The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Round 1, FIGHT!

Such is the power of films and popular culture that, in Thailand, the three fingered mockingjay salute has been used in political protest against a military coup. This has been taken so seriously that people are being arrested simply for imitating the symbol of resistance from the Hunger Games films.

Whether it is worthy of being catapulted into cultural significance is debatable, especially since the first film was mediocre and the second film, whilst decent, lacked any razor sharp political or social critiques.

So we move into the first part of the mockingjay films with 2 more-or-less entertaining films that focus more on action adventure than anything else. It’s weird then that this film almost does a complete 180 in this regard.

Sure there are action sequences and they are well delivered, better perhaps than the previous films, but the focus of this film is the tension that resides between the capitol and the resistance. A lot of time is focused on President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) trying to bring Catniss (Jennifer Lawrence) in to the fold as the face of the rebellion, a symbol of strength and hope.

In the mean time we see President Snow (Donald Sutherland) playing mind games with the rebellion and issuing a cover up of the massacre and desolation of Catniss’ home district. Because of the destruction of district 12 and the events at the end of the 2nd film there is a much more sombre mood to the film. Many of the previous key players appear to be depressed or traumatised which only serves to enhance the power plays by the rebellion and the capitol.

It’s interesting that only now has the mockingjay symbol; a symbol of revolution, unity, promise, has been adopted as outside of popular culture because Mockingjay Part 1 is, through and through, a story of about revolution.

As a standalone story it’s OK and as an installment of the Hunger Games it’s not that great. I realise that they have cut a book into two installments but nothing really happens. The end of the saga (I would have thought) would be to unite the districts, storm the capitol and live happily ever after. All that happens is a couple of skirmishes in the districts… it really is lacking any real narrative drive.

Still, aside from the fact that this film doesn’t feel like a Hunger Games film and that the narrative doesn’t go anywhere it’s still a pretty decent enough film. As you might expect with the cast; the performances are all pretty good, it’s well filmed and the sound design is very good. There are also a few quiet moments which is a good change of pace such as when Catniss makes her cat chase a light around during a bombing run on their base.

It’s worth a watch if you are a fan of the film or you are standing up against the Thai military coup but otherwise you probably won’t get burned by giving this a miss.

Go See

  • Change of pace from the first 2!
  • Well shot
  • Great sound design

Avoid

  • Change of pace from the first 2……
  • Not much happens

Overall

3-5-stars

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