The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 Reviews
"Francis Lawrence", the director of this film, once again directs it very smoothly and differently in the fact that there are no games in this one. He takes advantage of the sets to make them as useful as possible and he takes a smart turn with this one. The acting from "Jennifer Lawrence" is once again amazing with a lot more emotional scenes put on her. Although "Josh Hutchersons" character doesn't have much screen time he defiantly redeemed himself from his previous attempt with Peeta Mellark in "Catching Fire". The last lead is "Liam Hemsworth" but his look on his character, Gale Hawthrone, makes him seem like a very boring and self centered character, although its not "Liam Hemsworths" fault that his character seem self centered he defiantly plays a role in it. "Sam Claflin" is back playing his character Finnick Odair but his character doesn't have much screen time, saying that "Sam Claflin" does make use of his time. Although the characters in this film are mostly the same as the last two films there are a couple more characters introduced. One of them include President Alma Coin who is the leader of District 13. They mostly leave her character in the dark to make her seem on Katniss' side. But Katniss doesn't really know who's side she's on. Another new stand out character of the film is Cressida, who is part of Katniss' camera team. The returning characters have massive character development through the film especially Katniss and Peeta.
A great part of this film is the score composed again by James Newton Howard, although there aren't so many great songs in it the ones that are great, I mean are really really great. Obviously having less action in this film you would think it would need less special effects. Wrong. The film had a high budget of an estimated $125 Million. Most of this probably went into the set design of District 13, but if you think about it they can't build a whole civilization underground in three months. So what does this mean they have to use. Special Effects and my god you can't even tell if the characters are standing in front of a green screen. Another place they succeeded in in the special effects department are the action scenes. Including the District 8 bombing and the Hanging Tree Action sequence. The only issue I had with this film is a small pacing issue in the beginning. It didn't drag on but it did have a couple of filler scenes near the beginning, but if you took them out some of the movie wouldn't make sense so I guess they should've made those couple of scenes different from the book which it stayed true to.
Overall "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" was a very good entry to the fantastic "The Hunger Games" Franchise with once again smooth directing and spectacular acting from most of the cast. It had great character's, a good score, amazing special effects but it did have small pacing issues near the beginning. I give 2014's "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" a 9.5/10.
SCOTT: (Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond) I was hungry for bread and found me some Peeta. But enough games. Let s recap.
GREG: When we last saw Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), she was being carried away in a hovercraft to District 13. She wakes up in a hospital room and we learn that she s been there for a couple months. Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is trying to convince President Coin (Julianne Moore) that Katniss is the key to the new revolution. That she is the Mockingjay. Coin is unconvinced. After some failed attempts to get Katniss to look heroic, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) suggests they send her into the field and get her gut reactions. They do and in the process they get footage of Katniss destroying Capitol bombers and making a rousing speech.
SCOTT: A rebel demolition team is sent to the Capitol to destroy a dam, which is the Capitol s sole source of electricity. Meanwhile, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is being held hostage by the central government and is also being used as a mouthpiece for propaganda. At the end of one of Peeta s speeches, he blurts out a warning that District 13 is about to be attacked. His warning saves many lives, but also endangers his own life. Katniss convinces the president to send a rescue team into the Capitol to get Peeta. But the reunion between the two star-crossed lovers does not turn out as expected.
GREG: Scott, I was pretty disappointed in this prelude to the final episode in the Hunger Games series. It represents only half the last novel and moves really slowly. It s as if the writers and director were trying to fill up space to make the film stretch out to 120 minutes. Still, it was true to the source material. The special effects and acting were very good. But there wasn t much of a story. It was all a set up for the final movie, due out in November of 2015.
SCOTT: Actually, Greg, unlike you, I enjoyed Mockingjay Part 1 more than I did the first two Hunger Games movies. For a change, there were no hunger games situations involving kids hunting each other. Instead, we are presented with an intriguing psychological battle between President Snow and Panem s rebels. We are shown techniques that governments use to win the hearts and minds of the masses. It s a fascinating chess game, orchestrated by Plutarch on one side and Snow on the other. Best of all, we finally see Katniss Everdeen undergo a personal transformation. My main complaint about the first two installments of Hunger Games has been the absence of growth in the character of Katniss. Shes been a heroic figure from the very outset of the first movie, when she takes her sister s place as a participant in the games. But in Mockingjay - Part 1 we finally see Katniss develop into something new -- a leader. She transcends her role as the brave, selfless, resourceful warrior. By the end of this film she has evolved into an admired leader and statesman, er, statesperson. It s a welcome change to see Katniss ascend to a new, higher level of development.
