Monday, November 24, 2014

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 Review: Solid Start To Hunger Games' Conclusion

In 2012, moviegoers were introduce to The Hunger Games. The work of Suzzane Collins became an even bigger phenomenon when jumping to the silver screen. Personally, this series has done a great job as The Hunger Games was a solid film; while its sequel, Catching Fire, surpassed its predecessor and had me wanting more. This franchise has had a good run for the past few years, but all good things must come to an end. The Hunger Games has reached its conclusion as now playing in theater is The Hunger Games: Mockingkjay-well Mockingjay Part 1. Like most movies based on popular novels, Lionsgate decided to split their franchise's finale into two parts. Whether this a move was to make more money or give the series an epic feel remains to be seen. Nevertheless, with this finale underway, is this first part an event the whole world should be watching; or odds ever against The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1?

Following the second film, Mockingjay Part 1 centers on Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) leading the resistance against the tyrannical Capital; and in all honesty, that is pretty much how the story goes. The movie's plot is fairly straight forward and that is both good as well bad. The story to Mockingjay Part 1 presents a lot of interesting ideas-such as how two factions present themselves during a war; and the plot features plenty of exciting moments that had me on the edge of my seat. However, there was not much to this story. The plot structure was broad and it felt like it was leading to something epic; only for this moment to never come. These issues could be rectified in a year's time, but because of its narrow plot, Mockingjay Part 1 was indeed missing something.

Jennifer Lawrence has done a solid job so far as the independent heroine Katniss Everdeen. In the previous film, Katniss fought the idea of her being the hero of Panem. In this film though, while she still reluctant, Katniss is accepting to her role in this war. Seeing that this movie is heavily centered on Katniss (which is saying something), Mockingjay Part 1 depends a lot on Lawrence's performance. Thankfully, the leading lady more than carried this film with her strong performance as The Mockingjay. The Hunger Games has created a cast of characters that have been able to stand out. Unfortunately, the cast tofor Mockingjay Part 1 felt underwhelming. While Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson had their moments, most of the new characters were just there and contributed very little to the movie. The only actor, aside from Jennifer Lawrence, to escape this problem was Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. Peeta had only a few scenes in the film; yet Hutcherson shined through in all of his moments and created some of the strongest scenes for the character. The cast was by no means bad as there were times where I was concerned with the rebels. However certain element prevented this cast from being a concrete ensemble.

I do have tip my hat to Francis Lawrence for having solid direction in the technical factors to Mockingjay Part 1. James Newton Howard provided perhaps the best music yet for The Hunger Games as the score featured distinctive themes for both moments and characters. The cinematography was about the same as the previous film while the effects were rather subtle; which did make sense given the movie's concept. The action took me by surprised as there was very little of it. While the action sequences could have been paced better, these moments were still thrilling and effective. When it comes down to it, some of the factors were better then other. However the technical part to the film did create a fitting atmosphere and the direction, though different from the past two films, still fit the world of The Hunger Games.

Mockingjay is on a good start with its first part, but this film is far from perfect. With the story being too straight forward and the cast suffering from underwhelming characters, the film does not feel like an event the whole word should watch. However, Mockingjay Part 1 does succeed in with its compelling concept. tense moments and solid performances from the series' two leads. While this entry to The Hunger Games series may not be perfect, this could change when Mockingjay Part 2 hits theaters.

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