Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

The highly anticipated third movie from the Hunger Games trilogy was released on Thursday the November 20th; the first half of it that is. The film is yet another exercise in film production company’s thinking that they should split fantasy novels into two, create an agonising wait for those who haven’t read the novels and, most importantly, double their profits.

Nevertheless, Mockingjay – Part 1 hit Irish cinemas after a long year’s wait since Catching Fire was released last November. As is expected because of the huge success of the first two films, we had high expectations for the film. The trailer for the film was promising and offered us an insight into what to expect; from Capitol-brainwashed “boy with the bread” Peeta Mellark, to action scenes and mass destruction and the newly revealed District 13. Like all book adaptations, the film version is going to be subject to intense scrutiny by fans of the book; who are always so difficult to please.

So, the question is, did it live up to its expectations? Yes, the film delivered what was expected of it and more.
Set in the midst of rebellion, the film had plenty of action as districts stood up to the Capitol, which we learn is not as indestructible as it seems. Aside from this, the film also tugged on the emotions of those sensitive to the Katniss, Peeta, Gale love triangle. And like I said, we got more than we bargained for, with some scenes that were neglected in the book coming to life on screen, which added greatly to the tension and uneasy atmosphere throughout the film.

True to the book, the film has some tear-worthy moments and a certain heart-wrenching revelation about a certain well-loved character is revealed at the climax of the first half. It certainly ended on a dramatic and intriguing note, especially for those who have not read the trilogy.

For the most part the film followed the book, though some less significant scenes were overlooked. Readers of the trilogy will however be disappointed with the lack of exploration of the mental states of the tributes, Finnick and Katniss, as is done in the novels.

Ultimately the film proved exciting and emotional, even despite the wide belief that Mockingay is the worst of the three novels. Book-readers and movie-goers alike will be satisfied with the first half of the film and will look forward to the conclusion of the trilogy, Mockingjay – Part 2, which is due to be released in November 2015.

Fiona Cooney

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