The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
This weekend, Heather and I had a chance to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. Like a lot of people, I enjoyed the previous movies in the series. I read the books before the movies, and thought that the adaptation of the characters and world were great. I enjoyed the movies more than the books. While reading the books, I could not help but feel like every idea in them were a rip-off of something else. Seeing them brought to the big screen had a different effect, and I enjoyed the experience more. I liked the toned down violence, and the acting was solid. It helped immerse me in the world and forget about my issues.
Coming into the latest of the series, I was skeptical. Splitting books into multiple movies is a practice I disdain. It is a terrible way for studios to make more money at the expense of the audience, and it is not something that I like to support. Having invested in two previous films before knowing the studio split the third, Lionsgate forced my hand.
This far removed from having read the source material, I cannot remember enough of the third book to compare it to the film. I recall the plot and some major events, but I cannot pinpoint what the creators tweaked for the movie. I still do not think the split was necessary, but the division of events makes sense from a story perspective. There are points that drag or feel emotionally manipulative, but in general, I thought the movie was good.
Mockingjay – Part 1 takes on a shift in tone and story from the previous films. The characters are thrust in the middle of a growing war and forced to come to terms with who they are in the midst of a larger ordeal than their own survival. Jennifer Lawrence shines in her role, and my mind had no problem flipping back to her as a young lady in this movie despite her more adult roles in films like Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. She sells herself as Katniss, and it draws the audience into her world. The supporting cast is also excellent. They help to inject genuine emotion and humor within the dark world and events of Panem.
For those who liked the first two films, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 will not disappoint. It is a well crafted film, and begins to drive home the larger purpose of the series. The set pieces are powerful. The tension between characters is vivid. There is not as much action as the previous films, but I never felt bored. The final movie will contain enough action for both. It was not a perfect movie, but I walked away satisfied. Ultimately, I wish the movie was not split, but I will be in theaters for Part 2 alongside everyone else.