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Movie Review: Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1

by Ashley Arnesen

On its release date of November 21, and making $250 million worldwide in its opening weekend is, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.
It is the first of two films based on the novel Mockingjay, the final book in The Hunger Games trilogy, written by Suzanne Collins, and the third out of four installments in The Hunger Games film series.
Part one of this incredible movie continues to follow Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) journey from surviving two Hunger Games and being rescued from the 75th Quarter Quell. Katniss is taken to District 13, an underground rebel facility that is hidden by the ruins of the old District 13 that the Capitol destroyed to show what happens when a rebellion starts.
The Games are finally over, no more televised events watching children and teenagers murder each other for sport and survival, it’s time for war.
After trying to cope with the Games that nearly destroyed her, Katniss declines rebel leader, President Alma Coins (Julianne Moore) request for her to continue her role as the Mockingjay. It takes efforts from Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to change her mind and to remind Katniss who the real enemy is.
Katniss goes back to her destroyed home, District 12, where she sees what President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is truly capable of. Nothing is left of District 12 besides rubble from destroyed buildings and the people who didn’t make it out in time when the bombing occurred.
This, along with seeing Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) being completely used and tortured by the Capitol, causes Katniss to agree to become the Mockingjay, a symbol of hope for the ongoing revolution, but on her own terms. (For any fans of the book, she didn’t request to kill President Snow! I know I’m just as shocked, hopefully we’ll see more in part 2).
At this point in the film we finally see the Katniss we first fell in love with, the strong-willed, stubborn, and determined girl who is ready to take down the Capitol.
Katniss is sent out to District 8 to help give hope for the wounded in a hospital and to let the rebels know that she is alive and fighting to overthrow the Capitol. On her journey to the district, a Capitol bombing squad arrives and bombs the hospital, killing everyone inside. Katniss is able to shoot down the planes and saves the district from any further destruction. During her rage against the Capitol, Katniss films propaganda (propos) to let the rebels know that President Snow just killed unarmed men, women, and children, and speaks one of the most powerful lines from the novel, “If we burn, you burn with us!”
Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) films his own propos about the bombing of district 12 where out of 8,000 people, only 900 lived. Once Gale’s and Katniss’s propos are broadcasted, strikers in District 7 kill an entire team of Peacekeepers with hidden land minds and a rebel team is able to destroy an entire dam that provides the Capitol’s electricity (insert cheering for the rebels here), forcing them to use generators, and allowing District 13 to hijack the Capitol’s newsfeed and broadcasts the propos in the Capitol.
Peeta’s interview is broadcasted to every district telling everyone this war needs to stop, but on result of seeing Katniss on TV, he gives her a warning that President Snow is coming for her.
An evacuation of District 13 to an underground bunker saves the lives of everyone inside thanks to Peeta’s warning. Once Katniss emerges, she discovers that the ground is littered in white roses (hating President Snow even more), realizing that President Snow is taunting her with Peeta’s life.
President Coin sends her own six man team to rescue the fellow victors, Peeta, Johanna Mason, and Annie Cresta, from the Capitol’s prison in the tribute center, but finds out, it was all too easy.
When Katniss goes to greet Peeta, he isn’t the same person who was left in the arena. Peeta unexpectedly attacks Katniss and strangles her into unconsciousness. When Katniss wakes up, she finds that Peeta has been tortured by the Captiol and has been “hijacked” – brainwashed into wanting to kill Katniss.
The first installment of the movie ends about halfway through the novel, the point where Peeta is rescued. This leaves Mockingjay Part 2 to cover the final half of the novel. The movies have been very true to the books so hopefully we can expect to see what the second half of the novel covers. (Spoilers ahead)
This would hopefully include allying with District 2, blowing up the Capitol’s military supply (also in District 2, whoops), Katniss gets shot (obviously lives), Johanna and Katniss actually become friends (it’s about time), The final battle in the Capitol that takes lives of innocent children and one main character (insert sad face here), deciding that it’s time for the children of the Capitol to participate in the Hunger Games, Katniss assassinating a President (which one? Not spoiling), and Katniss and some guy (also not spoiling) living happily ever after in District 12.
Prepare to be completely mesmerized by this movie. You’ll forget about your popcorn and your soda (because I did) and be too busy focusing on the amazing, captivating, and well scripted movie in front of you.