THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1

★★★

RISE OF THE REVOLUTION

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Brent Davidson
16th November 2014

Following directly from the previous film, Katniss Everdeen has woken up in the strange surrounds of previously destroyed District 13 after escaping from the Quarter Quell, and is forced into a propaganda machine to work against The Capitol and the machinations of President Snow. Unsure if Peeta is alive, what to do or who to trust, she assumes the role of the Mockingjay and becomes the face of the revolution.

This is 'The Hunger Games' without the Games – and this could leave some viewers who haven’t read the books feeling shortchanged. An incredibly strong cast once again surrounds Jennifer Lawrence, in Katniss’ new fight against The Capitol. Julianne Moore is a perfect choice for the calculating President Coin, but it's unfortunate that Katniss, Peeta, and the other tributes - aren’t really given a scope to show how they have been affected by their second round in the Games.

SWITCH: 'THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1' TEASER TRAILER 3

Splitting the final installment in this series into two movies - which is unfortunately becoming quite a norm - seems like a relatively self-indulgent move. Being afforded the luxury of really fleshing out the story and giving the characters more time to develop is the best justification for such a move, not commercial gains, but this film seems to have succumbed to the latter. Sharp cuts and heavy-handed direction remove the pace that has made the other two movies so engaging. I honestly believe it would have been better as one fast, jam-packed two-and-a-half hour film, instead of what is looking like two two-and-a-half hour movies that take a bit too much time getting to the point. Having read the books, it would have been interesting to see exactly what happened to Peeta and the other tributes under The Capitol’s punishment; it feels like a missed opportunity. It will be argued that our imaginations can fill in the rest, but with how literal the rest of the film is, it is a surprising occlusion.

This is 'The Hunger Games' without the Games.

It’s not all bad, and reading this you can be forgiven for thinking I didn’t have an enjoyable time – I truly did. It's just the fan base out there who crave so much from this franchise might be left wanting. The action sequences are fantastic, the comedy appears at just the right times and ensures the film isn't dragged down by pathos, and the scenes from the other Districts where the rebellion is taking place are moving. I found myself wondering about these people; so desperate for change they are willing to throw everything at achieving it. Hopefully it will help in creating an empathic shift to the way we view some of the events that are happening in our own world now.

Fans will rejoice in seeing their favourite characters back for this installment of 'The Hunger Games’ series. The film holds all of the hallmarks of an action blockbuster with a strong message – 'Mockingjay' is sure to start a box-office revolution.

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