The Hunger Games – Mockingjay, Part I: Review

All the recent weather issues in WNY held me off from going to see “The Hunger Games – Mockingjay, Part I” in theaters until last night. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait any longer, and I was able to re-watch the first two films in the series before heading to the theater to catch the third. I was absolutely pleased with The Hunger Games – Mockingjay, Part 1. I can’t wait to go see it again, watch it on DVD and wait anxiously for part two to be released next year. (Do we really have to wait that long?!?)

The rest of my review under the cut in case there are any spoilers.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Hunger Games – Mockingjay, Part 1. I thought everything was portrayed very well, the action was just intense enough to capture viewers’ attention without being overly gory or overbearing, the actors did a phenomenal job and the storyline went pretty well with the book. The writers added bits and pieces, but I didn’t mind – I thought they enhanced the film in a way that I can respect.

Jennifer Lawrence was, as always, spectacular. She portrayed the range of emotions that Katniss feels so well, starting with the overall confusion, anger and hurt, transcending into the true pain and concern she felt for Peeta, her family and community. I felt her intense sorrow when Katniss thought both Gale and Peeta had been killed in the mission; I felt her sadness, then anger, upon seeing the ruins of District 12’s remains. I felt her sheer joy upon finally seeing Peeta on screen, then eventually in person. Every emotion that Katniss runs through in Mockingjay – and there are plenty – I felt on the screen.

Of course, Lawrence wasn’t the only incredible actor in the film. Josh Hutcherson was amazing as Peeta, maintaining part of that general soft demeanor while seeming robotic and controlled by those in the Capitol. Liam Hemsworth was kind, strong and brave as a rebel soldier in Gale. I could go on and on about all the amazing acting that was done in this film, but I’ll leave it those on the screen.

Generally, I thought the film stayed pretty true to the book. There were parts added in, but they did a spectacular job of weaving these bits in with the rest of the story. One part that stuck out: the intertwining of Katniss singing “The Hanging Tree” while the dam was bombed. It gave me chills, quite frankly.

Heading into the film, I wasn’t sure where exactly they would cut the book to split it into two films, but I think it was a good spot, if a bit later than I anticipated. Truly, I thought they’d split it where Peeta and Katniss are first reunited — that would have left an even bigger cliffhanger.

Alas, it was a good first film, and I think the second half of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay will be even better. It’s just a shame we have to wait almost an entire year for it. Sigh. Until then, keep the fire burning.

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