After the previous installments, the Hunger Games being a watered-down version of Battle Royale and Catching Fire merely a copy of the first movie, shit is about to get real in Mockingjay…or so we are lead to believe.
In usual Hollywood fashion, the last installment of a popular franchise is split into two. Part 1 promises to be an emotional introduction.
None of the cast has phoned it in. Jennifer Lawrence isn’t the young ingenue anymore considering the mature work she’s already done in between the Hunger Games movies, but she still carries this film even if all she can do is look sad. The veterans make this movie feel more important than it is, with Haymitch and Effie adding the necessary levity.
They’re all roped into this propaganda campaign to turn Mockingjay into a symbol of hope for the rebellion. The games are now over and revolutions are sweeping across Panem. It turns out that Plutarch Heavensbee, the man who devised Hunger Games, is a key figure in the rebellion. Refugees are hidden in the secret rebel headquarters of District 13.
The bleak set pieces set the stage for a darker tone. You finally get to see the real impact of the Capitol’s authority on a bigger scale. The media satire is now infused with a political subtext.
As the Mockingjay Part 1 goes on, however, with no reason to exist apart from being a filler and a cash grab, the movie plods on with repetitive sameness. Katniss climbs over a rumble only to realize that there’s going to be more piles of rubble. In between, you have a series of vlog episodes as the Mockingjay walk through rubble.
Meanwhile, President Snow airs his own PR videos with Peeta as his mouthpiece. Katniss is torn between the twisted lego head Peeta and the hunky bodyguard Gale. Either way, they’re both bland.
In the end, Katniss is turned into a prop stuck in a love triangle, reduced to watching television monitors while the men get all the action.
Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
Following the Hollywood tradition of over-milking franchises, Mockingjay Part 1 is a cash grab that doesn't justify a cinema viewing if you're not a fan.