Review: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1’ – the beginning of the end


Mockingjay Pt. 1 is looking to open to a $130 million box office start, the most in 2014. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence as well as Josh Hutcherson.

Tristan Baez, Writer

Following the intense cliff-hanger in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” the highly anticipated third film in the “Hunger Games” franchise looks to open to a  $130 million weekend. Based on Suzanne Collins’ third book, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” could open to mediocrity — no thanks to greedy executives splitting the final book.

Reprising her role as Katniss Everdeen, Jennifer Lawrence is joined by Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark), the late Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch Heavensbee), Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne) and Julianne Moore (President Alma Coin). Katniss and the rebellion look to find a way to unite all of the districts to fight against President Snow (Donald Sutherland), while looking to save her love, Peeta.

Three films deep, most of the beloved characters have been established, so the film jumps in right where “Catching Fire” left off – a fast, blazing start. Unfortunately, most of the film cannot keep up the pace.

A popular trend is happening in Hollywood: splitting the final book of a popular franchise into two films. Examples include “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” and “Twilight: Breaking Dawn” and these work because of their long and immense finales. “Mockingjay,” on the other hand, happens to be the shortest of the three part series. The splitting of the book ultimately leads to a watered down, uneventful film.

Throughout the film, it feels as if things are just happening with neither direction or purpose. With the exception of some quick intense action scenes, most of the film seems blasé and its only purpose is setting up the next chapter in the franchise instead of focusing on itself as a film of its own. Thus, leading to a partially boring experience.

Continuing the trend of darkening each film, this is easily the darkest film in the series yet. Taking an identity of a political oppression and a dystopian world, the main plot centers on the relationships rather than the rebellion itself. Dark and gritty, relationships are the only foundation of this film, held together by the tremendous acting from all parts, leading to tense moments and the showing of great on-screen chemistry.

While not having major narrative flaws, a long drawn-out story keeps the film from standing out in the crowd, leaving you wanting part 2 right as it finishes. Overall, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” is simply just alright. Remember, “this is the start of how it all ends,” so look for the (hopefully epic) finale Nov. 20, 2015.

Final Verdict: 7.5/10