Monday, December 1, 2014

The Hunger Games : Mockingjay Part 1 Review

The Hunger Games : Mockingjay Part 1
Directors: Francis Lawrence
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson
Original Release Date: November 21st, 2014

            The Hunger Games franchise has appeared with its third entry already.  The original novel was relatively lengthy, and so thus in a combination of “doing the original justice” as well as corporate money seeking this is the first of two halves in Mockingjay Part 1.  While delivering some great buildup, its existence as only a prologue brings some challenges yet also a few benefits.
            This is a series of cliffhanger after cliffhanger, and so after the last film ended with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) in a rough condition, and then in this wakes up in a similar form and place.  It’s been a breakneck ride, but this time the “games” are gone entirely and there is only WAR. Well, the slow political build up to war.  Katniss and her other friends have been brought to the deep underground District 13 with its  own set of new characters.
            These include their leader President Coin (Julliane Moore), head of security Boggs (Mahersala Ali) and the return of Plutarch (the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman) amongst others.  While Hoffman offers some solid words and scenes, the new characters all feel  just kind of “there”.    The presentation of this new faction is bland after the interesting main heroes of the past installments
            Lawrence still inspires as Katniss….most of the time.  Some dialogue is rousing as ever, while other times there is a repetition of her drama. We get it; she has stress and misses Peeta (Josh Hutcherson).    It’s interesting to see the path each take and the growth they go through whether its Katniss’ ascension to rebel hero or Peeta’s slow decline into tortued induced insanity from the vile President Snow (Donald Sutherland).
            Some of this may seem tantalizing, but its dragged down but just too dang much of it.  They stretched the dialogue heavy part of the novel even further, which logically leads to more dialogue.   They had also promised more action scenes but what comes through is brief and anti-climactic. Most criminal is that the only action sequence from the novel, when Katniss and crew take down some bombers, is actually shorter than the original. 
            This leads to a overall film that is quality but too sparse. The anti-climax in the end is so much to the point of dis-taste.  The good characters, visuals, and fast pace is around from the past installments but only in brief moments instead of sweeping epic movements.   This is a ok if underwhelming experience. But now that the slow part is out of the way, here’s hoping the conclusion makes up for the mistakes of this and delivers all climax.  7.85 out of 10

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