“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” is the third installment in the Hunger Games trilogy – at least it is a trilogy in the book version. Did the third novel have enough in it to make into two movies? Surprisingly, yes it did; at 123 minutes in length, this one kept our interest and sustained its intensity.
The focus in Part 1 is on Katniss Everdeen’s struggle to trust the rebel faction and become its’ spokesperson—the Mockingjay. The bulk of the story takes place in District 13, totally underground, a district the public had been told no longer existed. Its’ leaders want Katniss to take on a public persona as the Mockingjay, to continue fanning the flames of discontent she had ignited during the Hunger Games.
Since her victory over the game system, the districts have been rebelling against the Capitol, seeking to be more than slave labor for the Capitol’s wealth. We are shown different districts in this film, each with their own resource industries, turning on the government in their own determined way.
Still, Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss must decide if she will “continue to play the game” as a tool of rebel propaganda. It appears that, motivating her eventual decision, her co-victor, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) is being used by the Capitol in its own propaganda program. Will Katniss’ relationship with old flame Gale Hawthorne (Liam Helmsworth) grow or suffer as she tries to save Peeta.
Much of this film’s dialogue is in the hands of Lawerence’s supporting cast. Woody Harrelson returns as a strangely sober Haymitch Abernathy and Donald Sutherland as the ever slimy President Snow who rules in the Capitol. Elizabeth Banks returns as Effie Trinket, who we get to see in drab jumpsuits and less make-up than she wore in her Capitol days.
Introduced in this film are the rebels’ President Alma Coin, played by Juliane Moore, and a Colonel Boggs, played by Mahershala Ali.
The late Phillip Seymour Hoffman returns as Plutarch Heavensbee. It turns out that, before his untimely death in February of this year, Hoffman had finished filming all but two scenes of Part 2 of Mockingjay, so we’ll have more of his talent to enjoy when it is released next year.
If you’ve been following the Hunger Games story, have read the books, or like dystopian fiction, you may enjoy this entertaining film. It relies on your having some background on the story, so check out the first two parts of the saga if you dare. At PG-13, Mockingjay is geared for youth and adults, rather than children.