Mockingjay Part 1- Movie Review

Cover of the film

Cover of the film “Mockingjay Part 1” from showing Katniss Everdeen ready to become the Mockingjay and lead a revolution to rebel against the Capital.

The film “The Hunger Games- Mockingjay Part 1” directed by Francis Lawrence, was released on Nov. 21, 2014. This movie is based on the young adult book: Mockingjay, the final book in the Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins. The book combines sacrifice, rebellion and bravery and shocked millions with its surprise ending and plot twists.

In this film, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), Victor of the 74th annual Hunger Games, has just been rescued after she destroys the arena in the Quarter Quell and is taken to District 13 with her fellow previous Victors Beetee (Jeffrey Wright) and Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin). District 13 is a facility that is the center of the revolution against the Capitol and President Snow (Donald Sutherland), which is hidden under the ruins and destruction of the old District 13. Shortly after she arrives, Katniss is asked to become the symbol of the rebellion for the people in the other districts to follow: the Mockingjay.

At first, Katniss refuses to become the Mockingjay because they left her portrayed lover and fellow Victor, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), in the arena. Katniss is taken back to District 12, her previous district, that was bombed to ashes and killed hundreds of people. Seeing District 12, and Peeta being used by the Capitol on television broadcasts telling people to end the rebellion, changed her mind about becoming the symbol of the revolution.

She agrees to become the Mockingjay if President Coin (Julianne Moore), the leader of District 13, and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), previous Head Gamemaker, promise to save Peeta and the other abducted tributes at earliest opportunity. Katniss then appears in many “commercials” to counteract Peeta’s messages from the Capitol; trying to convince the districts to rebel. The outcome is violence, destruction and loss; Katniss’s world may never be the same.

Parts of the movie could be considered suspenseful, disturbing, or depressing. In general, the film shows the events leading up to the revolution, or war, that Katniss begins. “A lot of it was just negative things that just escalated the war between the Capitol and the districts, and it was just a lot of back and forth ‘killing people’,” said Sean Tichenor, a Sophomore at CHS. The actual “battle” is not shown because that will be in “Mockingjay Part 2,” which is the last film of the Hunger Games Trilogy.

Occasionally in the film, a viewer could become confused about a specific issue if they have not read the book already. Without reading the book, a viewer may not have the same reaction to certain scenes as someone who has read the book. They do not have the same amount of background information about the relationships between the characters, and how Katniss feels about specific challenges she faces. Some of the emotional connection between the audience and the characters may be lost. Although, for the most part the movie followed the first half of the book fairly closely. “Yeah, I think [the book] was pretty close to the movie,” Tichenor said.

Additionally, the film includes Lawrence singing “The Hanging Tree” written by James Newton Howard. The song was initially #3 on the charts on iTunes when the movie first come out. Now, it is no longer #3 but it’s still in the top 20 songs. It added a powerful and resolute vibe to the movie as the districts were uniting together to rebel against the Capitol. Her voice sounds deeper and a little raspy in the song, but it was beautiful at the same time.  Lawrence’s voice went above the expectations of critics.

The acting of Lawrence and  Hutcherson was phenomenal. Both actors played their roles well and contributed greatly to the quality of the film. “[Lawrence and  Hutcherson] were good and the rest of the supporting roles were pretty good as well,” Tichenor said. Additionally, the special effects of the film were outstanding and added a lot to the entertainment spectrum of the film.

Francis Lawrence truly outdid himself with this film by accurately representing the book, and making the film captivating at the same time. “It was really suspenseful, and I think a lot of the movie was just leading up to the next part,” Tichenor said. “It was definitely a cliffhanger of what’s going to happen in the next one.” After watching “Mockingjay Part 1” it will be almost impossible to not want to see “Mockingjay Part 2.” Be prepared to wait until November of 2015 for the next film.

Rating: A-