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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One

Reviewed by Galen Strickland

I might have been a bit too harsh in my review of the previous film in the trilogy, Catching Fire, because in comparison to the latest entry it is Academy Award material. The main problem with Mockingjay is it should have been just one movie, not two. Then again, in keeping with the slow pace of the third book, we might surmise that in the future nation of Panem time moves more slowly than it does now. There are long scenes in which very little happens, or else it's a lot of unnecessary exposition, with the majority of the characters standing around listening to someone else talk. Then there's the false tension in the scene where Prim goes back to her room to rescue her cat. I didn't actually time it, but I am sure the last ten seconds of the countdown, when Prim, Katniss and Gale have to return to the bunker before the blast doors shut, was closer to thirty seconds.

There's not much action, and what little there is doesn't make much sense. It has been over two years since I've read it so I can't recall if it's from the book, but it is unlikely that a small explosive arrow could take out a large fighter jet. It may have made for a more dramatic scene, and it was filmed for one of their propaganda broadcasts, but there was also an anti-aircraft gun that Katniss or Gale could have used to shoot down the jet instead. The acting is generally flat and unconvincing. Even the usually dynamic Hoffman and Moore appear to be phoning in their performances, and they shouldn't have perpetuated the love triangle because there is no chemistry between Lawrence and Hemsworth. The only thing that makes sense, and the only acting that resonates emotionally, is with Lawrence and Katniss' concern for Peeta. If not for her insistence he would have been left in Capitol to fend for himself, and yet his rescue puts them all in peril.

When I heard this would be split into two films I started wondering where they would end the first one. There is a later sequence in the book that I think would have made for a better cliffhanger ending, but that would have necessitated expanding upon the actions that come after that to fill out another film, yet it would have added more action to this one. The ending they did give us might have been more appropriate if we didn't have to wait another year for the resolution. Since I have read all the trilogy, and seen the first three films, I'm sure I'll see Mockingjay, Part 2, but it won't be a high priority.


Related Links:
My review of the book trilogy.
My reviews of the first two films, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.
And now, Mockingjay, Part 2.
Eliza DoLots' review of the first film.


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Frances Lawrence

Peter Craig
Danny Strong

November 21, 2014

Jennifer Lawrence
Liam Hemsworth
Josh Hutcherson
Woody Harrelson
Donald Sutherland
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Julianne Moore
Willow Shields
Elizabeth Banks
Sam Claflin
Natalie Dormer

Full Credits at IMDb

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