The misadventures of Katniss Everdeen continue in the third instalment of The Hunger Games saga, which has now taken a cue from Twilight and split into a two-part finale. But has the preference for a box-office yield subjected the film to be an overdrawn affair with an extended-for-the-sake-of-it storyline? Well, let’s see if Katniss hits her mark this time around.
The Story: Mockingjay Part 1 continues with the events of Catching Fire with Katniss recovering after her rescue from the Quarter Quell. She awakes to find herself in a subterranean complex in District 13, where she soon discovers that her home of District 12 has been reduced to rubble by orders of President Snow. With the fate of Panem threatened by rebellion sparked by her defiance in the Hunger Games, Katniss soon discovers that she has become a vital pawn in a high stakes political revolution, which threatens to overthrow the Capitol. Things get more complicated when her trusted friend Peeta Mellark resurfaces, seemingly as a brainwashed captive of the Capitol.
What Worked: The political intrigue the Mockingjay story weaves, moving the characters away from the setting of the Hunger Games into a bigger and more important landscape. It delivers a pretty engaging dramatic feel, one where the audience is drawn into the predicament Katniss finds herself, even more so as her acts of defiance not only sparks a rebellion but also causes catastrophic events at the hands of President Snow.
What Didn’t: The story is more political than action oriented, which does make the film seem longer than necessary. In the two previous Hunger Games films, there was an equal balance between drama and action but Mockingjay tosses most of the action-oriented scenes for propaganda vignettes instead.
Plus Points: The deeper, darker tone and the high stakes politically-charged drama the film delivers.
Minus Points: Mockingjay feels longer than it should be and just a overly drawn out. And despite the notion that it’s a deeper more dramatic feel the filmmakers are going for, it does make this first instalment to the finale come off as the most boring in the series.
Conclusion: We’re not quite sure if Mockingjay needed to be divided into two parts. Yes, we can see the relevance of having an all-encompassing storyline that covers all bases, which also offers each character to develop for what we hope is an epic finale. Now, whether or not that was necessary will remain to be seen but let’s just hope that Mockingjay Part 1 was just a slow build that eventually caps off a truly epic finale to The Hunger Games series.