Movie Review: Mockingjay Part 1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, the first of another needless Hollywood two-parter final chapter, will be the next film to be featured in the Campus Activities Board’s ongoing series of movie nights on campus. Rated PG-13, the film will be shown in the Phelps Theatre March 5 and 6.

Students who attend the event will be able to watch the film before it is released on Blu-ray and DVD and will also be able to simulate the traditional movie-going experience with free candy and drinks provided by the CAB office.

Set immediately after the events of its predecessor Catching Fire, Mockingjay — Part 1 continues the story of Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. This time, however, the two appear to be pitted against one another, with Katniss accepting her role as a symbol for the resistance movement against Panem and its President Snow, while Peeta — who was kidnapped by Snow’s men at the end of the previous installment — publicly speaks out against the rebellion on the Capitol’s behalf.

Though the previous film opened new doors for the widely beloved young adult film franchise, the most recent edition mostly fizzles. This is due in large part to a poorly written script, which suffers primarily from weak character development and an overly simplistic plot.

The most interesting aspect of Mockingjay — Part 1’s overall story is the manifestation of PTSD-like symptoms in its central character and a few of its supporting characters, but even this chance to redeem the film falls flat.

The addition of Julianne Moore to the cast as District 13’s President Coin and increased screen time for Donald Sutherland’s brilliant performance as the film’s chilling antagonist President Snow, as well as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Plutarch, also prove not enough to elevate the film to the heights of its predecessor.

Overall, though, what hurts the film the most is its abrupt ending. Based on Suzanne Collins’ popular book trilogy, the Mockingjay storyline was never meant to be presented in two parts, and the screenwriters responsible for the film failed to make the concluding chapter’s now two-parter nature work for the franchise.

Just as the story truly begins to pick up, the audience is left staring at yet another unwelcomed end credits sequence come too soon, as they have been so many times in recent years due to Hollywood’s need to milk every franchise it has for as much money as it can get.

Hopefully, for the fans’ sake, Mockingjay — Part 2 will make the lackluster journey of Part 1 worth the disappointment.

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