The beginning of the end
The nightmares. The struggles. The unrest. Suspense builds and the intensity does not end. As the latest film adaptation of the bestselling series, “The Hunger Games,” “Mockingjay Part 1” faces high expectations. Full of risky decisions and countless sacrifices, the action-packed film does not fail to achieve your satisfaction through its realistic visuals. With these graphics, the plot is explored more in depth and the cinematography is more meticulous.
The movie begins with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) discussing issues with the president of District 13, Alma Coin (Julianne Moore). One such issue involves the remaining citizens from the other 12 districts as they prepare to rebel against the Capitol, the ruling government of Panem. To end the Capitol’s mistreatment of the 12 districts, President Coin hopes Katniss will guide the districts into a unified rebellion. Katniss agrees to be their leader, known as the Mockingjay, but under certain conditions: to release three tributes, including a brainwashed Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), from the Capitol’s control. With her inspirational messages, Katniss motivates the citizens to rebel against President Snow (Donald Sutherland) by bombing the dam that provides electricity to the Capitol. Taking advantage of this opportunity, President Coin arranges a search party of six volunteers to enter the Capitol’s boundaries while the power is down and rescue the tributes as promised.
The movie is more suspenseful if you’ve never finished the book. The scenes were creative and distinct, but not all were original. A particular event was predictable: Katniss’ agreement to be the Mockingjay. Not only was the event cliche, the scene itself was tedious. It seemed as time dragged on as Katniss contemplated whether or not she should become the representative, even though it was evident no one else would volunteer for the job. However, with the unpredictable scenes, certain events helped the characters grow a stronger bond, specifically that between Katniss and Prim.
The movie is dedicated to actor Philip Seymour Hoffman since he passed away after completing Part 1 and most of Part 2. He played Plutarch Heavensbee, the cunning character second in command to President Coin. Previously a Head Gamemaker who worked for President Snow, Plutarch betrayed the president to lead the rebels in the revolt against the Capitol. Playing a skeptical character, Hoffman remained solemn throughout the movie, keeping his character consistent.
Along with Hoffman is Jennifer Lawrence. Ever since her iconic role as Katniss, Lawrence has never disappointed us. Her facial expressions conveyed her frustrated, petrified and ecstatic emotions at the right time and with the right intensity, from her righteous fury over the malicious destruction of the hospital to her spine-chilling encounter with the brainwashed Peeta. On top of being a remarkable actress, Lawrence is an amazing singer as well. With her husky voice, she sang “The Hanging Tree” and displayed the silent strength of her character.
Mixed within the serious scenes, there were several comical moments the audience enjoyed. An example would be when President Coin asks Katniss if there are any more conditions she wants, and she replies with, “Let my sister keep her cat.” This reply had the audience roaring with laughter, and I myself laughed along as I wasn’t aware of there being any humor in a serious movie; the movie became less tense because it broke away from its serious tone. Thus, the audience is prepared for the upcoming scenes in which Katniss starts the rebellion.
Although the movie has a hint of humor, it is mostly serious because it revolves around the rebellion. Katniss leads her fellow citizens to revolt and destroy the Capitol. It begins with the bombing of a hospital Katniss visits, and that is when her famous phrase is delivered: “If we burn, you burn with us.” It’s then followed by another bombing from the Capitol aimed toward the complex in District 13. Upset with the destruction caused, the citizens fight back by destroying the dam that provides electricity to the Capitol. These captivating scenes aroused my curiosity, but the movie was too centered on the rebellion. The bulk of the movie was intense and a hint of humor was found but nothing more. With tension constantly in the air, there was hardly any time to relax.
To support the serious scenes, “Mockingjay Part 1” has a widely diverse selection of music from popular artists including Lorde, Haim, Chvrches, Charli XCX and more. The unique songs accompany the movie appropriately and give more depth to the atmosphere. For example, Lorde’s “Yellow Flicker Beat” and “Ladder Song” both have deep vocals with low instrumental notes, creating suspense as the characters were in a life-threatening situation.
The final scene is definitely unique. Peeta lies in an enclosed area tied down to a bed struggling to get up; he experiences mental trauma after the horrible deeds the Capitol has done to him during his stay. It was a confusing moment for the audience as the screen soon went black and the credits began scrolling. However, the intended purpose was clear: to raise anticipation for the series’ grand finale. Although it hooks the audience to watch the second portion, it was odd. I disliked the way the movie ended because the abrupt ending made me feel lost and confused.
Despite the peculiar ending, “Mockingjay Part 1” is a film definitely worth watching. Movie-goers will love the intricate plot and sly characters in the movie, and there’s no doubt that Part 2 will have eager fans waiting to buy tickets.
By Airi Gonzalez, Staff writer