The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 had kids across America heading to movie theaters in droves, excited to see the third installment of the franchise. Directed by Francis Lawrence, Mockingjay Part 1 rejoins us with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and the rebellion. When Katniss destroys the games, she goes to District 13 and finds out District 12 has been obliterated. After meeting President Coin and is persuaded to be the new Mockingjay, only after a pardon is guaranteed for the former tributes and Peeta is rescued. She has some familiar faces by her side after she agrees to be the Mockingjay. Those include: Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and Effie (Elizabeth Banks) to name a few.
Followers of the book seemed pleased with the film. I’ve been following the franchise closely film by film, speaking with book enthusiasts after each film. The vast majority have been pleased with how the movies have followed the book.
It was good to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman on-screen since his passing. His role wasn’t major but it was still nice to see. There was lots of crying by Katniss in this movie to the point where it was extraneous. Every time she went to the cafeteria and look at the TV screens you could feel tears coming. I also couldn’t help but notice the similarities to the Twilight films in this movie: Both have young girls, who fall in love with guy #1, end up meeting guy #2, haphazardly fall in love with guy #2 in the process, eventually choose one guy but as opposed to letting the other one go they string him along with them. There was “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob,” now social media is laced with “Team Peeta” and “Team Gale.”
While I enjoyed the film and it had its share of action, the beginning is very slow, and you’ll notice between the start of the movie and the end, not too many things happened. It really feels like the movie’s sole purpose is to prep you and get you ready for Mockingjay Part 2. If you’re a fan of the franchise you’ll still enjoy it but when you watch, you’ll see what I’m talking about. At 2hrs and 2 minutes you can catch a late-showing without worry of drowsiness as the massive explosions should keep you awake. I can give this an 8.5 out of 10. It’s caught flack for being labeled a “setup movie” (like what I explained about this one prepping you for the next movie) and critics have questioned its success, scoffing at its paltry $50 million opening day earnings (Hunger Games did $67M, Catching Fire did $70M). But its a solid film and you should definitely see it if you’re a fan. If you haven’t seen the first two then you’ll be pretty lost and should at the very least, watch Catching Fire first.