Courtesy of Lionsgate Films

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1

03:03 November 24, 2014
By: David Vicari

It seems unfair to review Mockingjay – Part 1, because, as the title states, it is Part 1. The final scene cuts off rather than give the viewer an actual conclusion to this particular film. We have to wait an entire year to see Part 2. I suspect that Parts 1 and 2 should be seen as one complete movie to be fully appreciated. I'm actually tired of the final installment of books-to-movie versions being split in two. However, The Hunger Games films are much better than the drab Harry Potter films, and far superior to the stink-a-rino Twilight series.

This, the third in The Hunger Games series, is a tension builder and less of an action film. Clearly, the big action set pieces are reserved for Part 2. In the previous installment, Catching Fire, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) seemingly puts an end to the televised battle-to-the-death games she has been forced to participate in. Now, she is seen as a symbol of hope in the totalitarian society that she inhabits. Leader of the rebel forces, Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and game creator Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final role), convince Katniss to play the political propaganda game in an attempt to overthrow the evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland). In return for her service, Katniss wants Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and other tributes rescued from the Capital.

Director Francis Lawrence (Constantine, Water for Elephants) keeps things moving at a good clip, and unlike the Harry Potter movies, this actually feels cinematic and not like a dull stage reading of the book. Memorable moments in Mockingjay – Part 1 include Katniss' visit to the demolished District 12, and the bombing of the rebels bunker, which is nerve-rackingly intense.

Once again Jennifer Lawrence gives it her all. She holds the film together and is the main reason we are looking forward to Mockingjay – Part 2. That's star power for you.

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