“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” Soars

By ERIC BRETT

Thanksgiving weekend 2014 welcomed the release of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1.” The movie came out one year after fans were left on the edge of their seats during the, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (click here for review).  Millions of fans across the nation braved long lines and packed theaters during the holiday weekend. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” earned over $200 million dollars at the box office, making it this year’s biggest opening weekend of 2014.

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” continues the epic saga of Katniss Everdeen. After returning from her second appearance in the Hunger Games, Katniss witnesses the destruction of all the districts by the Capitol, the official government of Panem. District 13, where Katniss and her family along with other District 12 residents are now living, commences its rebellion against the evil President Snow and the Capitol. Katniss is chosen to be the “mockingjay,” the symbol representing the rebellion against the Capitol. Alongside her effort to destroy the Capitol, Katniss is also determined to save Peeta from the treacherous government.

 

The entire cast is back.  Jennifer Lawrence returns as the heroine, Katniss Everdeen, and Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth return as Peeta and Gale.  Other recurring characters include Woody Harrelson as Haymitch and Elizabeth Banks as the always hilarious Effie.  Donald Sutherland reprises his role as the evil President Snow and is featured throughout the film in new scenes that were not included in the novel.  In one of his final performances, the esteemed Phillip Seymour Hoffman portrays the Quarter Quell Gamemaker turned rebel mastermind Plutarch Heavensbee.  Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Willow Shields, and Jeffery Wright also return in their respective roles.  New to the cast are Julianne Moore as President Coin, “Game of Thrones” star Natalie Dormer as Cressida, and Mahershala Ali of “House of Cards” fame as Boggs.

This thrilling, two-hour movie is just as entertaining as the first two films in “The Hunger Games” saga. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” is action-packed and easy to understand, even if you haven’t read the books. While it doesn’t portray the entire third book, it gives fans the ultimate cliffhanger. The film ends with a dramatic cliffhanger that viewers won’t be able to see until the epic finale which is set to be released in theaters on November 20th, 2015.

While “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” is a great picture, some may find that it progresses at a slower pace than the previous films, which may be due to it only covering the first half of the final book. Jericho High School junior Tyler Bloch said, “I found it more dramatic, but also a lot slower. I would give it two stars out of five.”

Overall, this movie deserves four out of five hawks because of its casting, excitement, and entertainment.

 

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