Well, unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years you know that the Hunger Games series is a big deal and the latest release hit theaters today, the MockingJay Part 1. When we last left Katniss and the crew of the movies in catching fire, they had just pulled Katniss out of the arena and she was beyond upset to find out that Peeta had not been rescued as well.
The story picks up again almost at that same spot but this time Katniss wakes up in District 13. Once we spend some time in District 13 we find out that it’s a very drab kind of place, all underground and everyone in gray jump suits and under the rule of another President.
Now anyone who has read the books will know all of the story and what happens within the pages of the book and they may not like the differences in the movie, others may understand like the cinematic changes. One change being that they kept Effie to help be a central support system for Katniss.
Adjusting to life in District 13 and finding out what happened to her home of District 12 she needs people around here that she can trust. While being pushed from several sides into becoming the face of a revolution. It takes some time for Katniss to decide to be the Mockingjay but when she does eventually agree she has some conditions and they are pretty noble ones. She demands that those victors who are still in the capital be rescued as soon as possible and to have no trial and nothing held against them. Then after that demand she just wants her sister to keep the cat, she rescued from the family home.
This is more than amusing considering the cat does not like her at all but does love her sister. It takes a little pushing from the turncoat game maker, but the President agrees about the Victors and does not seem to mind agreeing to the cat much.
The pacing of Mockingjay Part 1 is pretty solid and the movie on its own merit is a good one. It has everything you would want to see within a movie to keep your attention. Action, tension, dramatic moments and a solid storyline. I personally felt there were a few moments that could have been done a little better or the scripting could have been a little stronger at points, but overall all this is just nitpicking of an otherwise very good movie.
The biggest qualm I had with it and I realize as I write this next section of review, it is a core part of the story, but it has to be said. The constant back and forth that Katniss seems to have with her love of Gale and Peeta. It reads very shades of Twilight and makes me want to say, “Enough already PICK ONE.” there is even a point where you swear that Gale wants to say the same thing.
He has been more hen a good friend, patient and supportive of Katniss and throughout the movie he continues to be so including being the very first to volunteer for the special team that has to risk everything to go into the capital and rescue Peeta and the other Victors. Perhaps this love triangle stuff on the screen (and yes the books too) is just part of the teen aspect that is lost on my older brain.
Delving back to what unfolded on screen without giving too many spoilers away, we see an interesting interaction between Snow and Katniss when she is desperately trying to keep his attention off the team that is working to save lives. The unfortunate part of that is Katniss doesn’t notice throughout any of the interaction that she is being played and not just a little bit, President Snow seems to have seen every move Katniss and District 13 were going to make and planned way ahead of them.
Katniss seems too naive in this dealing she does not even fully clue into things when Snow tells her to be careful that things which we love the most can also destroy us. Maybe it is just this reviewer but you would think that would have given her a big fat clue as to something big being up.
When Gale, who got back safely from the rescue mission talks to Katniss he even hints that he felt it was too easy for them to get away. By the time the team had found the victors and made a run for it the power which had been down in the Capital was back up and running they could have been shot down. Katniss still does not put two and two together and goes to Peeta.
That of course will prove to be a big mistake for her. We find out after he almost kills her that he has been tracker jacked. Something that again should have been obvious to Katniss throughout the movie, perhaps not the exact form of what happened, but that Snow was fashioning a weapon out of Peeta. She noticed throughout the entire movie when he was making public service announcements that he was looking worse each time, oh she noticed that. She, however missed the why he would be and the big hints that Snow threw her way. The movie leaves us with her going to him again. The details I am purposely leaving vague so you can see for yourself, but it might make you shake your head a bit like I did.
Even with those negative points in the plot the overall feeling for the Mockingjay Part 1 is that it is a solid movie installment and it does leave you ready to see the next installment. If you are a big fan and have been following this franchise from the beginning you are going to really enjoy the movie and may not have the little negative nitpicks that I did. What Mockingjay Part 1 does very successfully is set you up for wanting to see far the revolution goes.
It also makes you a bit suspicious of President Coin (District 13) and just what she plans to do if and when she wins. Oh sure, she talks a good game about being equals, but there is just a little something about her that sets the teeth on edge. So if you are looking for a movie to see this weekend or in the coming weeks while waiting for the big Christmas time releases Mockingjay Part 1 should certainly hit on your to do list it is a solid movie worth the price of admission.