Going In:

I’m a huge fan of The Hunger Games.  I devoured the books well before I’d even heard talk of the movies and I enjoyed the first two films (Catching Fire more than the first).  While I questioned the decision to divide Mockingjay into two, I remained hopeful that each part would hold its own.

Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed spending two hours with some of my favorite characters. The film entertained and challenged, but I wish they’d put all of Mockingjay into one film instead of two.

Mockingjay-Part 1 centers around propaganda in wartime as we watch the Capitol utilize media against the rebellion and vise-versa.  The Capitol uses Peeta and Snow as their mouthpieces and the rebels have Katniss.

It begins where we left off. Katniss is trying to grasp the reality that she has been rescued from the last Hunger Games by the rebel leaders while Peeta was left for dead. She’s clearly broken. She’s been stripped of her final goal: to save Peeta and die in the process.  But the rebel leaders, including President Alma Coin and former Head Gamemaker Plutarh Hevensbee, need Katniss to become the face of the rebellion: the Mockingjay.

Katniss see-saws between solitude, either crying or rolling Peeta’s pearl in her hand, and exploring her new reality with rebel leaders or her family and friends. I missed Katniss as the strong warrior and protector, but I didn’t hate exploring the broken girl who took her place. She gives in to post traumatic stress and remains lost in the love triangle (somewhat underdeveloped in this film, with missed opportunities for the Katniss/Gale relationship to shine). She’s more passionate about rescuing Peeta than about calling for war, but there are moments where she finds her fire for rebellion, both in in the action sequences and when Peeta’s life depends on it.

While I appreciate the importance of the message of Part 1—that propaganda feeds our thoughts and actions as individuals and as a collective society and that we may all be used as pieces in someone elses game—it could have been delivered more briefly and the trilogy concluded here. Viewing the entire story in one setting would have felt more complete and dynamic. While Part 1 delivered a pleasing climax, this film had no true end, just a cliffhanger. It builds up and builds up and then leaves us wanting the resolution we will wait a year to receive.

Visually, monotony dominates this film.  But they use color well, specifically gray, white and red. White dominates the references to the capitol, from the peacekeepers shiny uniforms, to President Snow and his roses, to the destruction they caused to those in the bright white hospital in District 13.  Gray covers the rebels from their dark home and clothing underground, to the smoking rubble above ground, to the majority of gloomy dispositions (though Effie and Heavensbee brought some welcome lightness as a reminder of good that could still be found in the Capitol). Red, the lesser color highlighted, is reserved for extreme war moves from the Capitol. The most noticeable references are the red laboratory room during the raid and Katniss’s eyes at the end.

Actors perform well, with Jennifer Lawrence carrying the majority of scenes and a great crew of new mainstays to add to the talent pool.  The late Philip Seymore Hoffman is already missed but had a great farewell performance as my favorite character in Part 1.


Rated PG-13 for the dead, dying and decayed.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 Review
If I accept this as a part of a whole, it's great. If I entertain the possiblity of what it could have been without being split, the storytelling and satisfaction scores take a hit.
Storytelling6.3
Craftsmanship8
Performances9.2
Satisfaction7.4
The Good
  • outstanding performances
  • committed political messages
  • Fairly true to the book
The Bad/Ugly
  • Obviously stretched to make 2 parts
  • unlike the action-packed first two Hunger Games
7.7Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

Leslie

I'm mastercritic's little sister--you know, the adorable one everyone loves? Mastercritic picked on me plenty as a kid but he eventually became one of my best friends from whom I gleemed appreciation of the arts and more. Aside from my love of tv and film, I'm a wife, mom, freelance designer, and natural health enthusiast.

  • http://mastercritic.com/ Tim

    So no kids on an island fighting to the death in this one?? Sounds interesting though.