With her side braid and spunky personality, our favorite feisty female protagonist Katniss Everdeen is back. Jennifer Lawrence takes center stage in the latest Hunger Games movie, delivering an unparalleled, emotional performance.
Based on Suzanne Collins’ bestselling trilogy, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 premiered on Friday, Nov. 21. It set box office records as 2014’s highest grossing opening.
The film picks up after Katniss, the famous girl on fire, has set off an insurgence across all twelve districts in Panem, as the districts rebel against the dictatorial, fear-instilling Capitol.
Katniss is hiding in the resistance headquarters in District 13 after having been rescued by rebels in the Third Quarter Quell, and discovering that her home district, District 12, has been destroyed by the Capitol. Peeta, played by Josh Hutcherson, has also been taken by the Capitol and held prisoner.
Following the recent trend in movie series industries, Collins’ third installment in the trilogy was split into two parts when it was adapted to the screen. Likely intended to draw in more profits, this gave the film an awkward, in-between feel, as it begins in the middle of the overall storyline with little explanation for moviegoers who haven’t seen the previous films, and ends on an unresolved note, leaving viewers feeling unsatisfied.
However, Lawrence’s performance as Katniss is absolutely stunning. Although her usual sassy attitude is present, the slower pace of the film compared to its predecessors allows viewers to see a raw, emotional side of the seemingly-invincible protagonist as she comes to terms with the loss of her home as well as Peeta’s uncertain fate.
Of course, the film’s pace also makes it less thrilling than its predecessors. The shaky camera work and action-packed arena scenes of the previous movies that kept viewers on the edge of their seats are nonexistent in the film. There are a few minor scenes depicting the rebellions occurring around Panem, however, there is no single climactic battle scene.
However, because Lawrence is able to deliver a superb, emotional performance, Mockingjay never feels dull.
The film also includes outstanding performances by multiple Hollywood superstars, including the late Philip Seymour Hoffman as a leader of the rebellion with an all-business attitude.
Donald Sutherland, who plays the menacing President Snow, leader of the corrupt government, also delivers a menacing and convincing performance, with an eerily calm, yet incredibly evil attitude.
The movie also features an outstanding soundtrack curated by Lorde, whose unique, sultry voice dominates a number of the tracks. Lorde’s chart-topping, soulful song, “A Yellow Flicker Beat” is featured during the credits—her song “Ladder Song” is also featured on the soundtrack, as well as two other songs that she collaborated on.
Overall, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, while certainly not the best of the three movies that have been released in the series, proves entertaining due to Lawrence’s captivating performance and a notable soundtrack.