Every revolution has a quiet moment before the flames explode.
And as The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part One film shows, for Katniss those quiet moments embody explosions and bombings and emotional turmoil.
But for Katniss, that is to be expected.
Mockingjay is the third movie in The Hunger Games film franchise, all based upon the hit trilogy book series by writer Suzanne Collins, but the first movie to be split into two. While Harry Potter may have invented this concept, and The Hobbit overdoing it, splitting it up fits tremendously for this final journey of our favourite Tribute Katniss.
For those who came in late, The Hunger Games is the story of Katniss, a teen girl who lives in a dystopian future under a brutal dictatorship. The government runs a deadly annual televised contest where selected teens kill each other to win The Hunger Games. When her little sister “wins” the honour of going, Katniss volunteers in her place. She competes and upends the games, all with the help of love interest Peeta.
In the second book, Catching Fire, Katniss and Peeta are dragged back into the Hunger Games as revenge by evil President Snow, all because her actions fueled a simmering revolt.
With Mockingjay, the movie and the book follow along with Katniss as she attempts to mentally recover from The Hunger Games, worries about Peeta since he was captured at the end the second games, and tries to understand the full fledged revolution now embroiling the land.
Katniss lives a rather drab life with her mom and younger sister Primrose in the free District Thirteen, where life is very much like Fritz Lang Metropolis in tone and look. She does not want to become their propaganda symbol of the Mockingjay in the war, but after seeing the horror of how far the vile Capitol will go to win, she actively joins the rebellion.
The propaganda escalates on each side, along with the fighting, and the death toll, as the spirit of Katniss infiltrates daily life and makes things explode. The film at this point shows more and more of what occurs with the rebellion and how the masses mobilize to join in. These scenes not only expand the world of The Hunger Games, and remain true to the book, but ensure the ratings board know this is not meant for the young ones. We are talking bloody violent revolution here.
But remembering the emotional core of how this fight affects the human heart, Katniss also has the torture of seeing The Capitol twist Peeta’s soul into a nasty mess and make him a propaganda tool for their side.
Both styles of battle, mentally and physically, become more and more intense, with tearjerking moments and nailbiting danger creating a very real sense of crisis for Katniss and the people on all sides.
The path the film follows is extremely close to the book, with the only variations being some slight juggling and expanding of events, which all works for the betterment of the transfer from medium to medium. In fact, the place where most fans predicted the movie break would happen between Part One and Part Two is correct, with extra juicy additions that feel so natural, so real, and so wonderfully.
A major credit for the success of Mockingjay is Jennifer Lawrence, the Oscar winning actress who plays our bow and arrow wielding heroine Katniss. Her performance brings out so many layers of what the insanity of war does on the personal level and the big picture scale. Katniss feels all the pain of her world and its transformations thanks to Lawrence, whom I have never seen do a bad or lackluster job. She can run, cry, be shocked, shoot arrows, and sing way beyond what most actresses and actors can.
The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part One brings the fires of revolution to the fore, and darnit we cannot wait for Part Two!!
…is currently reading Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
P.S. Special thanks to @scholasticCDA for the tickets I won. Also thanks to @InspireTIBF for the Book Fair show I won the tickets at. One old friend took my picture to win, and another old friend came with me to the premiere. Where I shot a propaganda video linked to down below. Also @scholasticCDA sent me all sorts of Hunger Games goodies as well! Whew!!