Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1


The first two films were the appetizers, and now we move onto the main course. Does Part 1 of the final book deliver the goods?

Katniss is a revolutionary tool used for propaganda, but while the Capitol holds Peeta she can’t move forward. She must find a way to bring Peeta back and end President Snow’s reign of terror once and for all.

Jennifer Lawrence continues her blockbuster reign here with the third of four instalments in the phenomenally successful Hunger Games series. Once again she rocks an in control, but still vulnerable, heroine but this time she does so without the glamour of shooting arrows and constant fight scenes. Yes, gone are the Hunger Games themselves, the main killing events of the last two films. This time more focus is put on trauma caused by the events, her worry for Peeta and her introduction to the revolutionary outfit laying low in District 13. As the winner of a Best Actress Oscar Lawrence doesn’t disappoint, offering a believable array of frustration, despair and strength throughout which is far more than the Young Adult genre usually acquires. And it is this ability for Lawrence to keep Katniss not just believable but likeable that allows the film to be as good as it is.

The last film, Catching Fire, touched on the Capitol and its Districts political issues within the science fiction landscape. And Mockingjay Part 1 predictably takes this a step further. Propaganda and the way it’s portrayed to the public is scrutinized during video takes of Katniss holding a flag above her head and scenes like these are particularly well constructed with everyone having a say on what’ll be most convincing to persuade the public to revolt. This is intelligently done, with some comedy, and awkwardness by Katniss, and for the prime target market of young teens is a great subject matter away from the norm.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, who appears posthumously, particularly exceeds in these scenes as the media guru. He cuts through other people’s naïve opinions on how to portray Katniss and even makes the revolutions head, President Coin, into a more accessible speaker for the masses. Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta, also holds his own in the brief scenes he’s in which hasn’t exactly been the case up till now. He’s sure to leave you with at least one firm memory after the credits roll.

But hey, you can’t have everything. Action is rarely seen and only once (briefly) with Katniss involved. This leaves a disjointed film that jumps from problem to problem without managing to move the story forward at all. If you watched the series from start to finish but didn’t watch this you’d probably not notice, albeit for some missing character introductions. Seriously.

Mockingjay Part 1 is a film only let down by its original content, or rather the greed of splitting a well constructed book into two. Lawrence is on form and some political ideas are well founded but without story progression and action this seems a little hollow compared to Catching Fire.

Author: Matt, Cardiff store

For that true cinema feeling pop on down to your local store to see our big screen TVs and incredible prices on projectors