“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” was released on Nov. 21. It was a dark and fantastic addition to the series with great success for two weekends in a row at the box office.
“Mockingjay Part 1” is the third installment of the four films based on “The Hunger Games” book trilogy by Suzanne Collins.
In the first two films, the tragic, graphic nature of the story shared the screen with beautiful parody and human interest. As the series progresses, the story and characters darken and morph into cynical, lifeless shells of their former glories.
“Mockingjay Part 1” strips much of beauty and humanity seen before, leaving an incredibly sad and terrifying film. “Mockingjay Part 1” takes the viewer through the emotional turmoil of Panem’s (a nation comprised of the remnants of North America) rebellion and Katniss Everdeen’s conflicting feelings about her role in the war.
Filmmakers were particularly careful to show many examples of the human cost and visual tragedy of war throughout the film.
A particularly graphic scene was the depiction of a makeshift hospital, located within a battlefield, inhabited by both the dead and barely living.
As with the first two films, “Mockingjay Part 1” centers around actress Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of the subdued and reluctant hero of Katniss Everdeen.
Everdeen is still being pushed and prodded through the film, but this time by her friends in the rebellion rather than by the corrupt Capitol: where the wealthy reap the harvest of the poor working-class.
Lawrence was faced with a challenge of trying to act out a deep internal struggle that Everdeen experiences in the book without the viewers being able to “hear” her thoughts and doubts. Lawrence leaves no doubt about that struggle by the film’s end.\
Everdeen is shown the unintended consequences of the events of the previous films and has to redirect her feelings of guilt into rallying propaganda that will continue to cause violence and death throughout the world of Panem.
She desperately wants the Capitol to pay for the suffering of nearly every citizen of Panem over the past 75 years, but is sick with the consequences for the people fighting for liberation and what it could cost her.
Despite a slow start and the darker feel of this film compared to the previous two, the great acting and cinematography saved what could have easily been a terrible adaptation.
Actors hit every emotional nerve and the cameras showed things in such beautifully tragic detail that the viewer is left feeling awed rather than numb or angry.
Audiences in the U.S. responded well to “Mockingjay Part 1”, making it the highest grossing opening weekend of 2014, earning $123 million.
The movie also was the top grossing film over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, earning $82.69 million in the 5-day weekend.
It is well worth paying to see in theaters, perhaps more than once. Also, be sure to watch “The Hunger Games” conclusion next year with “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2”, scheduled to be released on Nov. 20, 2015.
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