coming of age, hunger games, mockingjay, katniss, peeta

HungerGames: Mockingjay P1

This film carries on of course from Catching Fire. We start with Katness Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Finnick Odair (Sam Clafin) now in the hands of the rebels of district 13 as they try to cope with the horrors they suffered in the hunger games and the fact that their loved ones have been captured by the Capital. Not knowing how President Snow (Donald Sutherland) would be treating them or if they were even alive. Katness becomes the face of the new rebellion as the Mockingjay making a series of propaganda films to be broadcast across the districts to keep the fire burning against the Capital. Such as showing all the districts how district 12 was reduced to nothing but ashes after the tributes escaped the hunger games. Leaving just a few hundred alive who managed to escape into the woods from 10 thousand who once lived there.

However the Capital has its own ideas and their own ‘mockingjay’ to use in the guise of Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). Peeta is used as their tool, trying to regain control, and to convince Katness of the need to stop helping. As the propos continue you see just how badly Peeta is being treated as he becomes a frail, hurting, sunken eyed young man. While the Capital bomb the districts, murder anyone who has any contact with the Mockingjay. Leading the rebellion to do everything they can to rescue Peeta and the other tributes.

This for me was a visually stunning film, well characterized, suffering only from what I would call the ‘extend trend’. As we well know Harry Potter started this, it continued with Twilight and so on. Using the final book of a series and splitting it into two movies to give your franchise a longer run. Great for merchandising, and for the studio, much more money to be made. However, a book is meant to run from start to finish, not be paused part way. So the ending instead of being ‘WOW, what a film!’, falls rather flat. Leaving the viewer with a gloomy outlook on what they have seen. In many places there are padding scenes that a good editor should have removed you can tell have just been placed there to give a longer running time. There is no reason why the film could not have been longer, and completed the full storyline. After all if people will sit through over 3 hours per Lord Of The Rings movie, there is no reason why they couldn’t here. The ending just does not do any favours for what is otherwise a wonderful movie. I would suggest if you haven’t seen it yet, wait until Part two comes out and watch both together as I am sure that will greatly improve the viewing experience.

to see the trailer click here

Sarah Beth James

@wickedwitchgal

first published on thecinemarks.com