Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.
By Elizabeth Brenner
Walking into Mockingjay Part 1, I did not expect the odds to be in my favor as I have never had a good experience with two-part movies. However, Director Francis Lawrence did a fantastic job with giving the movie a clear beginning, middle and ending and not a beginning, middle and cliffhanger. Before you continue reading, let this serve as a spoiler alert!
The movie starts with Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist, hiding in a tunnel in District 13, apparently suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, rocking back and forth repeating a mantra that is featured in the book. However, this is really the only time we see her suffering from PTSD opposed to her just being horrified at what the Capital has done.
Although the movie follows the book very well, some scenes are in a different order than they are in the book and some are omitted completely, at least for now. For example, Katniss’s prep team has yet to appear in the movie despite being in the book. It is not clear if they will show up in Part 2. There are also scenes in the movie that were not featured in the book.
Mockingjay Part 1 ended in a good place, without much of a cliffhanger. Even though the ending was not very memorable, I felt satisfied with the movie as I walked out of the theater. Perhaps more books-turned-to-movies should have the writer of the book assist on the screenplay as The Hunger Games Trilogy has done.
The standout actor in my opinion was Josh Hutcherson, who showed an amazing progression from a seemingly healthy Victor on Capital TV to a malnourished, tortured, brainwashed and disturbed Victor, hellbent on killing Katniss.
Jennifer Lawrence did a fantastic job as Katniss. She also has a very good voice which can be now be heard on Youtube as she sings “The Hanging Tree,” a song from the movie.
Liam Hemsworth was heartbreaking as Gale. He didn’t have very many lines, but he was very good at reacting in the scenes with facial expressions. I wanted to give him a hug and say “It’s okay if Katniss doesn’t love you-I will!”
Haymich, played by Woody Harrelson, was just as hysterical sober as he is drunk. Elizabeth Banks did a great job playing Effie Trinkett, a martyr Capital detainee (but not actually a prisoner).
Primrose, played by Willow Shields, did a great job being an innocent young girl. Watching her young innocence will be hard for any who have read the books.
Natalie Dormer plays Filmmaker Cressida, whose job it was to direct Katniss’s propaganda pieces, and did a great job of playing that part. In interviews, Dormer stated that there were times she ad-libbed lines.
The mix of action and heartfelt scenes proved to be a good mix. Mockingjay Part 1 is indeed better than the previous two Hunger Games movies. I give this movie 5 stars and I highly suggest it.
If any decide to take my advice and go see the movie, stay after the credits for a nice piece of Mockingjay animation.