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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 shows all sides of a revolution

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 came out to the box office swinging, using a holistic approach to the beating heart of a revolution smashing its way to a $123 million opening weekend.

The third installment of the four part series (the books were a trilogy) opened with its heroine, Katniss, struggling to cope with her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Though Katniss’ psychological issues are never tackled head-on by the characters, actress Jennifer Lawrence and director Francis Lawrence are sure to pay close attention to her worsening condition.

Mockingjay Part 1 addresses many sides of a revolution. Graphic from IMDb
Mockingjay Part 1 addresses many sides of a revolution. Graphic from IMDb

Francis drops the audience straight into the heart of District 13, the once mythical district/state that dared to rebel against the Capitol. Following along the narrative written by Suzanne Collins, District 13 is portrayed as a beehive constantly humming to the tune of revolution.

Instead of following the path of other sci-fi films Mockingjay, Part 1 doesn’t portray either side as an absolute. While the Capitol is viewed as the bad guy, some characters defect from its tyranny to help film rebel propaganda. On the contrary, District 13 is so focused on bringing down the Capitol that it often forgets to look at its own ethics and morals.

During speeches by the district’s president, Coin, the audience often has prolonged applause. This is a similar social construct seen in countries with fascist or totalitarian governments. Look up uncut footage of speeches from North Korea, Soviet Russia, or Nazi Germany and you’ll see exact examples of this.

Another issue with District 13 is its depth. If this setting were a character, it would have been deemed a flat one. Other than a handful of elite members, no one seems to do anything in the district. You might begin to think these soldiers only eat and cheer for speeches.

The third instalments in the Hunger Games series breaks from the earlier movies in a way that is somewhat difficult to explain. Comparatively it feels uncanny. Our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, seems to be going up along with the plot. Sure this movie is still about her, but Katniss begins to realize this revolution isn’t just about her. She isn’t the only one being affected by the Capitol.

At various points during the film the audience is taken to far away districts where the rebellion is turning into a full fletched revolution. By taking a holistic approach, the film begins to take on a more mature tone. Instead of forced combat between minors, we now see scores of men being shot down by the capitol. Some scenes can be compared to the Russian revolution.

Hopefully the tweens are realizing this series isn’t just an awkward love triangle.

There is one main issue that holds this movie back, the music. I’m not talking about the part where Katniss sings, that’s fine. What I’m talking about is the background music that tries to make every other scene into a spectacle.

Early on Katniss receives the well known three finger salute from a large crowd of at a hospital. This is a scene that would have been great had they kept it quiet. Sadly, the scene feels forced when a giant crescendo  of music comes blaring over the speakers. It is a silent protest and a silent salute, and I was they had kept it that way.

Yes, Mockingjay, Part 1 has a few issues, but so did the first two movies. It accomplished what it needed to do and has set the stage for an epic conclusion.

Part one was the cold war, part two will be an all out revolution.

New “Mockingjay, Pt. 1” trailer packs a powerful punch

Fangirls and fanboys everywhere were abuzz when  the first official trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1 was released. Coming in at over 12 million views on YouTube, it’s easy to tell that the hype for this film is very real.

While the trailer doesn’t give much away as far as the plot is concerned, it presents enough to make any viewer overwhelmed with feels.

Jennifer Lawrence renews the role of Katniss in this new Hunger Games movie.

The score used behind all of the action and dialogue within the trailer only helps set the bleak mood of the film; we’re thrown into a country in the middle of a rebellion, guns blasting and buildings crumbling to dust as the rebels take on the Capitol. The gorgeous score builds in intensity right along with the trailer, which only adds to the anticipation of it all.

The color usage in this trailer is very monochromatic; lots of blacks and neutral colors versus the bright greens, oranges, and reds that were present in the previous films. This helps solidify that we’re no longer just playing in the games – we’re at war, right alongside Katniss and the rest of the rebels.

Jennifer Lawrence shines in her sections of the trailer. She has blossomed as an actor since the first film, and it shows. The way she takes command of her role as the rebellion’s Mockingjay is chilling and powerful, just as it is in the novel.

The other actors featured in the trailer are also amazing, even when they aren’t speaking. Stanley Tucci merely crossed his legs and I was amazed at his perfect capture of Caesar Flickerman. If this is the case with all of the film’s actors in the trailer, I can only imagine how they’ll be in the film itself.

Overall, I was pretty ambivalent about this film before seeing the official trailer. Having watched it multiple times now, I can honestly say that this will be the defining film for the Hunger Games franchise, as well as one of the must-see movies this fall. You definitely don’t want to miss this.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1 hits theaters Nov. 21.