Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Guest Review - The Hunger Games Mockingjay (Part 1)

The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 1My trustworthy movie reviewer friend, Ben is back to review the latest blockbuster - The Hunger Games Mockingjay (Part 1). Even though the box office in US is not as impressive as its predecessor but it is enough to be the highest opening of the year.
I think this is the longest movie review that he has written and can tell that he likes J Law a lot (really a lot!). Without further ado, let's check out what is his review below :

2 words – Jennifer Lawrence. The single person that elevated the entire Hunger Game movie quadrilogy, throughout MockingJay, I am thinking how lucky the studio was to sign her up for the first movie. She has the rare attributes of extremely well-liked by the audiences and coupled with her capable ability in acting. She brought out the Katniss Everdeen character from the series and made it into one that the audiences can relate to, which is very important for the first part of the finale. 

Many disliked the movie due to lack of action and relatively slower pace, which to me were expected as all events were drumming up towards the explosive part 2 of the finale. Personally I loved the way the movie handled the character of Katniss’s development throughout the few movies. Katniss never did want to be chosen as “The One”, she had repeatedly stated that she would rather spend a quiet life hidden from everyone. She didn’t process any special power, other than her skills with bow and arrow; she didn’t fall in love with supernatural creatures such as vampires or werewolf; she wasn’t even specially brave or courageous. She volunteered for her beloved sister to join the Hunger Games and her other acts were mostly circumstances driven. Even in this part, she was tasked to be the rebellion symbol the mockingjay, despite her reluctance. In short she had been political tool to President Snow in “Catching Fire” and now to President Coin in this instalment. In addition, Katniss was torn between the man she loved, and the man who loved her.

This is where Jennifer Lawrence shines; letting the emotional resonance of Katniss became the biggest part of this movie. The scenes which she witnessed the horrendous power of war and her determination to save Peeta, plus her trying to live with the fact that her action (or rather involvement) in the previous movie had cost the destruction of her district, and had to live the part of symbol that she never wanted, would have degraded the movie into a melodrama in the hands of a lesser actress. J. Law pulled it off efficiently, successfully chronicle Katniss’s raised to a reluctant hero.

By splitting the original book into 2 movies, there were bound to have filler portions, especially considering the meatier parts would be reserved for the last part, but this also gave others a chance to flesh out their characters. A movie will never hold its ground without the strong supporting cast, I am not talking about heartthrob Liam Hemsworth , who was only passable in this. I am talking about the strong performance by the talented Philip Seymour Hoffman, who’s last big screen performance brought out the character of a person whose main goal was to gain viewership than the holistic goal of independence; Elizabeth Banks who’s previous performances made the writer expanded her role in the movie to good effects as every scene with her lighten up the otherwise heavy mood; and Julianne Moore as the creepy President Coin whom you know she couldn’t be trusted. I particular enjoyed the exchange between Katniss and President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland, bringing in the huge feel of cat and mouse to a deserving climax even though there were considering lesser action than most movies.

Looking back, Hunger Game series is a smart book, it had elevated the series from your usual young adult romance story to a higher level. It mocked of the current events where it is all about propaganda than the actual truth, it is now about who can manipulate the media that will win the war of the masses. My personal view is President Snow represented the traditional Emperor regime while the opposing rebel lead by President Coin had an uncanny resemblance to communism, if you know how history goes; the ending would not be pleasant for Katniss.

On the technical part, effects were well done, especially the CGI effect of Peeta getting progressively thinner signifying the torture he went though. Background music matched the scenes, scene stealing will definitely be the haunting tune of the Hanging Tree slowly starting from J. Law’s humming leading to the majestic orchestral finish, coupling with the scene of the power dam being bombed. 

 There was an after credit portion, frankly nothing major. If you had waited during Catching Fire, the after credit portion is the same. I do like the little details they incorporated to the motifs.

I will give this a good 4 stars out of 5, and an additional half star just for the performances of J. Law.
Here is the trailer of The Hunger Games - Mockingjay :

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