Popcorn and a Book (39): Mockingjay Part 1

Mockingjay VS

The Book: 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)

The Film: 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 directed by Francis Lawrence (Lionsgate)

If, like me, you weren’t a big fan of the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy, don’t let that stop you from seeing the movie because it is worth it. So worth it! The film picks up shortly after where Catching Fire left off. Katniss was rescued from the arena by the rebellion and is recuperating in District 13, while Peeta was taken by the Capitol. President Coin, the leader of District 13, wants Katniss to be the face of the rebellion as the Mockingjay and ignite action in the other districts against the Capitol.

This part in the story really shows off just how badly the Games have broken Katniss and Peeta. Jennifer Lawrence, as always, brings Katniss to vivid life but I am pleased to say that she is not the only great performance in this film. We get to see more of Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, former Head Gamesmaker, and it doesn’t matter how small of a moment he has on screen—when he’s on screen, he owns it. And Effie, played by Elizabeth Banks, gets some edge and dimension. As well, some new faces are introduced. While I don’t like the character of Cressida, I did enjoy Natalie Dormer’s portrayal (still not sure why the poster outside the theatre I went to was one of her, though, but whatever). I’m still on the fence about Julianne Moore as Coin. Great actress; unusual choice. I pictured Coin as having a harder quality.

The scenes of rebellion breaking out were what really struck me about this movie. They are powerful and intense and stayed with me long after the credits rolled. Also, I loved the haunting melody given to “The Hanging Tree” song!

This movie is dark with a sprinkling of well-placed humour. It does the book justice and, if I may be so bold, enhances it. I hate that it is in two parts but you know what? It ended at a good place and has me looking forward to the final part. Hopefully Part 2 will keep the momentum and boost my opinion of the final book. A tall order? Perhaps. But after seeing Part 1, I think Francis Lawrence just might succeed.

Have you seen the movie? Share your reactions in comments.

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