Lawrence shines in ‘Mockingjay, Part 1’

By Michael Torres

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1,” directed by Francis Lawrence, is the much anticipated movie of the season and the first half of Suzanne Collins’ final book in the trilogy.

Like most two-part film adaptations, such as “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” and “Breaking Dawn,” “Mockingjay, Part 1” lacks any sort of prevalent action, and focuses on building suspense in the plot for the second part.

The film takes place shortly after the Quarter Quell and the eradication of District 12 by order of President Snow (Donald Sutherland). It begins with a gloomy scene where Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is awakened by a nightmare, fueled by fear from the last games.

At the end of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” the Capitol was able to capture Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and Johanna Mason (Jena Malone). In “Mockingjay: Part 1,” President Snow has captured another past victor and the love interest of Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin), Annie Cresta (Stef Dawson).

Since the Quarter Quell, the Mockingjay rebellion in the Districts of Panem has begun to gain momentum. Seeing this opportunity arise, Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), president of District 13, enlists Katniss’s help to be the symbol of the rebellion.

Reluctant at first, Katniss is unsure about being involved with the rebellion until she sees in a broadcast interview from the Capitol that Peeta is still alive. The audience later learns that Peeta is being forced by the Capitol to be their symbol to end the rebellion.

In exchange for pardoning and rescuing the captured victors, Katniss agrees to be the face of the rebellion. The rescue becomes a major part of the plot towards the end of the movie.

A majority of the film is set around the concept of creating propaganda materials for the rebellion. The most memorable and action packed scene occurs in District 8, after President Snow spots Katniss and orders a bombing at the hospital she had visited.

Since the bulk of the movie has scenes that focus on building the rebellion, there were many times throughout the film that it dragged. It is obvious that many scenes were placed as fillers to help extend the length of the movie.

While it is apparent that this two-part film could have easily been made into one, Academy Award-winner Lawrence’s acting and presence is a delight to watch. Her portrayal of Katniss inspires audiences and makes them believers in the Mockingjay rebellion.

The costume and make-up effects are also quite notable in this film. In each scene with Peeta Mellark, the make-up effects create the illusion of death as he becomes thinner and pale.

The film concludes shortly after Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) and a special rescue team returns from the Capitol with the captured victors that were being held at the tribute center.

Audiences are left in the midst of war and uncertain about the future of Panem.

The film is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material.

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” is in theaters now.

2.5/5 Stars

Mockingjay Part 1

Courtesy Lionsgate Films

Mockingjay Part 1

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