Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Film Review: "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" (2014).

"I have a message for President Snow: If we burn, you burn with us!" This sums up part 1 of this season's anticipated installment in the The Hunger Games Series, Mockingjay - Part 1. Once again directed by Francis Lawrence (I am Legend and Catching Fire) with a screenplay, adapted from Suzanne Collins' novel Mockingjay, by Peter Craig and Danny Strong. It is the first of two films based on the novel. The story continues to follow Katniss Everdeen; After having twice survived the Hunger Games and when she destroys the games, she finds herself in District 13 after District 12 is destroyed. She meets President Coin and under her leadership, Katniss is convinced to reluctantly become the symbol of a mass rebellion against the Capitol, while trying to save Peeta from the Capitol.

The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland and Natalie Dormer. The film contained superb but not the best performances in the series. As the film “talked the talk” but did not “walked the walk”. Lawrence’s performance in this film was solid but felt rather weak than the previous installments even though she is the central character that we’re supposed to follow all the way. Which made it very hard for me to follow. This was the same with some of her fellow cast members Hemsworth, Harrelson, Banks, Wright and Tucci. Like Lawrence, solid but weak performances. However there were some cast members who did shine and brought more to their roles than the previous chapters, Hutcherson, Hoffman and Sutherland. Hutcherson brought more edge to his performance as Peeta, which made his journey unshakable. Hoffman gave a brilliant performance in one of his last performances (whom the film is dedicated in loving memory) and Sutherland never felt more threatening than he did in this film. Especially when he delivered the line “Miss Everdeen, it is the things we love most that destroy us.” And kudos to new cast members Moore as President Coin and Natalie Dormer as Cressida (who has now become my favorite character in the series).

It can't help but feel like the prelude it is, but The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I is an amazingly filmed, emotionally satisfying penultimate installment for the series. For the most part the action weakens along the way, spurred by somewhat chatty sequences. It's just slightly disappointing that, with the momentum having been established so effectively, we now have to wait until next year to enjoy the rest of the ride. It is alternatively funny and touching at some moments. The film sets up the franchise finale with a penultimate chapter loaded with solid performances and smart political subtext, though it comes up short on the action front. Even though it is beautifully shot, it is a soulless cash machine, and that it delivers no dramatic payoff, no resolution and not much fun. It may not be the most cinematically rewarding chapter yet. However, it will prepare you for it.

Simon says The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I receives:

See my review for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire at http://ss-film.blogspot.ca/2013/11/film-review-hunger-games-catching-fire_29.html

No comments:

Post a Comment