GREG: We ve disagreed on this before - I ve always thought Katniss was a great hero. But yes, she definitely grows into a new role in this latest chapter. Like a classic hero, she is given the call to adventure but she refuses the call. She doesn t want to be the Mockingjay. But once she realizes Peeta is alive and captive in the Capitol, she takes up the mantel of the hero and becomes the Mockingjay so that she can save Peeta. President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is exposed to be a villainous lout who rose to his position of power by poisoning his opponents. He represents the classic mastermind villain - one who controls others and rarely gets his hands duty. Like a puppet master, he coerces Peeta to record propaganda that tells the people of the districts that Katniss was the evildoer and that they should not follow her.
SCOTT: On the one hand, you could say that the villain here is a dull and simple mastermind. But in a sense, this movie tells a villain story like no other. Peeta, one of the main heroic figures in the first two movies, has now evolved into an oppositional character. Yes, it is true that Peeta s been brainwashed, but his call for Panem to cease hostilities conflicts with Katniss s plans to reform this dystopian, dysfunctional Capitol government. So you could argue that this film gives us a glimpse of a Stockholm-syndrome-like process of villain development.
GREG: I was glad to get another episode of The Hunger Games and another dose of a great female hero. We re really getting quite a few of them now (witness Divergent and Lucy). While I was disappointed that I ll have to wait another year before the final chapter will be played out, I liked this movie enough to give it 4 out of 5 Reels. Katniss grows more in this film than in previous films. The filmmakers are not dressing our hero in flowing gowns and showing off her attributes. She s dressed in battle gear. She s a tough, strong leader. I love seeing this growth not only in Katniss, but in the types of female role models that are emerging for our young women. I give Katniss 5 out of 5 Heroes. The villains are not as pronounced in this segment as they were in previous ones. We re given a little more information about President Snow and his backstory. We are definitely treated to a look inside Snow s mind and how he manipulates not only physically, but also psychologically. I m hoping we ll see more of that development in the final installment. I give President Snow 3 out of 5 Villains. Movie: Villains: Hero:
SCOTT: For me, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is arguably the strongest of the three Hunger Games movies. The film has less action but is more psychologically compelling in its portrayal of social movements, leadership development, and brainwashing techniques. Our hero Katniss has stepped up significantly to become much more than a young woman who can survive a deadly game. She is now a heroic leader of the Panem people. I give this movie 4 Reels out of 5. As mentioned, this is the strongest hero story of the three Hunger Games movies. Katniss is thrown into the world of political leadership and, as such, she is required to grow in an unfamiliar world that stretches her personally. She is not only transformed as a person, but she also transforms an entire society. I award her 5 Heroes out of 5. President Snow is a fairly formulaic mastermind villain, but Peeta s surprising role as an oppositional force to Katniss s leadership turns out to be the main focus of the film. Without Peeta s brainwashed adversarial presence and without his murderous attack on Katniss, this movie would earn a rating of 1 Villain out of 5. But Peeta s unique oppositional role bumps my rating up to 3 Villains out of 5. Movie: Villains: Hero:
Mockingjay has dispensed with the killing games of the 1st two instalments in favour of war, political power plays and the beginnings of a rebellion. There is also an underlying theme highlighting the power of the media and it's influence in such matters. This one is intense and really packs an emotional punch - aided by some excellent direction and some great acting from the lead players. It is sad to have the knowledge that we have now lost a talent like P.S. Hoffman - his Plutarch is a wonderful exercise in subtlety and intellectual prowess. An interesting match against the power of the capital, with it's abundant troop numbers and heavy firepower. He is a gifted strategist and the one who seems to really know what is going on. Jennifer Lawrence is excellent once again as Katniss. It is clearer now (than in the 1st two films) why she had been picked for this as she really makes you believe the up and downs of this difficult journey, and you are with her withÂ every step. Some of the heart wrenching scenes/speeches (one early one in particular) may have fallen flat in the hands of another actress.
I found myself completely engrossed for the entirety of this film, not wanting to take my eyes off the screen for any of it. As I said previously, this is heavy on the emotion and it rarely lets up. Even with little knowledge of the intricacies of the back story and history of Panem, you are wholeheartedly behind the rebellion and you so fervently despise the man behind the suffering. Sutherland hasn't had much screen time in any of these films but credit to him to still make you loathe the Snow character and his relaxed attitude to the genocide of entire cities of people.
Itâ(TM)s a pity that this film had to be split in 2. Itâ(TM)s
annoying to have to wait so long for a conclusion. I am deducting half a star purely because it feels unfinished. However, considering this is based on fiction for young adults...it still hits hard and will stay with me for a while.