Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

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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.

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Cast

Jennifer Lawrence – Katniss Everdeen

Josh Hutcherson – Peeta Mellark

Donald Sutherland – President Snow

Woody Harrelson – Haymitch

Elizabeth Banks – Effie Trinket

Philip Seymour Hoffman – Plutarch Heavensbee

Julianne Moore – President Coin

Liam Hemsworth – Gale Hawthorne

Lionsgate's

Exhausted

My first observation of this movie is that Jennifer must have been exhuasted throughout and at the end of filming. The energy and emotion she fuelled into her performance for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay was superb. There isn’t a scene where she isn’t crying or breathing heavily – tears frequently streaming down her cheeks. It’s one hell of an emotional puller for the movie as well as the actress. This instalment is certainly darker than the previous ones, and is one of those sequels which focuses purely on one thing for the entire movie, like Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1; it zooms in on a certain element of the plot and doesn’t allow room for focus on anything else. Such movies run the risk of being boring, but you know part 2 will have to be more exciting, contain more action, in order to go out with a bang (or bludgeon in this case).

Jennifer does a brilliant job of playing Katniss this time round. She had me engaged throughout, with her strong, rebellious character who radiated emotion constantly. I don’t class myself as a fan of the actress, so my opinion here is completely non-bias and based on effectiveness of her performance.

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Subdued Mother

Is it me, or is Katniss’ mother (played by Paula Malcomson) extremely unaffective during the Hunger Games movies? I am aware her character has been through a tough time, but Jesus – you couldn’t get anyone more meek. During one scene, Katniss and her family are ushered into a bunker when District 13 comes under attack. Cue panicked residents, screaming and shouting, people darting about all over the place, and then Katniss’ mother.
Stood by a bunker bed, relaxed as anything, as though the actress just got laid off-set by the director (and triple orgasmed) or someone had slipped Ketamine into her flask of water.
Katniss comes running into the room in a state of hysteria, demanding to know where her sister Prim is, after getting seperated in a stampede. To which ‘mother’ calmly coos something about Prim having gone back ‘for the cat’ (sounds weird – but will be explained when you watch). Lazy-eyed and subdued, the woman stands there expressionless and emotionless until Katniss makes her exit.

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I suppose it’s a fine line any actor treads; remain true to the character in the book or make your own interpretation. But either way, this woman is more bland than a Rich Tea biscuit. She adds no dynamic to the movie at all, blending into the background whenever the camera is on her. Imagine Ginny Weasley (actress Bonnie Wright) with her energy & enthusiasm removed (yes – Bonnie does actually have a bit of enthusiasm) and there you have Mrs. Everdeen.

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Whilst I’m on the subject of family, Prim really gets on my tits.

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Have you ever witnessed a more ungrateful character in a movie? During The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, poor Katniss is under fire from the Capitol and emotionally tormented. And all this is because she saved her little sister’s life by volunteering for the Games. You’d think Prim would express her appreciation more, but during the movie she just seems to sit there – expressionless – brushing Katniss’ hair or standing next to her doing – well – absolutely nothing relevant. You’d think the character would be more supportive of her bigger sister in return, but instead, Prim appears as grateful as a girl whose sister just popped to the local shop to buy her a MilkyWay. I can only assume it is the interpretation of the character by actres Willow Shields, or like the mother, the actres lacks the spark needed for a movie like this.

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Song

Keep your eyes peeled (and ears pricked) at the point Katniss sits by a river with the guy who ‘had his tongue cut out’. It sees Jennifer Lawrence exercise her vocal chords as Katniss bursts into song. But far from jazz hands and tits out, the performance carries an air of melancholy. Her voice seems slightly disjointed at first, but the song picks up when a chorus of men come in. The scene switches from Katniss sat by the river to hundreds of men marching toward the Capitol – who happen to be singing along to her tune.
Ok, so the song isn’t overly great and nowhere near worth a ‘Katniss: Hits From The Hunger Games’ release, but something about it – however short in length – was kind of haunting. I liked it. It added a something different to the movie, played with levels.

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“Whoa”
****SPOILER ALERT****

One scene in particular made me jump. It made me jump good. Towards the end of the movie Katniss goes to finally be reunited with Peter in his hospital room. She enters the room and walks slowly towards him. He stares at her wildly as if she’s the most vile creature he’s ever laid eyes on..
(the tension here was fantastic, the cinema audience were silent and I myself sat staring at the screen with bated breath, wondering what was about to happen).
..Katniss stands in front of Peter, staring at him. He stares back, sneering.

BANG!!

The man leaps from the hospital bed and throws himself at Katniss, attacking her violently.
Needless to say I almost shit myself. The moment clicked from calm to terrifying in under a second, making me jump and gasp, “WHOA” out loud. I was genuinely shocked – which I love to happen during a movie. Great dynamic.
Exactly why Peter smashes Katniss through a glass pane before strangling her is explained just after the attack..

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is vastly different to the first two movies. Without its main foundation- the Games themselves – it’s left to Katniss (Lawrence) to lead the way and supply all action. If you’re a fan of the previous two, you may be left hanging dry as this installment focuses more on the political effect of the rebellion. Expect presidents giving speeches and morals being dictated as various characters jump on the political bandwagon. If the presidential and rebel speeches were too long I would’ve been bored senseless, but the dialogue isn’t overly lengthy thankfully, which helps move the scenes along at good pace.

Praise to Jennifer Lawrence for her bountiful energy source. She maintains a strong performance throughout whilst displaying fantastic emotion (anger, crying). There must be maximum two scenes that she isn’t in, the girl must have been exhausted at the end of filming. She carries this movie – and not just because she HAS to either. Nicely done by Jennifer.

I definitely enjoyed the first two movies better, mainly due to the intensity of the Games. This time round it’s darker. Deadlier. Decisive.
And what the hell happened to Peter?..

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This entry was posted on November 24, 2014 by .
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