review: the hunger games: mockingjay – part 1 (2014)

I was REALLY excited for this one, but honestly didn’t really know what to expect. I have read all the books in the Hunger Games series, but that happened so long ago, that I actually kind of forgot what happens in the story – so I didn’t really know what I was walking into. And it was good.

Synopsis (IMDB): When Katniss destroys the games, she goes to District 13 after District 12 is destroyed. She meets President Coin who convinces her to be the symbol of rebellion, while trying to save Peeta from the Capitol.

Ok, note before I start rambling… why does Mockingjay get a fancy, cinematic-looking IMDB page? It’s throwing me off and I don’t really like it.

OK. Let’s start.

So the film started off in a really cool way. I didn’t expect them to make it so…. artsy. Showing Katniss as she recovers, in a sort of mental asylum-looking setting was really effective, and I’m glad they really emphasized the emotional and mental impact that she had been hit with and was recovering from. Definitely made this more of a “real” movie, and less of a blockbuster-teen-dystopian-craze-movie if you get what I mean. I applaud Francis Lawrence for stepping out of the box. It hit me really effectively right away, and immediately drew me into the film.

Moving on, I didn’t really know what to expect of District 13, and was really excited to see it for the first time. I was definitely not disappointed – but for some reason, I expected it to be more cell-like, and less shiny, and modern looking. My vision doesn’t really make sense in terms of the plot, and how the book describes it (from what I remember), but I don’t know – I expected it to be more natural looking, with stone walls and things. I’m probably the only one feeling that way, but yeah – that being said, I was not disappointed with Lawrence’s vision of the mysterious, underground district. It was just different than what I was expecting.

In terms of the new cast, let’s talk about Natalie Dormer, because really, is anyone talking about anyone else? While I do generally find her very irritating for some reason, I think she’s been very cleverly cast in all the roles she’s played – at least all the one’s I’ve seen. Which just includes her character as Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones. so I do respect her as an actress. As Cressida in Mockingjay, she realllyyyyyy killed it. First off, I love her look in this. With the blonde hair, half-shaven, she really got into the look and feel of her character, and this new side of her that I’ve never seen before really worked.

Ok second shout out goes to Julianne Mooreplaying President Coin. I didn’t even know she was in this, and my housemate and I gasped really loudly when she appeared onscreen. I’ve never seen her portray a leader-type character before, and after seeing this – I’m not sure why I haven’t. She was amazing in this role, better than any suffering-type character I’ve seen her play in the past. She just has that look, with the long, straight, silver hair, and that voice. She has a great tone, and her commands just carry well. It’s like she says something, and it  just rings in the air, lingering forever.

So moving on, we cannot avoid our beloved Peeta and Gale. Liam Hemsworth was looking great as usual, with his piercing blue eyes. One criticism that I have for him is that he seems very inconsistent throughout the 3 films. While he still plays the tall, dark, brooding friend from home, he does it in a different way in each film, and it throws me off. Josh Hutcherson was unreal in this. He was great in the tiny amounts of screentime that he had in this instalment of the series, and I almost started crying every single time he came onscreen. And whoever was in charge of his makeup, and whoever did the CGI on him are geniuses, because he looked amazingly terrible.

OH AND EFFIE (Elizabeth Banks). I absolutely love how her character has changed from the ignorant (but funny) Capitol-lover, to a real person with feelings and good motives (and still funny). Banks was wonderful in this, providing us with comic relief, as well as a character that we have grown to love.

One thing I didn’t like? The ending. It just didn’t hit me as effectively as other mid-series endings have. I was shocked at the end, but I definitely think I was more shocked at how anti-climactic the ending was, rather than being shocked at the fact that the director could leave us hanging like that (which is a good thing). It didn’t leave me wanting more, and that is a problem – especially with these kinds of movies. Another thing that might have contributed to this is the fact that they TOTALLY could have fit the entire 3rd book into one movie, but obviously they split it into 2 parts to milk it more.

Overall though, great watch – and I was generally impressed!

just my rating: ★★★★

Other reviews on Mockingjay – Part 1:
And Those Who Can’t – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part One
Victor’s Village – Best and Worst of Mockingjay Part 1 (Movie Edition)
Digital Devils Online – Mockingjay: Part 1

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