Mockingjay Movie Review

Mockingjay Movie Review

Brandon Brown, Junior Staff Writer

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is the third installment in the popular Hunger Games movie series; the last book in the series will be split into two movies, with the latter coming out next November. This film is directed by Francis Lawrence, who also directed the last movie in the series, Catching Fire. Lawrence is a good fit as director, definitely stepping up Mockingjay and Catching Fire’s production value due to his efforts. Mockingjay also boasts a great cast, starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, just to name a few.

Mockingjay picks up right where Catching Fire left off. In this film we find an emotionally distraught Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) who has been displaced from her home in District 12 and finds herself in underground District 13. Here, she must become “The Mockingjay,” a symbol of the rebellion against the oppressive Capitol. Katniss must come to understand the power her new position has on the rebels, while still fighting her own battles. Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) has been captured by the Capitol while Gale (Liam Hemsworth) resides in District 13 with Katniss, further playing on the love triangle in the series. As the film progresses, Katniss journeys to different districts in Panem to give hope and inspiration to the rebels and sometimes finds herself in the middle of battles.

The film presents an interesting look into the use of propaganda, which serves as a major plot line of the film, and deemphasizes hand-to-hand combat that is going on around our main characters. The film definitely ends abruptly, so it will be very hard to wait for Part 2 of the film.

I found the movie very true to the novel source of Mockingjay. With the last book being split into two movies, more of the details were able to be kept in the movie than there would have been with a single release. The movie and book take the reader/viewer on an emotional journey, with many moving and inspiring moments that I feel were extraordinarily directed, acted and musically reinforced. All this combined managed to give me chills several times throughout, and this emotion was a pleasant surprise.

As mentioned before, the musical score carries the viewer through ups and downs. In certain scenes with no dialogue the music speaks for itself and becomes its own character. The main theme song, “The Hanging Tree,” was written by James Newton Howard, as is featured in this film as well. As the soundtrack’s curator, Lorde recruited Grace Jones, Duran Duran’s main vocalist and many others including Ariana Grande and Kayne West.

This movie sets up the viewer for the grand finale which will be Part 2 of Mockingjay and does this well through a very interesting ending. This is not your typical sequel repeating a plot line, but really tops Catching Fire in its translation to the big screen. I can’t wait for next November for Mockingjay – Part 2!