I loved the entire Hunger Games series of books. In truth the first, Hunger Games, was the best but unlike most people Mockingjay was always my favorite. It’s a more difficult book than the rest. There is little joy or hope but it’s depiction of the true costs of war are so real that I’ve always appreciated it’s truth. The differences between the heroes and villains is nowhere nearly as defined as most fiction would have you believe and there’s truth in that too but more importantly the true price is the pain, the death and trauma suffered by all those involved. There may be victory but there are no winners.
I had concerns going into Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 for a number of reasons. Most importantly I saw no reason for it to be broken into two films but also I was concerned they would water down the truth of it for a more Hollywood style depiction of war, thankfully on that count I was wrong. Mockingjay Pt 1 is all about image, propaganda and how the medium is the message. In a world raised on the Hunger Games it is the images of Katniss that will turn the tide not the inherent need for freedom. The Capital has their own propaganda plan using the victors they captured. While there is warfare and death in Mockingjay Pt 1, the real war is for the hearts and minds of the citizens of PanAm.
As always the performances are for the most part flawless. There are a number of changes in the film from the books but all stick to the soul of the story. The only change I truly had an issue with was Finnick Odair’s confessions of what truly becomes of the Hunger Games victors, it was used while an action scene was going on and so was continuously interrupted. The story he tells is powerful and gripping and shouldn’t have been weakened this way. If I have any complaints it’s that the stretching of the story to make two films watered it all down a bit but overall it was still very well done. It definitely didn’t shy away from the truth of it all.
I’m giving Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 4 out of 5 stars. It may be the weakest of the adaptations so far but it’s still damn good.