Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1

Image via ComingSoon

Rating: 4 out of 5

Over Thanksgiving break I watched “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1” more out of obligation than anticipation. I’ve been vocal about how much I despised the ending of The Hunger Games trilogy, so this movie is just one step before the major letdown.

That being said, I enjoyed the film more than I thought that I would. Even though it stops short after Peeta’s rescue mission, it was engaging enough during the buildup to keep things interesting.

I also liked the casting of the new characters: Alma Coin, president of District 13 (played by Julianne Moore), and the district’s Roman-inspired squad consisting of Cressida, Messalla, Castor, and Pollux. I’ve always loved Natalie Dormer (of “Game of Thrones” and “The Tudors” fame), and I look forward to her role as Cressida growing in “Pt. 2.”

Similar to “Gone Girl,” this movie emphasizes how media can influence events by spreading certain messages via mass communication. The emerging rebellion on the Capitol is not nearly as important as the cat-and-mouse game that Katniss is forced to play with President Snow through her various propaganda videos and the district’s hacking into the Capitol’s telecom system.

As for Katniss herself, I much preferred her character on-screen than in the book, because readers of Mockingjay are limited to her point-of-view–which, let’s be honest, totally sucks because she’s a crazed, drugged-up trauma survivor suffering from PTSD. She’s still that same person, but fortunately she must share screen time with all the other characters who are actually getting things done.

And despite his infrequent appearances, I give major props to Josh Hutcherson for deftly expressing Peeta’s torturous mental and physical decline. Buzzfeed insightfully reported that “Mockingjay: Pt. 1” challenges Hollywood stereotypes by inverting the “damsel in distress” trope. Here, Peeta is the vulnerable victim and Katniss is the action hero who must save him.

In fact, I would argue that all the characters in this saga are more nuanced and multi-dimensional than the plot as a whole. I may hate the way that Suzanne Collins ends this chess game of hers, but damn do I love the pawns. I can only hope that these amazing actors can evolve in such a way that transcends the fate that awaits them in the final installment.

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6 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1

  1. I agree that this film was, in a lot of ways, better than the book!
    I must have missed where you said you hated the ending though! I like the ending for the most part, because it’s bittersweet and isn’t really a happy ending at all. It’s more of a “well everybody’s screwed up now and…yeah that’s about it” kind of ending which fits the genre really. I guess what I would have liked, on further reflection, is more explanation of the aftermath. It’s superdramatic and then suddenly it’s the epilogue and then it’s done. But then I guess it’s always hard to get this right too – I’d rather virtually no aftermath than say in LOTR where the ending drags on and on and on.

    • Haha you didn’t love all of ROTK’s separate endings?! I guess I’d rather have an overwhelming sense of closure than none at all. The two sagas are interesting to compare since both were bittersweet, but I felt that the Golden Age of Middle-earth had truly begun whereas Panem never learned its lesson. I just want happy endings in dystopia, gosh darn it!

  2. Great review! I share a lot of your feelings and also disliked the ending of this series. I think Part II will be a lot more action-packed and I look forward to it for that reason, but I also don’t want the series to end in the same disappointing way the books did. Blah.

  3. Pingback: My Most Anticipated Movie Adaptations of 2015 | Book Club Babe

  4. Pingback: Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 2 | Book Club Babe

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