Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1 review

By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A (3 ½ stars)
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1

            Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) returns as the Girl on Fire, Katniss Everdeen in the third installment of the successful Hunger Games film franchise, based on the trilogy of books by Suzanne Collins. Much like the finales to other popular teen fantasies like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay has been split into two parts.
            The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1 is a thoroughly suspenseful and gripping start to the finale of the franchise, the film is loaded with action, drama, and heart, pretty much everything that made the first two Hunger Games movies so enjoyable. Although this movie feels like it takes more risks than its predecessors, there are a lot of gruesome and tragic moments throughout the film, but our protagonists make it through the tragedies that occur in their battle against the Capitol of Panem.
            Shortly after the events of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, we find Katniss Everdeen on a carrier with the survivors of the 12 Districts of Panem, including her mother and younger sister, Prim (Reprised by Willow Shields) and her best friend from District 12, Gale (Liam Hemsworth-The Last Song, The Expendables 2). After being introduced to President Alma Coin of District 13 (Julianne Moore-The Forgotten, Crazy Stupid Love, Carrie) and Plutarch Heavensbee (The late Phillip Seymour Hoffman-Moneyball, The Ides of March, The Master), Katniss agrees to lead a rebellion of all the Districts to battle the Capitol and the scheming President Snow (Donald Sutherland-Citizen X, The Italian Job, Horrible Bosses).
            Unfortunately things go from bad to worse, when the Capitol starts bombing the remaining Districts and Katniss’ partner in The Hunger Games, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson-Zathura, Epic) is being held hostage at President Snow’s office and threatens to kill Peeta if Katniss doesn’t stand down. So with the support of President Coin and her friends, Effie (Elizabeth Banks-Spider-Man trilogy, The Lego Movie), Haymitch (Woody Harrelson-Zombieland), her new friends she made during the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and all the survivors of the 13 Districts, Katniss will spread her Mockingjay wings once again to bring the Capitol down for good, stop President Snow, and save Peeta before it’s too late.
            Overall, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1 is a very solid third installment in the franchise, though it’s probably not the best in the series, I personally enjoyed it the most. It had everything I was looking for, thrilling action scenes, strong character development, emotional drama, a very well put together story, and even some humor is thrown in there.
            However what really surprised me was that the character development and drama was executed just as well as the action. Katniss Everdeen is probably one of the best protagonist characters in pop culture and everyone can identify with her, she’s strong but she’s terrified at the same time and when something bad happens to her or the people around her, you really feel the pain she’s going through and you keep rooting for her until the end credits start rolling.
            Also, this is probably just me, but there is a certain scene in the film where the soldiers of the 13 Districts were sneaking into the Capitol and honestly when I was watching it, I thought for sure they were going to rip off the ending of The Cabin in the Woods, since the Capitol has all those creatures and monsters that they can place anywhere they want, that would have been a great twist, but whatever we got one more movie to go.
            The movie definitely got me hyped for the final movie, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 2, next year I get to see all the events of the previous Hunger Games movies come together and resolve everything. I haven’t read the Mockingjay book this time, so everything was a big surprise for me and sadly I can’t compare the movie to the book this time.
            If you’re a fan of the Hunger Games books and movies, chances are you’re going to really enjoy Mockingjay: Part 1, it’s a gritty and entertaining start to the grand finale of the worldwide phenomenon, The Hunger Games and hopefully Part 2 will end everything on a strong note, so the Mockingjay can spread its wings at last.  

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