Movie Review: Mockingjay Pt 1

Posted November 23, 2014 by Kara in movie review / 5 Comments


I just got home from seeing Mockingjay Part 1 during the Thursday night premier and I HAD to have an outlet to purge all of my feelings. I loved this book series and Mockingjay was my favorite book of the three – I know, I’m in the minority here. So I had quite a lot of expectations and some trepidations especially since it was split into two movies. I’m actually pleasantly surprised by tonight’s outcome. I loved a lot of this movie, even though it was a bit on the slower side compared to the other two. I do have some problems with it, as well, though. It wasn’t perfect, but it was great.

What I Didn’t Like

Just to get this out of the way early before I can go to the gushing, here are a few of my major issues.

  • Jennifer Lawrence and Lesser Hemsworth just have no chemistry at all. None of the small romance bits – or even just the friendship-building bits – just weren’t believable. They are great at their characters separately, but the actors themselves were just not attuned to one another in any meaningful way. It did get better as it went along, I will admit. But just like in the other two movies, the first scene between Katniss and Gale was just stilted and awkward. (Anyone remember the “catnip” scene? Yikes.)
  • Peeta’s CGI body. Look. Peeta was being tortured in the Capitol and so he had to show signs of the starvation and other physical manifestations of that torture. However, I don’t think CGI was the way to go here. His head looked enormous and his CGI neck looked ridiculous. The ribs on his chest just looked goofy. They should have just stuck to makeup because his face looked fine. But his body just looked silly.
  • Not enough emotion. Because they cut it off before all the Real Bad Shit happened, it wasn’t as gutwrenching as it could have been. Part 2 is going to kick my ass though.
  • They could have spent a little more time on Finnick. In the books he kind of loses it and sort of regresses and acts childlike. In the movie, he’s pretty lucid at the beginning. There are a few scenes where he’s kind of loopy. And then there’s his propaganda video, and he’s perfectly fine again. And they spent NO time explaining his habitual knot tying. I feel like his character really got the shitty end of the stick in the books and it would have been better to give him the attention he deserves in the movie.

What I Did Like

  • Gale! I wasn’t a BIG fan of Hemsworth as Gale before, but we got to know Gale a LOT better in this movie and the payoff was awesome. We get to see him doing all the awesome special ops-like stuff and it was just so perfect for this actor and this character. Another thing: the only time I actually FELT anything, the only time I actually cried, was during Gale’s recollection of the bombings in District 12.
  • Every scene with President Snow in it. We get to really understand Snow’s feelings toward Katniss now. I saw a bit of an interview with Sutherland where he was talking about Snow’s respect for Katniss and his excitement in dealing with her. He was pleased to find someone who was almost a match for him. This really showed through the script and Sutherland was just magic on the screen.
  • Cressida! I’m probably biased but I thought Natalie Dormer was awesome as Cressida. She had the right balance of toughness and attitude with playfulness and her Capitol roots really came through onscreen.
  • District 13 was just so cool. It was exactly how I imagined it in my head. I do wish there was more Life in District 13 shown but I know they only had so much time. The scene where they all had to evacuate to shelters was great at showing just how enormous the bunkers are and how controlled the citizens of 13 were. They are completely militarized and they’re so prepared.
  • The scene in District 8. This was probably some of the best acting from JLaw (who I’m not the biggest fan of as an actor. *shrug*) The producers pulled a grand total of zero punches when showing us the real horrors of the Capitol’s actions. People were suffering in deplorable conditions. There were mounds of dead bodies. It was horrifying. And when the Capitol bombed the hospital? Forget it. I thought the “You burn with us” line would be cheesy as hell, but the way it was delivered totally worked inside the context of the rest of the movie (the trailer? not so much.)

Bottom Line

I verily and muchly loved this movie. I’m still pissed off that they broke the movies into Parts 1 & 2. But that aside, I thought this was the perfect adaptation. Knowing that there are details that are going to be lost in translation, I still believe that this was incredibly close to the book itself. There were key scenes I was excited about seeing and the movie absolutely delivered on it. If you’re on the fence about seeing this in the theater – DO IT. Go! It’s totally worth it and the ending was awesome!



5 responses to “Movie Review: Mockingjay Pt 1

  1. Kate C.

    Excellent review. I’m with you all the way, Mockingjay was totally my fave of the three, so you’re not alone! That ending is just so kick ass!
    I feel like I always pick the weird book of a series to love. My fave Harry Potter was Order of the Phoenix. Everyone hates that book, but I see it as the first time Harry takes a leadership role and I loved it for that.

  2. Great movie review. I admit, I didn’t remember the book much because even though I didn’t hate it, it was my least favorite of them. I loved the movie though. And OMG the scene in District 8 and “The Hanging Tree” scene got my emotions going. I do wish there had been a bit more emotional punch, and more of Finnick’s story, but overall it was great. I also really liked how they changed things up with Effie. (You know what I’m talking about) Though much different from the book, I can see why they would do it that way for the movie. It also cut out other characters, but it worked well. I want to see it again before it leaves the theaters.
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    • Yeah there were some characters cut out, particularly District 12 people. I really wish they’d show us Gale’s family already. It’s like he and Peeta just popped into the world fully formed without any family or history outside of Katniss. Fine for the book, but since the movie isn’t first person, there’s no reason not to include them.

  3. Great review! I haven’t watched the second movie yet, although I do plan on watching it eventually. Glad to hear they stayed through to the book. Book 3 was my least favourite book and I am not sure if I am happy about splitting it in 2, but then again it probably brings them more money this way and they can stay closer to the book.
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  4. The last book was my favourite too. Can’t understand why people didn’t like it? If it was all about the games, it’d be a pointless series, there’s got to be some sort of uprising right? That was Mockingjay. Anyway.. Hearing about Finnick is a shame because I really really liked him in both novels, he really was affected by everything and more should have been spent on him I think, damn.. Yeah, I definitely need to watch this film as soon as possible, but money! 🙁 So pleased you enjoyed it though Bekka, most people seemed to have which is nice 😀
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