The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 brings to the big screen the dramatic and revolutionary events that unfold in the first half of the last book in Suzanne Collin‘s dystopian teen trilogy.

Following the last Hunger Games – in which Katniss’ (Jennifer Lawrence) arrow pierced the forcefield of the arena, allowing a number of the contestants to survive – the ultimate plan of a revolution is underway. Recruited by Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), she becomes the reluctant face of the movement to overthrow the capitol and free the districts from under the loathsome President Snow’s (Donald Sutherland) fascist rule. While shooting fighter planes out of the sky and delivering rousing speeches to the masses, Katniss’s love for both Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) remains a central focus and force.

‘Mockingjay Part 1’ Reviewed

Criticism for Mockingjay Part 1 is not dissimilar from criticisms for previous franchise installments that served to set up an action-packed final film, cutting the content of a novel in half to cash in on an extra and unnecessary movie. Like the Harry Potter and Twilight movies’ penultimate films, Mockingjay Part 1 feels like more of an assist, a placeholder, a set up – and fails to fully satisfy. With that being said, Mockingjay has been praised for the way in which it interweaves the personal stories of the characters with the very politically fraught story. Furthermore, the actors are credited with making Mockingway a satisfyingly watchable movie.

“Because this is the first Hunger Games movie without any actual game action in it, “Mockingjay” is often slow going, with not enough strong emotional moments to compensate. Plus, having the film end at a particularly dramatic en media res moment only underscores how frustrating it is to have to wait a whole year for the conclusion. If it’s going to be true, as someone predicts to Katniss, that everyone in Panem is “going to want to kiss you, kill you or be you,” it hardly seems fair to have to wait so long for all of the above to happen.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“How do you waste one of the most exciting young actresses of our time — not to mention the time and money of millions of moviegoers? “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1”accomplishes this by turning Jennifer Lawrence’s groundbreaking woman warrior, Katniss Everdeen, into pretty much a spectator in this insufferably dull penultimate installment, which thinly spreads a half-hour’s worth of plot over two plodding hours.” – Lou Lemenick, New York Post

“Adapted by Peter Craig and Danny Strong, Mockingjay – Part 1 could have easily become a talky and dull polemic designed to give the coming war some heft. But the actors draw you in, making you forget almost half of the film takes place in a dank, gray underground shelter. Moore, Hoffman and Jeffrey Wright help lend gravity to what could have come off as silly and trite, and Liam Hemsworth as Gale, Katniss’ boyfriend, is finally given more to do than form one leg of a romantic triangle.” – Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald

“As an adaptation of part of the third book by Suzanne Collins, it’s easily the most political of the three films. It also is the most absorbing and best in the series. Last year’s Catching Fire felt like more of the same from 2012’s original Hunger Games, presenting more contests to the death among young “tributes” for the amusement of the powers that be. But this sequel burrows deeper into the concept of revolution.” – Claudia Puig, USA Today

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, rated PG-13, is currently in wide release.

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