Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mockingjay Part 1 | A review (NO SPOILIERS)

Mockingjay Part 1 came out in UK cinemas last night, and me and two of my friends braved the cold weather to go and see the first midnight showing. After barely blinking throughout the entire two hours it was on, I thought that it might be worth writing up a review.

For those who have yet to see the film, or those who have not even read the books, I won't include any massive spoilers because that's just unfair. But I would definitely read the books if you can, because as with every film adaptation, although the Hunger Games trilogy has always lived up reasonably well to the standards of the books, there are always small components missing that are normally very vital to the storyline. 

Unlike The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, Mockingjay is the only one not to be set in some sort of physical games. However, this one steps it up a notch as President Snow (Donald Sutherland) starts to play mind games rather than placing Tributes into an arena.

The main differences between Mockingjay Part 1 and the other two parts of this franchise is the significant lack of main storyline or intense action. Although Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has been known in the last two films for her 'heroic' action sequences, Mockingjay Part 1 lacks this oompf in terms of intense action. Having said that, there are a few scenes with a flicker of this action, such as when Katniss is put into District 8 with Gale (Liam Hemsworth), or some of the more intense scenes with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). Yet, I can't help thinking to myself that there seems to be something missing in terms of the darting, daring, and dangerous action that comes from the first two instalments.


What it lacks in action, it sure does make up for in terms of emotion and intensity. The scenes involving President Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman) really draw you in as a viewer. Then just as you think you have gotten away without feeling any sort of emotion towards a character, Finnick (Sam Claflin) and Effie (Elizabeth Banks) go straight in with the feels. Then, to make things considerably worse, after Beetee (Jeffrey Wright) tries to infiltrate the Capitol's broadcasting system to interrupt Caesar's (Stanley Tucci) interview with Peeta, the emotion starts to really hit hard. Yet this all draws you back to their massive planning of the take-down of the Capitol and the overthrowing of Panem.


President Snow's warning of "it's the things we love most that destroy us" seems to be the main message delivered on both District 13 and the Capitol's parts throughout the film. Katniss seems to be the weapon to use against Snow and to aid the uprising, whilst Peeta is seemingly being forced to become a weapon to entice Katniss. But what will really happen if the two ever meet face-to-face again?

Fire is how with the Girl on Fire react?


No Hunger Games movie is complete without a little shy comedy. This otherwise serious film is pin-pricked with tiny ounces of laughable moments. Mainly coming from Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) as per usual. Look out for these tiny specks floating between a lot of serious business. 

One moment that sticks in my mind from the film is Jennifer Lawrence singing The Hanging Tree. I was quite sceptical about how this would turn out. When you read the book you come up with a tune in your head and that's how you imagine it would be, and then everything else seems to be a disappointment. But I was proved wrong. The song is haunting, yet provides everything you needed from a cinematic depiction of such a meaningful song - especially when it moved from Katniss singing on her own, to the rebels uniting with this song. Still sends chills down my spine.

If you have read the Hunger Games trilogy you will know what to expect from Mockingjay, and what is missing from the books. Mockingjay Part 1, although incredibly good as a stand-alone film, significantly misses a main storyline. The ending to this film will leave viewers on the edge of their seat having to wait another 365 days for the final movie. Is this really a cliffhanger? Is it teasing? It's possible that Mockingjay would have faired better as one major film rather than two separate instalments. Yet, I am not sure how I would feel about a 4 hour film considering Part 1 lasted 2 hours. 

Despite all these little tiny details, I actually thought the film was not too bad. I think the thing that really made this film was the portrayal of the scenes. District 12 was definitely one of the best scenes throughout the entire film, with some amazing settings and effects, it really does create a haunting image. I was also quite impressed with how District 13 came to be. Slightly missing some of the aspects I imagined whilst reading the book, but not a bad depiction all the same. 

Overall, straight after viewing Mockingjay Part 1 seems incredibly flawless, but upon reflection those cracks start to show a bit more. However, I would definitely recommend going to see it. As a Hunger Games fan, I was happy with the outcome, yet possibly slightly disappointed in having to wait another year for the ending to be shown on the big screen. 

What will Katniss do when she realises she might have just become a pawn in her own game?


Keep swimming! 


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