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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Movie Review - The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1  $$$

123 Minutes
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Director: Francis Lawrence.  

            Continuing in a fairly recent Hollywood tradition, the third book of the Hunger Games series has been split into two movies. If done well I have no problem with the practice. However, it is easy to walk away from the first half of a split novel film feeling unsatisfied. Mockingjay – Part 1 left me hanging. I’m not nearly as excited about seeing the next installment of this franchise as I had been to see Part 1.  

            In short, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has joined the rebellion. Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is being held in the Capitol. Both are being used as social and political weapons for the side that holds them. While there are some great emotional scenes the exploration of the media’s role in war makes for a rather slow-moving film.

            This is how I ranked The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1   

1. Fun – Interesting but slow. I enjoyed watching the movie, but it has no replay value for me. Watch for the scene where the rebels attack the power plant. Beautifully done and emotionally powerful.
            Mockingjay  gets Half a MB for fun.       

            2. Story – Both sides of the conflict pitting Katniss against Peeta is interesting and solid from a storytelling point of view. Unfortunately, that may not translate well into movie-going fun.  
            Mockingjay  gets a Full MB for story.  

            3. Technical – The film looked good. The direction of the film was good. The special effects were excellent. You definitely feel that you are in a different place when you watch this film and that is really the goal.  
            Mockingjay  gets a Full MB for the technical aspects of the film.  

            4. Acting – Solid performances all the way around. However, I wasn’t as wowed with the acting as much as I have been in the past. Perhaps because this focuses so much on Jennifer Lawrence and has less screen time for the actors that have really stood out in the previous movies. I would liked to have seen more Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, and Stanley Tucci. The footage they have of Philip Seymour Hoffman accounted for some of the strongest moments in the film.  
            Mockingjay  gets Half a MB for acting.  Jennifer Lawrence, with this character, is just too one-dimensional to support a whole movie.  

            Added together, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 gets a rating of 3 Movie Bucks. It has enough special effects to suggest seeing it on a big screen with a good sound system. A matinee showing of the movie would be ideal. It may be a little slow for younger children and at nearly 3 hours in length, that could be a drawback. 

                        Randy’s Rating System 

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.


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