MOVIE REVIEW: “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One” stays true to the book series


Kayla Grizzle, Features Editor

The newest installment of “The Hunger Games” trilogy, “Mockingjay Part 1,” stays true to the books in every aspect, but still leaves the impression of an extended trailer for “Mockingjay Part 2.”

The movie picks up in District 13, the forgotten district, as Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence, tries to cope with Peeta’s, played by Josh Hutcherson, capture by the capitol, as well as pressure by District 13 to become the face of the revolution that has started in Panem since “Catching Fire.”

Lawrence’s performance is both revealing and personal, as her character, Katniss, realizes the devastation and horrors that the capitol has inflicted on the 12 districts since she has been in District 13. Lawrence proves that she is reining Hollywood queen yet again as she easily had the audience hanging on to every word she says, not an easy feat when you are playing a depressed, crying teenager for two hours. She manages to perfect the mixture of passion and purity that is the basis for Katniss’ personality.

All of the newer cast who were added to the trilogy were brilliantly chosen; Julianne Moore is the most convincing President Coin that could have been found. As a proud reader of all three books, I can say that Moore does a great job of being uptight, controlling, and just all around creepy, the exact way that President Coin made me feel while reading the series.

Also, the addition of “Game of Thrones “ star Natalie Dormer as Cressida was a wonderful touch. While there isn’t enough of her in this installment, it will be interesting to see where the producers take her part in the next movie.

Those who have read the series will be happy to hear that the movie matches every detail to the book seamlessly, even adding extra detail to scenes that were only alluded to in the book. But I will resist giving anything away.

This is one of the rare movies that actually produces more emotion and detail than the book. However, while that is the greatest asset of the movie it is also its greatest weakness.

Many critics have been slamming the movie for being one long lead-up to “Mockingjay Part 2.” While director Francis Lawrence, director of the well-known zombie flick “I am Legend,” has denied these accusations in multiple interviews, stating that the movies were divided into two parts to give the audience a chance to form more of an emotional attachment to the people of District 13 as well as to Katniss, the lack of action in the movie and numerous shots of Katniss crying over the same things over and over again point more towards the critics being correct.

While I enjoyed the attention to detail and not straying from the book, the span of the entire two-hour movie takes place over the course of only about one-fourth of the third book. It might have been stretched too far.

The movie had one and a half action scenes in total, and extremely short ones at that, as well as a lot of standing around and talking scenes that continuously led up to climaxes that never happened.

That being said, the imagery and scenery that director F. Lawrence uses puts a darker spin on the revolution of Panem that was missing from the first two movies and are very necessary to break the series out of its childish mold. The images of the burned bodies of District 12 and wounded people cowering in small rooms adds a seriousness to the movie that the previous installments could not achieve.

Overall, the movie does achieve what it set out to do: make the audience crave more. I guarantee that the same critics who slammed Part 1 are going to find Part 2 that much more amazing after all of the build up.

As for the fans, the second you finish Part 1, you be anxiously awaiting the next installment.