Mockingjay: Part 1 – film review

Mockingjay || Part 1 || Film || 20th November 2014 || Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth || Directed by Francis Lawrence 

I don’t think many of us need an explanation as to what Mockingjay is about as I’m pretty sure it’s one of, if not the most anticipated movies of the year. But here’s a little summary anyway (from here):

Things are heating up in ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ as Katniss Everdeen gets swept up in the revolution against the Capitol.

Led by the maniacal President Snow, the autocratic Capitol is churning out political propaganda in an effort to quell the bubbling rebellion in the districts. Meanwhile, Katniss is holed up in the mysterious District 13, where she has become a symbol of the revolution.

As a whole, no matter what I’ve written down below, I think Mockingjay: Part 1 was a fantastic film if I could I would go to the cinema and watch it again. It was visually beautiful, the acting top notch and the score was incredible. I definitely recommend going to see it on the big screen.

THE HIGHS

The acting as a whole  think was absolutely fantastic. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Donald Sutherland did, in my opinion, the best job out of everyone but I think the cast as a whole has so much talent it’s the people with the most memorable characters and the best scenes really stand out. I really loved Natalie Dormer being added to the cast with her new role and hairstyle. Julianna Moore presented what I believe is a different version of President Coin but not necessarily a worse version and Willow Shields was fabulous, as always.

The decision to bring in Effie Trinket into the film as opposed to Katniss’ prep team was definitely a good move. Just her introduction got me grinning and I think Elizabeth Banks has done an amazing job turning Effie from this character that many people detest in the books into someone with humor that brings in much of the less serious scenes in the movie. The fact that Effie bought in these moments with the addition of Katniss’ dry humor, made a real difference to the movie as a whole as I can definitely look back and list moments that made me laugh.

The film was definitely emotionally draining. For me, there were tears throughout the movie. No sob fests but tears did spill and I wasn’t expecting anything less. I finished re-reading Mockingjay literally on the morning that I saw the film and the fact that they fleshed out all of those scenes so they made such an emotional impact was amazing. Again, I believe this was largely due to the stunning acting as well as the beautiful score by James Newton Howard.

I’m actually writing this as I’ve got ‘The Hanging Tree’ song on YouTube repeat. That was my favourite part of the movie. ‘The Hanging Tree’ song was probably also the most anticipated thing in the film for me personally because I haven’t heard anything like it at the time that I read the book and I still haven’t years later. The way it blended in with the dam scene was absolutely perfect and I can’t imagine those two scenes better edited. It was stunning. (The fact that I almost go the tune right before the film also made me happy.)

The film also provided the fans of the books a way of seeing more than what Katniss’ first person point of view had to offer. We saw scenes with Snow. We saw scenes with only Coin to get to know her character better. My personal favourite: the districts uprising. Not only that but the way the they reacted to the propos from both the rebels and the Capitol was something that I wish was included in the book as it was definitely missing that part in trying to provide a rounded view of the war.

THE LOWS

Although the movie was very good, I do feel like some of the characters could have been used more. One of the few good things about the book is that you really see how much Prim has grown and how much fight she has in her. In the film she continued to be portrayed as this damsel in distress; the girl with the cat and the girl almost doesn’t make it to the bunker in time. I didn’t like that at all so if they could put in more dialogue from Prim in the last film, that would be great.

Finnick is another character that we didn’t see all too often and I felt like his presence could have been much more valuable. We didn’t really see the instability or how the last arena has affected him except from that scene at the beginning but that was hardly enough. His relationship with Katniss was one of the few highlights in the book and I was disappointed to leave the cinema, think back, and be able to count the number of quality Finnick scenes on one hand.

I’m not sure how I feel about his speech being blended in with the rescue mission. On one hand, I really liked the editing of them and I think it created a wonderful tense atmosphere with those two being paired together like that. On the other hand, I think it should have been left separate as I got really distracted with the action that was on the screen which took away the importance of what he was talking about. Not only because it showed how Katniss could have been potentially treated with the status as a Victor, but also because it was a device to cut the sympathy in the Capitol for their beloved president President.

RATING: [4.5/5]

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