Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) shot an arrow that brought down the capital’s network, and is now being sheltered in District 13. She has been split up from her partner in the Hunger Games, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and wants to know where he is. The President of district 13 is Alma Coin. (Julianne Moore) Plutarch Havensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) recommends to Coin that Katniss be named the Mockingjay, the symbol of the revolution. Katniss resists at first, but after visits to see the destruction wrought by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) in District 12, and District 8, including the bombing of a hospital, Katniss is willing to make propaganda films for the rebels. At the same time, Katniss sees a video showing Peeta working for the government making propaganda films. She wants to rescue Peeta, but President Coin is hesitant.
One of the propaganda films Katniss is making features Katniss singing a song called “The Hunger Tree,” and that song becomes an anthem for rebels in District 5, who sing the song while destroying a hydroelectric plant. With the plant destroyed, power to the capital is cut off and the rebels have a chance to rescue Peeta, and a few others, and bring them back to District 13. Do they make the rescue?
I like Mockingjay Part 1, I like it because it’s primarily a war movie, and portrays war and its consequences in a realistic way. I like how both the rebels and the government release propaganda films. One scene is eerily reminiscent of a piece of real life. There is also less emphasis on the love story and more emphasis on the Mockingjay, as a symbol and a real fighter. This may be a disappointment to the target audience, but the lack of love story impressed me. There was a twist ending, that I didn’t see coming and that perfectly sets up Mockingjay Part 2.
The acting again varies greatly. Julianne Moore gives a very controlled understated performance, she is believable as President Coin. Phillip Seymour Hoffman also gives a low-key performance, and Woody Harrelson is a key part that is a turning point on the film. On the other hand, the younger cast is just so much eye candy. Jennifer Lawrence yells her lines and thinks that is acting. I don’t know why she gets all these a-list roles, she constantly overacts, and gets praise for it. If she sang the song, she is at least a pretty good singer, maybe she should consider a career change. Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth are pretty boys who substitute looks for acting skills.
The direction is good the pacing is good, the action scenes are worth watching, and the director gets good performances from the veterans in the cast. Ideally he would have gotten better performances from Lawrence, Hutcherson, and Hemsworth, but their performances are what they are.
The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1: Left me Hungry for more.