The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is the third installement in a four feature franchise. Following Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) as she becomes the face of the rebellion against the brutal leaders of the Capitol in the fantasy world of Panam, Mockingjay – Part 1 gears up for the all-out battle to come in the final film. Lawrence is joined by return actors Liam Hemsworth as Gale, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and the lovable, always kooky Woody Harrelson as an adviser to Katniss. Joining these now well-known characters are two actors who bring an adult touch, and a slice of charm; Julianne Moore as the President of Disctrict 13 and, a man who is in all our hearts this year, and in his second to last film (Part 2 will be his final role), Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch.
Mockingjay – Part 1 has been generally well received and seems to have managed to cement itself as a serious picture. You can no longer call The Hunger Games children’s films, as it presents itself as not only wholly accessible for audiences of all ages, but one which features some truly tense, and shocking material. If you are expecting a war film with this offering, you won’t get it. What you will get is a think piece – a lead up to the battle ahead, with time for character development and plenty of opportunity to strengthen your hatred for Donald Sutherland’s Coriolanus Snow. At 123 minutes the film’s length is judged well, and at no point do you find yourself clock watching, we are even entertained by a musical juncture from Lawrence who shows us all what a talent she really is.
Accepting the fact that this is fantasy through and through, the slightly cheesy components these films encompass can certainly be forgiven. With less bizarre haircuts and strange fashion sense, and more concentration on the world in which these characters now find themselves in definitely makes for a much more enjoyable watch. If you can ignore the fact that The Hunger Games is a more accessible version of Battle Royale, and don’t over-think the narrative too much, Mockingjay – Part 1 is a contemporary, fiery and well-directed piece of cinema. Francis Lawrence was brought in on Catching Fire which was clearly a clever choice – he has made what could potentially be a target for mocking and the butt of jokes a film of great success.
With a killer soundtrack, plenty of twists and just enough romance to keep those fan girls happy, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is most certainly not a disappointment.