The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 | Broader, nuanced but a bit long

Based on the third installment of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games book series. Mockingjay – Part 1 if the first half of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) last adventures.

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Premise: After Katniss Everdeen shattered the games forever, Katniss must fight against all odds and save a nation moved by her courage.

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Review: Mockingjay really came anew because everything in the movie is new to us. There are layers upon layers on every aspect of the movie, I’m not just talking about the photography but also with the performances.

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Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) comes in her place as a leader in the film. It’s slow but Jennifer Lawrence conveyed Katniss’ growing confidence with atouching sensitivity. She brought a real nuance and depth to Katniss and took control on the impact Katniss has on the rebellion. Jennifer could play the role in her sleep, and sometime it felt like she was, the performance was not flawless but it was very good. Her performance goes in depth as the viewers go deeper into the story.

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President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and Katniss’ relationship is interesting, and in each scene they have together you easily read what’s going on. They both don’t trust each other and they’re fighting for a form of control. Moore brought to the silver screen the strength, in Alma Coin, that transpired from the books and gave a memorable performance.

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Finally Katniss and Gale’s (liam Hemsworth) relationship is develop in this movie. They’ve drawn on the rich history between the two characters and explored how it evolved. They’ve started being each other’s person in the first film, they understood each other. But now Katniss went through two games and things have changed. The change in their relationship started in the second movie but now it’s full on.

Katniss and Gale are both adjusting to district 13 but also to each other. It is different from the books though, because I did not have the impression that Gale stood a chance of being with Katniss in that film but it is just the first part of the movie so maybe it will be more obvious later. In my opinion they shouldn’t, they were right to down play it, the movie is a lot better that way.

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 Liam Hemsworth did an amazing job with Gale, maybe a better job than what we’ve seen in the other movies. You can see how he evolved, how Gale is ready to fight and is completely invested in the rebellion with any means necessary. We see more of him, more of Gale without Katniss, the wedge between them is subtle but there.

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We also get to see more of Primrose (Willow Shields) and like Katniss she’s coming into her inner “warrior”. She’s no longer the frightened little girl we’ve seen in the past movies, it’s only glimpses but it’s there. There’s very little room for her to grow in this movie, which is sad because giving what’s to happen we should have seen more of her, so we get to really connect with her as a character and not connect with her through Katniss.

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Turns out Peeta (Josh hutcherson) is more present in this movie that I would have imagined and even when he’s not on screen there are reminders of him. For once I am completely sold with Josh Hutcherson’s performance he really went for it in this movie. I can’t wait to see what’s to come.

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Adding Effie (Elizabeth Banks) in district thirteen was an interested bit of the movie. She’s out of her element but she kept her individuality. It’s obvious in her clothes, she’s the only one working to make district 13 standard wardrobe her own. Effie added a little bit of sass, shallowness, and obviously fashion to district 13. I just loved how she looked at Coin, when they first meet, it’s a priceless moment.

As much as Effie added the sass, Haymitch came with the comedy, the film was starting to get heavy before he came in. Woody Harrelson brought a lightness and grounded the movie. The writers have even thrown in a spark between him and someone else.

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Among the new addition in this movie, the capitol rebels bring an interesting point of view of the Capitol. They’re showing another side of the capitol residents because they are not, in their behavior, like what we’ve seen before. They might be a little eccentric but they’re much more down to earth. 

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District 13 is a character of its own it was much more about the entity than the people in it. The cafeteria looks like a prison, well the whole place looks like a prison, which is maybe one of the boring elements of the movie.

The district 13 inhabitants are one of the oddest additions in the movie, so far they’re extras, really angry extras, for the story purposes it was smart but for people who have always lived underground I did not expect any of them to be so angry. I mean they had to live through some pretty hard stuff, epidemics and living underground for 75 years old. But they did not have to send their kids sent to the reaping and the the Hunger Games, they were not particularly starving so those angry extras kind threw me off a bit. Why are they angry? because they were prison clothes and basically live in a dictatorship?

They arevery much on the opposite end compared to what we’ve seen of the Capitol but the people already feel like they’re the same. They are ordered but also warriors. There’s a ruthlessness about them that makes them as dangerous as the Capitol people are, maybe even more so. Unlike the Capitol residents, people in district 13 know what they’re doing but they feel righteous about it whereas in the capitol it was entertainment. I am really excited to see more of that in Part 2.

The District 13 propos are probably the thing I expected to see when the first trailers came out and we did. In parts, because they are integrated with Katniss’ actions. So it’s much about putting a nuance between them and the capitol and I think it also illustrate my point on the people from D13 because they loved it so much. 

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An interesting underlying relationship in the movie, is Katniss and President Snow (Donald Sutherland). They’re on opposite ends of a crisis but story created this relationship between them that oozes respect. Snow may want to crush the rebellion but Sutherland clearly infused a form of admiration for Katniss in his portrayal of President Snow. They’re playing, mind games, a game of chess, where the more experience player may have found a worthy adversary.  

The little details added the final touch to the movie, like Snow’s granddaughter undoing her Katniss-like braid, it helped set the tone Sutherland’s on screen presence brought. Effie’s chipped nail polish showing how D13 was different from the Capitol and countless other small details that brought this movie together.

The film is really about a fracture, change, how the games and the blooming rebellion impacted the different relationships and how it’s affecting the new ones. Francis Lawrence showed once again that he can directed a smart action-pack movie. It took the story to new heights, the stakes are high and Lawrence put the bar a little higher with this movie. He grounded the movie, broadened the scope and made this crazy world resonate with people.

A good tagline summing up the movie would be: “It only takes one to change things.” I’ve voiced my opinion and now it’s your turn, What do you think of part 1? Gale and Katniss? Coin? The districts? Comment in the section below or tweet @wornoutspines

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4 thoughts on “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 | Broader, nuanced but a bit long

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