When The Hunger Games first came out, I said eh, I’m not the target audience, a teeny bopper version of Stone Cold and The Condemned? Not interested. When Catching Fire came out I said, well what the hell, I’ll give it a try. And the moment that film cuts out with Jennifer Lawrence staring at the camera, I was screaming for more. I had finally watched the first one right before, and felt a little eh about it. But Catching Fire hooked me in. I have been ready and waiting for this two part finale! But what was it going to be for me, another hit like the 2nd, or back to the first? Well, I’ll tell ya, it was, slow.
Mockingjay Part 1 is once again directed by Francis Lawrence who took over for Gary Ross after the first installment, and brings back Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Little Thor (Liam Hemsworth) Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, and Sam Claflin, along with adding in Julianne Moore. The film continues the story of Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) a reluctant symbol of a massive rebellion after surviving not one, but two years of the dreaded and deadly Hunger Games. Can she ignite the nation and lead them against the Capitol? And what about Peta? Has he really turned his back and does he really believes in the Capitol? Can Katniss save him, and the other victors?
The film is good, the problem is this trend of splitting the third books into 2 films. Twilight, Harry freaking Potter, thanks a lot. While Mockingjay is the shortest of the 3 Hunger Games books, it really hurts the film to split it. After Catching Fire I was really hyped and ready to see Katniss kick a lot of @$$, but sadly, the scene they have promoted so much I the trailers of her shooting down the jet with an arrow (which is much more believable within the context of the film) is really the only scene of action in the entire film. This installment plays out like a propaganda war. With the Rebels using Katniss to film commercials and videos, and the Capitol using Peta, trying to convince the districts whose side to be back. There is a lot of story and exposition and it is all set to build up to the next film. Perhaps I would have liked it more had I been able to watch Part 1 and part back to back rather than wait an entire year.
But with all that like I said, it’s not a bad film, just not what I was expecting. I was all set for the action and not ready for the story. The story seems like it’s going to be great once the back half plays out, it just seems a little stale by itself, however it is well played out. The characters, while a lot of them, are all acted incredibly. Lawrence shows us once again how incredible she really is. Claflin returning as Finnick is given so much more heart and emotion. I even really liked Little Thor, who in the past when given major roles has kind of come out short. And while the film can be very slow and drag at times, it honestly set you up and get ready for next year when Part 2 arrives. It is the journey that makes the film so fun.
Being someone who hasn’t read any of the books, I was a little lost not knowing how Mockingjay played out, my buddy assured me it was exactly how he had envisioned it and that Part 2 was really set up beautifully. So while Mockingjay Part 1 may not have played out how I expected it, I still call it a Good time at the theater, with a Jeebus score of 4.3.