(Hy)Lights # 32: The HUNGER Games: MOCKINGJAY, Pt. 1

So, after that last Hunger Games movie, I was beginning to have more faith into this franchise as I and many others believed that Catching Fire was one of the best entries of the trilogy and one of the few instances that something based off a Young Adult novel can turn out good. (Well, the Harry Potter movie series did turn out to be a good saga of movies….Actually, the only one so far.)

The trailers for Mockingjay, Pt. 1 did built up the hype for thinking it was going to go bigger and better than before. I admit that I was interested in seeing how this one is going to go in scope of both the action and the politics within the story.

After the bombing of District 13 and the Games destroyed, Katniss Everdeen finally accepts the request of President Alma Coin and her adviser Plutarch Heavensbee and becomes the symbol of the rebellion, the Mockingjay. However, President Snow in the Capitol broadcasts a message of Peeta Mellark live contradicting Katniss. She believes that his life is in danger and convinces President Coin to rescue Peeta and the others Victors. But she has a surprise with his reaction.

WOW……um….Well, it managed to do some things right that the previous two movies did from the politics of the Hunger Games, the rebellions in all the Districts, seeing the harsh consequences from them and dealing with the PTSD because of the Games as most of those elements made the last movie more challenging and can hold the film up.

Yet there are no Hunger Games in this (It’s fine by me) and unfortunately, the film screwed itself as the way it was marketed felt like an action movie and this is no action movie. Sure, it had that one scene you saw in the trailers many numerous times but without spoiling anything, that sequence was nothing special once seeing it in full and it felt like more of a tease for what’s coming in the next movie.

There is also Katniss and most of the time, she got my nerves about Peeta as most of the film it’s “Where’s Peeta? We need to save Peeta? Why didn’t you save him!? IT SHOULD’VE BEEN PEETA!” I don’t know if it’s just that element that attracts the YA fans but that stint got a little annoying to me especially since they are more important things to worry about than just finding Peeta. You know, like the millions of lives that are at stake of being punished by the Capitol.

I have heard that the book is easily the worst of the three and splitting it into two parts doesn’t help it at all and I do see their point. Some parts could’ve been condensed and you could’ve just made your ending movie here but splitting one book into 2 movies is a trend nowadays and I get it although most do that for a reason. We get why the last Harry Potter movie was split into two movies as that got more story and plot to cover yet it’s too early if they just did it for a cash-grab like the Twilight series did (Oh, and Divergent is doing that, too, and guess what? Those are Lionsgate movies as well – OK, it’s Summit but Summit is owned by Lionsgate so it counts).

As for the performances, they were exactly like the last movie as there were some solid performances, mainly from the supporting cast as I still believe they outshine the leads by a wide margin from returning actors Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Philip Seymour Hoffman (in one of his final performances) and Stanley Tucci and new blood like Julianne Moore, Mahershala Ali and Natalie Dormer for their parts. Jennifer Lawrence still holds up as Katniss but I think it went down as I couldn’t really care for the character as much as I did previously. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta does get a bit better while Liam Hemsworth is just the same as before; mostly vague and he was just there.

On a side note, I liked the soundtrack and score to the movie, especially “Yellow Flicker Beat” by Lorde (who curated the soundtrack) and even “The Hanging Tree” by Jennifer Lawrence as the songs do fit the tone to the movie as a whole (Just don’t listen to the remix of “Hanging Tree”.)

FINAL VERDICT: Mockingjay, Pt. 1 does have the mature tone down and the effects post-Hunger Games handled smoothly, but falters at what we believe is to be shown and drags the whole movie down where you felt like it could’ve been over. Not to mention, making the lead a bit unbearable at some times. This may be a step below Catching Fire but it’s more middle of the road for this one. Hopefully, Pt.2 should fix that.

Is the girl on fire still burning? Well, not as much.

6/10 – Low OKAY.

Welp, I’m out of words. This is MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid and you better hope Part 2 doesn’t end up being disappointing as this one.



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