tribute to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman so I do recommend that you see it!
PG 13, 123 minutes