Cinematic Releases: The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 1

The awaited The Hunger Games sequel, Mockingjay Part 1 was released tonight. Here's our review.

"This is for the leaked photos, pal."
Katniss Everdeen is back in the third cinematic installment of The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay Part 1. A favorite doomsday heroine in Young Adult lit, Katniss is once again brought to life by Jennifer Lawrence, vibrantly and authentically, on the big screen. As a fan of the book series first and foremost, I watch the films with a critical eye toward adaptation. The Hunger Games impressed me, and Catching Fire even more so. I was anxious to see if Mockingjay Part 1 would keep up the momentum.

Within the first few scenes it was apparent that Mockingjay is simply a different kind of movie. The excitement and action we were left with in Catching Fire loses some steam in this continuation of  Panem's strife toward freedom. Picking up after the Quarter Quells, with Katniss and Gale in District 13 and Peeta at the Capital, it's a slower, quieter film. However, what it lacks in turbulence and exhilaration it somewhat makes up for in emotion, with a few particularly impassioned, signature Katniss scenes - you the know the ones - when she moves the masses to action and dissent. 
"My name is Simon and I like to
do draaaawings."

While Katniss predictably steals the show, Julianne Moore (as President Coin), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch Heavensbee), Woody Harrelson (Haymitch), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta), and Liam Hemsworth (Gale) contribute, in their quiet, unobtrusive ways, to its success as well. Everyone is more subdued in this round, but they play their roles well, and are perhaps biding their time for a smashing conclusion.

It should come as no surprise that Mockingjay Part 1 is, more than anything, a vehicle leading up to  Part 2 and the (hopefully) sensational conclusion of the trilogy. Audiences expecting a little more zing might be disappointed, but fans will understand that the slower bits are part of the process and an important component of the Hunger Games chronicle as a whole.

-Alysia George