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Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Produced by: Lionsgate and Color Force
Written By: Danny Strong and Peter Craig
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Jeffrey Wright, Natalie Dormer
9/ 10

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The stakes are high, the pacing's been improved, and there's dread heading to the epilogue - in a good way, that is.


That "bitin" feeling, but that's why there's a Part 1 on the title, right?

The Hunger Games franchise comes to a head as the first half of its finale, Mockingjay soars high. But does it manage to burn a spark into our throbbing hearts? Find out.

Posted December 3, 2014 by


It feels shame that The Hunger Games saga is categorized into the Young Adult genre, while in fact, it represents something that goes beyond love and coming-of-age issues. It beholds a spark far greater that the points aforementioned, as aptly represented by the first half of the said the_hunger_games__mockingjay_part_1__fan_art__by_phoenixpx-d6ul9fzfranchise’s finale, Mockingjay. Its clever use of action, pacing, and satirical approach takes the series to its furthest point from YA stereotypes yet.

However, what’s most interesting about this latest installment is just how different it is from the rest of the franchise. Is that a good thing?

Let’s jot it down in a few.


Set after the events of Catching Fire’s conclusion, we soon learn that the Hunger Games are nothing more than a byproduct of the Capitol. Now that the rebellion has ignited anew – thanks to the efforts of a certain Katniss Everdeen(Jennifer Lawrence), the games have elevated to a new level, with higher stakes at toll.

Apparently, that’s also one of the biggest problems of the film. By pulling away the concept of ‘games’ from the narrative, it would take a bit while for the viewer to get a gist of what’s going on. There’s no preamble, no explanation, and no time to get acclimated with stuff. At least, with the traditional games narrative, we’ll know where it is headed, and the first 30 mins. of the film waffled a bit – worse, if you’re a first time viewer. However, it eventually evens out and, and the story even excels.

The business of War Propaganda

Once the film settles on what it’s really about, it begins to shine. In place of The Hunger Games is an interesting rumination on media, public perception and war tactics. There’s less action in this film than the others. Action is replaced with drama surrounding questions of how Katinss can help unite all the districts of Panem through propaganda. In a way, Mockingjay Part 1 is a movie about making movies.

Once Katniss decides to be the Mockingjay — the voice and face of the revolution — things pick up quick. We are reacquainted with many characters from the previous movies. Those played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Sam Claflin, Woody Harrelson, and Jeffrey Wright all have roles in the story. Elizabeth Banks, in particular, is a shot of adrenaline. Each actor is so comfortable in their roles and with each other by this time that they help the film begin to blossom. Also, the fact they now have a goal — get Katniss’ image out into the public — helps the movie focus and drive the narrative forward. The movie really locks in and becomes a ride once it starts exploring the nature of this idea.

Of subversion and moral ambiguity

So the movie is about telling the people of Panem that Katniss is alive and willing to fight with them. How does that story build momentum? A visit to a hospital in District 8 is the setting for one of the film’s best scenes, in which a violent attack is flipped into an inspiring piece of video footage. A simple moment of quiet between Katniss and her friends is turned into a nationwide battle cry. These scenes start small but are twisted into meaningful propaganda against the Capitol.

In fact, much of the plot of the film unfolds on video monitors, or through interviews, showing how information is carefully packed and delivered in this world. Reactions to that information are instantaneous and without context. Those reactions lead to further results which are sometimes irrational and irreversible. These ideas transcend the YA stereotype, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 keeps things fresh. You never quite know how what you’re seeing will play out.

Another theme heavily explored throughout the film is the idea of moral ambiguity. This isn’t your regular good vs evil plot where the villains and the heroes are clearly defined. The movie sits on a heavily gray-shaded area, and present characters that possess different motives for coming to war. The lines are blurred this time, as the viewer is left to think as to who’s who in this battle.

You’ll wish for more

Probably the most common complaint we’ve had with the film, it feels as if it’s only a segment of a whole, rather than being a complete movie in the true sense of the word. Like the previous entries, Mockingjay ended on a cliffhanger, but unlike them, it does not tag along a tease. However, that point is understandable, granted that it’s only the first half of the conclusion. There are more segments to tell, which would definitely be explored once the next movie comes to a head.

In conclusion, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay is a satisfying ride from start to finish, and definitely deviates away from the first two entries in the franchise. Its visuals, pacing, and stronger themes are more than enough to carry this film as the best of the series yet. Here’s to hoping for a truly climactic finish.




Yuri Mangahas

Yuri is magnanimously juggling between two managerial jobs: A technical manager position for an advertising/copy-writing company, and an associate editorial position for a fashion and lifestyle magazine. Nevertheless, he still finds time taking photos and seeking for geek nirvana.


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