Mockingjay Part One: A Film Review

    image courtesy of imdb.com
    Image via IMDb.

    The latest installment of The Hunger Games trilogy has finally entered the theaters — although that hardly needs an announcement considering the enormous amount of anticipation behind the film. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has escaped the Quarter Quell (the 75th Hunger Games) and is now in District 13 (a district that the Capitol supposedly destroyed in the first rebellion). President Coin (Julianne Moore) urges Katniss to become the face of the new rebellion as the “Mockingjay,” an idea to which Katniss reluctantly agrees. Her stipulation to Coin is that she must rescue the captured victors Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), Johanna Mason (Jena Malone), and Annie Cresta (Stef Dawson) from the Capitol.

    The film is, overall, faithful to the novel. Yet, in the film adaptation, the romance between Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Katniss takes a backseat to the rebellion. Katniss and Gale’s relationship was hardly the focus of the third novel; and, in the movie, it is even less prominent. This acts almost as a double-edged sword for the film, so to speak. The lack of romance stays true to the more important themes of the novel, which are war, rebellion, and tyranny. However, I believe that the relationship would have added more to the plot and made Gale seem more important and relative to the storyline.

    Simultaneously, this movie is one in which nothing much happens, yet quite a bit does. Taking after many other famous commercial franchises, (i.e. Harry Potter and Twilight), The Hunger Games has split its final installment into two parts. Splitting the film is a classic, greedy film industry mistake. The movie lacks a definitive story arc because the end of the film is in actuality the middle of the plot. Splitting the film into two parts allows for more revenue on the part of the filmmakers, but it sacrifices the artistic integrity of the film. Although this novel can be split into two parts better than others (I’m looking at you Harry Potter), there is simply not enough plot to spread over two whole movies.

    The film also lacks a smooth beginning. There isn’t much of an introduction, and it relies heavily on the audience’s previous knowledge of the story. Luckily, the story is not exactly overly complex, but it can be confusing at times because of the lack of context.

    The end of the film, however, is beyond phenomenal. The final shot parallels the end of the second film, Catching Fire. It is utterly bone-chilling and provides Josh Hutcherson with the means to finally prove himself in his casting for Peeta. Lawrence outshines her romantic counterparts in acting, but Hemsworth can admittedly plead innocence because his character does not play as large a role, and Hutcherson has at last done Peeta some justice.

    Mockinjay is particularly moving in today’s society — and not because of some phenomenal acting, of which their was plenty, or well done cinematography or the magic of CGI. What makes this film so monumental is its theme of rebellion. In today’s society, with atrocities like Ferguson occurring right under our noses, it is easier to see the importance and value of rebellion against injustice. After all, the best fictional universes are reflections of our own. That statement hardly implies that the modern age is some pseudo-Panem, but rather that The Hunger Games reminds us how powerful people can be should they choose to band together and enact change.

    In her spare time, when she’s not crying over her love for Mr. Darcy, Tracey Thompson watches a lot of films. She decided to put her favorite pastime to use. As Germ’s film reviewer, she’s taking her opinions of the silver screen, and posting them on the little thing known as the interweb. In the meantime, if you ever have a yearning to talk about Wes Anderson, French New Wave, Alex Turner’s hair, or all things Salinger, you can reach her at tracey@germmagazine.com.

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