HOLLYWOOD—Well, as they say all good things must come to an end. When “The Hunger Games” arrived on the scene a few years ago, it took audiences by surprise. It was right in the midst of the entire “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” craze, but with a twist. “The Hunger Games” franchise catered not only to a young audience, but adults as well.
The first chapter in the final installment in the series, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” proves to deliver that level of intense action that audiences have been dying for. Its predecessor has set the stage for an epic battle with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) ready to rebel on all fronts after realizing that her dear friend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) has been captured by the Capitol.
Her hometown is in chaos, and it’s apparent that President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is determined to stop our heroine at all costs. It’s definitely a villainous role that Sutherland sinks his teeth into if you ask me.
Our protagonist has a ton of pressure on her as everyone in Panem is looking to her to be their savior; to instill a level of fight in them that didn’t exist before her first victory. She is not alone though. She has a strong adversary in Oscar-nominee Julianne Moore who portrays President Alma Coin of District 13. She like Katniss has made it her mission to go against the tyranny that has controlled the people of Panem for years.
At the core of the tale is not just a mission to destroy a dictator, but to rescue her pal Peeta who has been brainwashed and could be venturing into the dark side. Without spoiling too much of the plotline, Part I sets the stage for a climatic finale, where I’m certain a few popular faces will bid adieu.
Katniss has become the symbol of hope for the people of Panem, and that is leading to an uprising where the citizens are willing to fight against the tyrannical government that has controlled their lives for years. In other words this is a film that brings to its attention the issue of war.
Political in nature, this first-part, of a two-part conclusion, strategically places its pieces on the board for the audience to come back for the final chapter. War is bloody; it’s unpredictable and leaves plenty of chaos in its wake. That is what this film intends to teach the viewer, but its something most of us already know.
While the movie scores major points for its unique characters in Effie (Elizabeth Banks), Plutarch (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), Caesar (Stanley Tucci) and Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) to name a few, its narrative doesn’t equate to the caliber of actors in the first of two installments. “Mockingjay” is fun, but it could’ve been much better.