Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Posted on 28 November 2014
By Portia Fahey
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The third and penultimate Hunger Games film came back with a bang this week and what a bang it was!

Mockingjay Part One picks up exactly where Catching Fire ends with Katniss Everdeen, played by the Oscar winning Jennifer Lawrence, waking up in hospital after escaping the Hunger Games and finding herself embroiled in a secret underground plot to overthrow The Capitol.

Got it? Good.

This film was most certainly made for the fans as part of the ongoing story and not a standalone film.#

If you are one of the very few people on the planet who hasn’t read the books or seen the previous films then you will probably struggle to understand the plot as there is little back story and the characters are well established.

For people in the know however, the film is spectacular.

Very little of the film deviates from the book and they have managed to capture the grittiness, turmoil and desperation that are the central themes of the book.

The only major changes are the inclusion of Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) who is pretty much absent at the start of the book, and SPOILER ALERT Katniss’ demand for the assassination of President Snow goes unmentioned. Although I have read that this was on purpose and it will be a major plot point in Mockingjay Part Two.

The previous film at the cinema was emotional to say the least. There were a lot of tears to say the least. So this time meant preparation: a bag full of tissues and friends without a judgemental eye.

It wasn’t necessary. Mockingjay Part One was too gripping to allow the slightest blubber. From start to finish I was either in awe or quite frankly terrified. But I did have a little snivel a couple of times.
Quite an achievement for a film with a 12A rating!

Fans will also be pleased to know that this franchise has not been turned into a soppy Hollywood love triangle between Katniss, Peta (Josh Hutcherson) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth). But instead focuses on the warfare, sacrifice and comradeship in the midst of a revolution.

Every single scene is either gripping, cunning, moving – or all three! This is a very dark film interspersed with beauty, love and the occasional joke at the expense of a fluffy ginger cat.

One criticism however would be that Julianne Moore did not strike me as a moving president of the rebellion until the very end, but I do wonder if that was intentional.

Of course the array of top Hollywood actors and the epic realistic sets only add to the richness of the dystopia and help to make it a work of pure escapism, whilst still striking a chord.

With the vast majority of the film based around Katniss becoming the figurehead of the revolution, the filming of propaganda messages for the rebels, the government response and the impact that has on the nation, you cannot help but realise how powerful the marketing machine is.

Although aimed at teenagers, there is a strong political undercurrent that might be picked up by older viewers about the power the media and government propaganda has to shape societies’ political opinions.

A scene that really captured this attitude was when the evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland) drops hundreds of his signature white roses after an attack on the rebel base to send a sinister message to Katniss making her give up, but the propaganda film crew, starring Natalie Dormer, is desperately
screaming that Katniss should say her scripted lines.

Finally, we need to talk about Peta. I won’t spoil it for you, but the ending… wow.

I must be writing this from the afterlife because it slayed me!

All in all, this is not just a kid’s film.

This is a film that will haunt you, make you ask questions and make you beg for more.

Don’t worry folks, only a year to wait for Mockingjay Part Two.