Review: Mockingjay Part 1

Four Eyes Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (Spoilers)

By: Dave Clark & Jenny Robinson

Dave's Review:

I'll admit, before reading the first book (which I read before knowing they'd be made into films) I was skeptical that I'd enjoy another book which was primarily aimed at young adults. Way back in the day, I attempted to read a book with a pair of hands holding an apple on the cover. In this case I judged the book by its cover, assuming that it would be interesting and something different in the vampire world. I was right about it being different. I couldn't get halfway through Twilight without wanting to vomit. Being a big fan of strong female characters (BUFFY) I was embarrassed that the main character of Twilight was so weak. But I digress. I gave The Hunger Games a shot and I'm so glad I did. I loved these books, the final book being my favorite so you can imagine my eagerness to see these last two films.

Up to this point I've enjoyed the cinematic world of The Hunger Games. The acting has been great, the action and the drama has been spot on and the music has always lent itself to the emotions of the moments. Going into the final chapter of the series I had some apprehension. I mean, to be honest, the first half of Mockingjay was incredible slow and boring, in my humble opinion. It wasn't until the rescue mission of the Victors, did I feel the book finally picked up its pace and hooked me straight till the end of the novel. So going into the first part of the finale I figured it might be slow paced and a little boring. I was wrong.

Mockingjay: Part 1 was part political drama and part action film mixed with an emotional love story and well timed humor. Woody Harrelson once again shines in his role as Haymitch...albeit a sober version of his character. I love everything Jennifer Lawrence does, but in this film she really flexed her acting skills in the dramatic realm of having to deal with the near deaths of two people she loves but is unsure in what way. She had to portray the love and caring for her mother and sister, making them pivotal people in her life, when in all honesty we haven't seen much of them up to this point in the films. The tension of the rescue mission for the Victors was brilliant, as was the way it was edited and paced out. And finally we had to endure watching Peeta get broken down over and over throughout the movie, seemingly turning against the love of his life and against the rebellion.

Having read the books, I knew what to expect but I didn't have a good idea of where they might end this movie and where they'd pick it up for the final part. The last moments of this film are as haunting and moving as anything they've attempted to do to this point in the series. Seeing the state of Peeta, knowing the game Alma Coin has been playing the whole time, and having the knowledge of what's to come for our beloved characters made it almost unbearable to wait for the final installment. I enjoyed Mockingjay: Part 1 and would totally recommend the entire series to anyone.

Jenny's Review:

I had to wait a week before writing my review. It was one of those situations where I felt that I hyped the movie up too much and would automatically claim to have loved it. I wanted to be sure.

Book 3 of the Hunger Games may not be everyone’s favorite but it was mine and I had expectations that had to be met.

The book starts out a bit slow. A lot of propaganda and new characters. I was concerned that the movie may drag a bit as well. Don’t get me wrong, it did not sway me from being excited though.

I had nothing to worry about.

I feel that the movie actually portrayed the book better on screen. (I never thought I would say that! The movie is better than the book?!?) Jennifer Lawrence has such a way of displaying empathy that expressions show it all. She is scared and damaged yet determined.

There was no “high” point in this movie in regards to cheering for our fighters. Even victories (no matter the size) were so overlaid with sorrow that it was an emotionally charged movie.

The best scenes in my honest opinion were when Katniss and the crew were out within the districts. The force of the people that take action against the Capital gave the audience hope, despite the losses. They did a great job with the various districts and their unwavering purpose.

I am not sure how they will fit the balance of the book into “Part 2” since there is still A LOT to tackle. But I love how they split the book for this first part.

Above all (and I will say it again) this one was truly emotionally charged. It leaves the audience feeling the struggle but the importance of the fight. This flick does what all people want movies to do… to watch and feel something; excitement, sorrow, happiness, fear, etc. Thumbs up.

And because it was one of my favorite's Jennifer Lawrence singing The Hanging Tree...sort of:

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Jeffrey Wright, Donald Sutherland, Jena Malone, Natalie Dormer, Sam Claflin, Stanley Tucci, Robert Knepper, Willow Shields, Meta Golding, Paula Malcomson, Evan Ross, Gwendoline Christie, Patina Miller, Mahershala Ali, Wes Chatham, Elden Henson, Stef Dawson, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.