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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Studio District 13!

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

We’re picking up shortly after Catching Fire. No more than a couple of days, if that, has passed. We are en route to District 13, a believed lost District (noted because they don’t send anyone to the Hunger Games) led by their President, Alma Coin. Coin, along with Heavensbee, wants to take the rioting and turn it into a revolution/rebellion.

To accomplish this, they need to unite the Districts behind one cause and one symbol. That symbol is their Mockingjay, Katniss Everdeen.

The series is taking a shift and it’s very noticeable in this movie; more than I personally enjoyed. This movie gets a score of 7, taking points away from Story, Ending, and thusly, my Enjoyment.

I’ll say it now - this is a good movie. My biggest issue is that you create an expectation with The Hunger Games and Catching Fire and, for me, that was lacking a bit in this movie. Is it worth watching? Absolutely. A more traditional score would be in the range of a solid 8, but that’s not what I’m doing here. Here’s why.

Originality: Again, after the trope-like elements of the first movie, I said I wouldn’t take away from this category in the series. To be fair, the turn that the series is taking is logical, but that’s the thing about Dystopian movies. You have the slums, then we meet “The One”, then we see why they’re “The One”, then they’re set up to fix the problem that created the slums, and then they do. Is this “original”, maybe not, but this is a different way to do it. Points for that. I just didn’t like it.
Originality: 2 points

Characters: Seeing Heavensbee in this new role seems odd, but I guess he had to fool Snow so this switch from adversary to ally makes sense. Otherwise, everyone from Katniss to Finnick to Gale to Haymitch plays the same character and doesn’t shift too much despite their new environment. As for Coin, I think the only thing that keeps her from being General Coin is the fact that, until now, they didn’t have a war to fight. Her focus seems to be THE leader of the rebellion. Everything lines up so full points.
Characters: 2 points

Story: We begin the movie just after Katniss is rescued from the 75th Hunger Games. Katniss is being taken to the fabled District 13 where people from District 12 are being housed including Katniss’s mother, sister Primrose, and Gale. Turns out that after the Games, the Capitol bombed District 12 and many of the people from the other Districts began to riot in the name of the Mockingjay, Katniss.

President Coin sees this as an opportunity and wants to strike the iron while it’s hot. She asks Katniss to be her Mockingjay i.e., her symbolic representative against the Capitol for the sake of an uprising. She declines. Katniss is only focused on the rescue of Peeta, who is being held by the Capitol.

Katniss is led back to District 12 to see the destruction Snow caused the District. It’s burned to the ground. Hundreds of people were killed. Katniss changes her mind and agrees to become President Coin’s Mockingjay.

President Snow sees the riots in the Districts and makes any and all references to the symbol of the Mockingjay illegal and punishable by death.

Coin and Heavensbee want to rally the other Districts behind the cause. To do so, Coin and Heavensbee suggest they film a series of propaganda videos, called “propos”, to sell the idea of revolution.

From here, the movie really slows down for me. Coin wants to film the “propos” with Katniss in a built-in studio that District 13 has, but Katniss is a shit actress. Please note that I said Katniss is a shit actress. This is how the story is supposed to go and is NOT a reflection of Jennifer Lawrence, the actress who plays Katniss.

Anyway, Katniss feels she’ll be more effective in the field. She’s given a military detail and a film crew and they take her to District 8 where she meets some of the wounded in a makeshift hospital. She sees first-hand how powerful her influence goes. Snow catches wind of this and bombs District 8 as punishment for their connection with Katniss.

As District 13 and Coin are broadcasting their propos, the Capitol is broadcasting Peeta who is trying to save face for him and Katniss while also trying to convince Katniss to call off the rebels. Doesn’t work.

This is most of the movie if I’m being honest. Coin uses Katniss and Snow uses Peeta. Katniss is able to broadcast the destruction of District 12. Peeta warns of an attack on 13. The attack comes but instead of fighting back, Coin wants to hide their special weapon so 13, which is an underground bunker, is bombed heavily on the surface. Most people are okay, but Katniss is worried about Snow’s revenge on Peeta.

Not much else but the ending. The movie tells a story, but nothing akin to the first two movies. Most of this is Katniss on video to the People or Peeta on video to the People all trying to sway the people to do as they want. I know the idea is they have to gather the people around the cause but this wasn’t holding the same energy for me as the first two movies.
Story: 1 point

Ending: Katniss gets upset about Peeta and is sedated. When she awakes, she demands that they go to the Capitol to rescue Peeta. They’re already on it with a plan. If Beetee sends a signal and can keep it broadcasting, it shuts down the Capitol’s defenses. They have Finnick just talking to take up time. Eventually, Snow cuts in and lets them know that he’s aware of the plan and drops this line: “It’s the things we love most that destroy us. I want you to remember I said that.”

The team is surrounded and cornered. As Gale says, “Every gun was on them and they let them leave.”

The team comes home with Anna (Finnick’s girlfriend), Johanna, and Peeta. When Peeta sees Katniss, he’s set off and tries to kill her. He’s been “hijacked”, which means that he was mentally conditioned to react to a trigger, in this case seeing Katniss, and try to kill her because she’s his enemy.

…and that’s it. Not the worst ending but it’s a cliffhanger. And not the kind I personally enjoy.
For example, in Kill Bill Vol. 1, the movie ends at the end of the battle with the Crazy 88 and the fight with O’Ren. It ended. There was closure. Then they dropped the nugget about her baby being alive! That is a good cliffhanger. Similar ended with Saw III. The game ends and Jeff is left with a tape explaining how his daughter is trapped. The game was over. The movie felt over. Then there was an element that hooked you into the next movie.

In Mockingjay Part 1, they were in the Capitol for the rescue, Katniss is sedated again and when she wakes up, the team is just home. They were basically released from sudden capture (which if you’re going to just let them go, why go after them like that in the first place?!) and then Katniss is attacked and we close with Peeta coming down from his “hijacker high” or whatever. In Catching Fire, the game ended and Katniss was given new info to lead into the next movie, like in Saw III and Kill Bill Vol. 1. This movie ended poorly for me. I get it, but that … felt lacking.
Ending: 1 point

Simply put, I did enjoy the movie, but the issues that I mentioned above stopped me from really enjoying the movie.
Enjoyment: 1 point

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