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November 30, 2023




‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1’ a good setup, lacking in action

December 5, 2014

The beginning of the end has begun for the “Hunger Games” trilogy in “Mockingjay - Part 1,” which creates a great setup for a finale but feels lacking in some departments.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has been through two Hunger Games now, and her final fight is on its way. After being taken to the mysterious District 13, she is now a part of the massive revolution to take down the Capital government and free the people of all the districts. But a revolution needs tending, and the people in charge of the revolution plan to make her the face.

Katniss, however, has reserves; she misses her friend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), who did not get taken with her, and she fears for his life in the Capital. Split between the revolution and her friend’s wellbeing, the leader of the Capital, President Snow (Donald Sutherland), has a few nasty tricks to pull on Everdeen to weaken her resolve. She will need to find a way to fix all these problems, all while trying to become the symbol the revolution deserves, the symbol that will change the world and feed the fires of revolt: the Mockingjay.

That’s about as much as I can say about “Mockingjay - Part 1,” and much of the film comes off as a prelude to a bigger conflict.

It does a good job at this overall with all of the usual aspects that have attracted fans to the films over the years: good acting, good direction, great use of music to set the mood.

All of that is still here in this film and it makes it clear that it’s not going away at all. But something felt different during this installation in the series that needs some talking about.

Some may already know what that problem is, and that’s the fact that its part one of two. I’m not implying that it’s bad because it didn’t continue, but that it suffers a little from being part one. Some reasons pop up for why a film is split into two parts, whether it is to make more money off of a film or because there is too much material to cover in a film rather than a book. Given what happens in the film, I’d say it was the latter reason, but audiences get a somewhat uneventful film as a result.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good things that are put into the film and its plot, from crafty political strategies and the idea of converting someone into a symbol to guide others, but “Mockingjay - Part 1” lacks much of the action that attracted us to the series. You won’t see much arrow-shooting or fighting going on in this movie. Sometimes that even betrays the audience in the climax of the movie, which seems to go for a guns blazing moment but fakes you out.

While it is certainly not a bad thing that it goes for the smarter, strategized approach with its plot it still feels like you’ve been served one half of a film, and no one wants to feel like they lost out on their trilogy. It makes me think that the film should have just combined parts one and two; audiences would have certainly seen a “Titanic”-long end to their trilogy.

Though my complaints go out mainly to how its one-halfness lessens the “Hunger Games” experience, I’d still say to go see “Mockingjay - Part 1,” because it still has the brains in its plot, it still has great performances by its actors, and it will rile you up for the grand finale that is soon to come.