“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” picks up right where “Catching Fire” left off. The third installment of the series begins with Katniss Everdeen in the underground, secret living quarters of District 13, having nightmares about the Quarter Quell that shook up the nation of Panem–not to mention her sanity–forever. I mean, if going through one bloody, incredibly inhumane round of the Hunger Games isn’t enough to ruin a person’s life, then a second round definitely is.
As avid watchers of the series know, the Quarter Quell–featured in “Catching Fire”–came to an abrupt stop when Katniss shot an arrow into the force field that surrounded the arena, literally shocking the entire nation. The question surrounding “Mockingjay Part 1” is whether or not this was an act of rebellion, or simply Katniss trying to survive. However, the answer to this question turns out to not even matter, as the president of District 13 along with infamous traitor of President Snow, Plutarch Heavensbee, nominate Katniss to be the face of the rebellion against the Capitol (i.e. the Mockingjay).
Yet another question in the movie circles around Peeta, Katniss’s star-crossed lover and fellow tribute, and whether or not he is alive–and how long he will be. When Katniss destroyed the force field around the Quarter Quell arena, half of the tributes were rescued by District 13, while the others–including Peeta–were taken hostage by the Capitol. This leaves Katniss desperately wondering what kind of torture and taunting Peeta is being put through.
Although the film doesn’t quite contain the same amount of action and bloody deaths as the first two movies, it has enough emotional leverage to keep you wanting more. Nevertheless, I believe that Francis Lawrence, director of Mockingjay Part 1, made a mistake by turning the last book of The Hunger Games trilogy into a two-part movie.
While the movie has enough going on to keep you interested, it just does not incorporate the combat and conflict that made “The Hunger Games” and “Catching Fire” so impactful. Most of the drama in the third installment focuses around Katniss, her undying worry about Peeta’s well-being and that stupid cat. And even though these issues incorporate suspense and inquiry, the movie is simply not as jaw-dropping as the others.
Then again, a two-part movie might have been a particularly genius move. Part 1 answers very few questions, and also adds many more that may or may not be resolved, which leaves watchers with an undeniable obligation to watch Part 2. In spite of the fact that “Mockingjay Part 1” isn’t as action-packed or adventurous, it exhibits a very emotional portrayal of every character and shows watchers exactly how barbaric and malicious life in the world of Panem is.
After all, not all movies need to be filled with blood and starving teens murdering one another in order to be considered favorable. And ultimately, if it came down to getting the opportunity to watch “Mockingjay Part 1” again, I’d volunteer as tribute.