The Hunger Games - Mockingjay (Part 1) (2014)

This movie deals with the fallout from the last movie. The most recent hunger games have ended, and our hero has been whisked away to some strange new place by Diane Lane and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Diane is the least charismatic president ever to hold office. I have no idea what the process was for making her president, but it can't be part of any political system I've ever seen. She doesn't even seem aggressive enough to have simply arrested power from the people. But, she's the generally ineffectual president who makes the tough calls in this war that district 13 is having against the capital.

District 13? I thought there were only 12 districts. Well, the rumors were true - there's another district. This one supposedly was completely destroyed by the capital many years ago, and that's what started the hunger games in the first place. Now, 75 years later, this district has somehow managed to build an entire clean, modern, well-equipped, almost luxurious base of operations deep underground all without the capital's knowledge – even though there are spy satellites in the air 24-7. I think I complained about the unlikely financial structure of this world in the last review I did, but this seriously puts it over the edge.

This movie is slow. I'm not the only one who's noticing, but splitting this one book into two movies was a terrible idea. Well, it was a terrible idea for audiences to watch. The studio is making money hand over fist. This movie raked in three quarters of a billion dollars – that's some good money. The second movie has already been released at the time of this writing, but I haven't seen it. It didn't do quite as well as this movie, but it still made $650 million – not a bad haul. So, from a business perspective, this was a good idea. It just sucks for us to have to sit through a super extended movie. No, it's not is drawn out as The Hobbit series, but that doesn't make it good.

The previous two movies actually had hunger games happen in the middle of them. That means that there was a lot of action. This movie doesn't actually have any games, so the action has to come from the rebellion itself. As this is the first part in this two-part series, most of this movie is spent with the rebellion hiding underground while they listen to bombs hit above their heads. So, the movie is not exactly action-packed.

Jennifer Lawrence did a great job in the previous movies, and she brought another great performance in this movie. Her character is really flighty, but she sells each one of the emotions well enough for us to believe that she is a girl in her early 20s that has had the large helping of responsibilities simply tossed at her. She doubts herself, she doubts the people who were giving her advice, and she doubts her own convictions. Jennifer does a great job of making all of these come across to us as the audience in a way that doesn't make us judge her every time she has a crisis of doubt.

We have no resources other than food, shelter, power,
weapons, intelligence gathering, manufacturing abilities,
talented digital artists, and these tables with lights in them.
The supporting cast is still top-notch. Aside from the rather crappy actor that they cast in the second largest role for these movies, Josh Hutcherson, who admittedly has a fairly crappy character to play, they just poured talent into this movie left and right. From the young and handsome Liam Hemsworth as one of the two main love interests to the unsteady guidance of Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks to the political maneuverings of Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Donald Sutherland, this movie put in a bunch of people who could easily have carried a movie alone, but they're just supporting Jennifer's excellent portrayal of Katniss instead.

Acting was excellent
Story was good, but slow
Effects were good
Dialogue was very good
Action was lacking

Bottom Line: If you liked the others, you'll like this. This franchise is probably the best of the YA movies out there. 

3.5/5

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