- Directed by: Francis Lawrence
- With: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
- 123 Minutes
Warning: This review contains SPOILERS.
“Am I the only one who likes a lot the Hunger Games whistle?”
We all know that Francis Lawrence did a pretty damn great job with Catching Fire and that the Hunger Games is probably one of the best young-adult franchises in the history thanks to him. Lawrence gave enough reasons to the audience to believe in the strength of this amazing dystopian trilogy and now it’s just a matter of time before the epic conclusion of the whole story. But, as one of this year’s most anticipated movies, Mockingjay – Part 1 has to prove its strength so that it doesn’t fall under everyone’s expectations. So after attending a special screening, here I am delivering you my thoughts on the new Hunger Games installment.
After escaping the Arena in the 75th Hunger Games, Katniss sees herself inside District 13, lost, confused and without any idea of what happened since Plutarch rescued her. The district everyone thought it was destroyed was in fact a huge military district hidden underground and was preparing to seize the moment to begin a rebellion to take down once and for all the abusive power of the Capitol. At first, it is interesting to see how Katniss manages to deal with her first thoughts… After leaving Peeta and the rest of the victors behind she felt guilty and she was tremendously afraid of what could happen to them which in a way prevented her from accepting President’s Alma Coin request to become the leader of the revolution, the Mockingjay. But when she sees what Snow did to District 12… All the deaths and destruction… She decides that it is time to stand up against the Capitol and she decides to become the Mockingjay, with the condition of rescuing Peeta and the others. Since I’ve read the book, I had a clear picture of what the movie was going to be but Jennifer Lawrence’s attitude in the movie was a bit disappointing. After an amazing second installment, the saga falls again into the Peeta/Gale/Katniss love triangle and even though is not that depressing it ends up being the worst point of the movie. I understand that Katniss is in love with Peeta and that she fears for his life but that’s not a valid reason to suddenly stop fighting against the enemy. But even though Lawrence’s performance is not that great, THG: Mockingjay-Part 1 gives a major part of the attention to the rebellion.
One thing that was actually funny was how fake Katniss’ acting looked when she was recording propos to reveal that she was alive and ready to fight against the Capitol. This awkward situation is thankfully saved by Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), who warns the everyone about how bad Katniss works under pressure and how better it was to put her in real situations. Yes, Woody Harrelson is back… but only for brief moments (sad face). So Katniss is set to “danger” and she visits a hospital in District 8 where several injured men, women and children are recovering from a massive attack by Snow’s forces. There, Katniss is finally able to prove why she is the face of this revolution, by contributing a bit to the cause and by display the right emotions. So yes, Katniss is not constantly thinking about Peeta… She sometimes thinks about her family and her personal vengeance against President Snow. After recording the necessary footage, Alma Coin has everything she needs to begin the rebellion. With all the districts united for the same cause, the Capitol loses some of its influence and not even fear is capable of preventing people from fighting for the causes they believe in. From this moment on, the movie stops focusing on Katniss and transforms into a war movie with tactics, attacks and maneuvers that are thrilling as hell and that reminded me of how amazing Catching Fire was. From this moment on, my favorite version of Katniss was back and it was clear that the Mockingjay was alive.
Francis Lawrence gives a clear image of how bad are the torture methods that the Capitol uses to inflict fear and that worked really well to explain how evil and dark the whole situation was. Donald Sutherland fits perfectly into President Snow’s way of behaving and acting and his performance was suitable for a villain. Watching Philip Seymour Hoffman on the screen was also something I appreciated a lot, not only for his great talent but because his character, Plutarch represents the more creative side of the rebellion that is needed to surprise Snow. Beetee also plays a major role on the rebellion by providing the weapons, the technology and the knowledge needed to attack the Captiol. Sam Claflin, Finnick, also plays an interesting role in the story by being the other victor that alongside with Katniss has escaped the games. Gale is now a more grown-up character that wishes to fight the Capitol in the frontlines and that is for most of the time the best sign of bravery in the whole movie but still when compared with the importance of some of the other characters his presence is sometimes forgotten. Since Peeta is at the hands of President Snow it’s amazing to see the natural look on his face when he defends that the rebels should stop what they were doing even though he believed in the rebellion… A clear sign of how Snow manages to manipulate our fears and a great way to show some of his evilness. At last but not the least, we have Julianne Moore as President Alma Coin, who plays a strong and confident woman that will only reveal herself in the second part of the Hunger Games conclusion. Moore is always able to make satisfying performances when it comes to strong female characters and, this time, as leader of District 13 she plays one of the movie’s major roles.
So even though there is the downside of Katniss drama (the love triangle subplot), when there are so many enthusiastic and thrilling things happening, one must praise them and in this specific cases, these scenes ended up making the whole movie good as Catching Fire. It’s like a teenage war movie with several interesting topics and a great will to amaze the viewers. Is it perfect and amazing? Certainly not but, from the point of view of a guy who read the book, Francis Lawrence did a great work in this adaptation and was able to show all the things that actually mattered. The soundtrack is once again a strong point in this Hunger Games installment and it’s incorporated in a great way with the movie’s intense action sequences. Overall, this is not probably the movie everyone was expecting but it’s a strong installment and it’s exciting as hell. With great characters, a great start for the rebellion and amazing sequences, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is Francis Lawrence’s way of proving that after Catching Fire, our Mockingjay still has the strength and the will to fight against the enemy of the people.
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IMAX | Dolby ATMOS | 3D Theaters | 2D Theaters | Rental