Cert: 12A Runtime: 123 mins Director: Francis Lawrence Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Sam Clafflin, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland
Miss Everdeen, it is the things we love most that destroy us
After my disappointment of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, I wasn’t optimistic for Mockingjay. I haven’t read much about the film nor followed it’s production. The only real reason worth watching the film for me was it is Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last film. What is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -Part I about? Katniss Everdeen leads a rebellion against the Capitol as the Hunger Games story builds to its stunning climax. The games are over. Now the revolution is about to begin. But will Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) be strong enough to become its ‘mockingjay’ – or poster child? District 13 President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) isn’t so sure. But wily Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) disagrees. He recognises that the young heroine who escaped the third Quarter Quell has become a symbol of hope for the beleaguered people of Panem. She is the only person who can unite the rebels in overthrowing tyrannical President Snow (Donald Sutherland). The captured Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and Katniss’s best friend Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) also have big roles to play as the stakes become higher than ever.
Mocking Jay Part I is an improvement from Catching Fire for me. This was always going to be the slow burner in the franchise! We are stuck in District 13 for a large percentage of time, and we don’t get much action. This is more of a political film, and how rival camps work their campaigns. What I dislike from this is that the audience is treated like a gang of uneducated children. Any political term or action had to be explained, surely these actions are obvious to understand. I understand this film is for teens, but damm it at least keep our dignity by letting the audience think for themselves. It has such dark undertones that can’t be shown due to it’s certificate, but the thought of what is happening is very haunting. What annoyed me also was the over emphasis on the score, one scene in particular when Katniss returns to District 12 didn’t need a score. Her expression and emotion was enough to portray the scene. The score just continuously made you know how to feel, rather then letting you make up your mind. Regardless of my issues I did enjoy the film, it will be the mature part of the franchise. It can be very intelligent at some moments. You forget that this is a love story this time round, and you learn more about the situation. It’s a great step forward to the conclusion of The Hunger Games. Francis Lawrence shot the film rather well, he brought back the shaky cam mind which was a bad move. But he has balanced the film very well with dialogue and action. But I imagine Part II will be just explosion after explosion, with a slight hint of drama,
Jennifer Lawrence has some great scenes in this film, and others that felt a bit cheesy, but during a scene where she sends a message to President Snow she became believable. I also enjoyed the scene where she sings “the hanging tree” lullaby. Those were the moments that drew me back to the film and reminded me why I loved this franchise in the first place. I missed some of the characters that I had learned to love and that only got a few minutes of screen time here. Haymitch and Caesar provided some of the much needed comic relief in the previous films, but here everything becomes political and serious and there is little room for them. Effie is perhaps the character who comes out better this time around and Elizabeth Banks nails the role once again. Liam Hemsworth gets much more screen time as Gale he doesn’t do much either, he did have a solid good twenty minutes. Claflin’s role as Finnick is nowhere as nearly interesting as it was in Catching Fire. Philip Seymour Hoffman brings class once again to his role, he stood out for me. Julianne Moore was a great inclusion, she made a great politician no emotion and a calm head. Josh Hutcherson is still a weak link in this franchise for me. Over all Mockingjay Part I is better than Catching Fire, it’s a slow burner that I imagine will be hated by a large chunk of the audience. But it’s a very mature twist to a teen drama.