“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” is a success

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Michelle Kumar, Staff Writer

For a Thursday night at Wynnsong, anticipation was high and the theater was filled with people waiting to see “Mockingjay Part 1.” I was one of them, because for a book to movie adaptation “The Hunger Games” trilogy has yet to let me down. Of course, when it comes to adaptations of a good book, my expectations have always been high and pretty strict. When the movies first came out I was surprised but not completely blown away, and I was expecting the same with Mockingjay. Let me be the first to admit I was wrong because “Mockingjay” blew my mind.

For this installment Francis Lawrence returns as the director, so the style is similar to it’s predecessor but is improved as well. Likewise the overall film is darker. To join the main cast, Julianne Moore stars as President Coin, Natalie Dormer as Cressida and Patina Miller as Commander Paylor. Plutarch Heavensbee continues to be portrayed by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.

In Catching Fire we left Katniss on a hovercraft heading to District 13 after she screwed over the Capitol (again) and broke the force field, shutting down the arena. She is rescued by Plutarch and Haymitch, only to find out she was part of an elaborate rebel scheme the entire time. She finds out she was the only tribute that was rescued and the rest were taken by the Capitol. The movie ends with Gale telling her District 12 is gone.

Mockingjay Part One picks up a little after that and we find Katniss trying to recover from a nightmare in the pipes of District 13. The action picks right up with Katniss agreeing to be the mockingjay, the symbol to fuel the revolution. She visits District 12 and 8 to shoot some propaganda videos. But as we all know Katniss never gets a break and is targeted by Snow in District 8, where he bombs a hospital full of innocent people to prove a point. This sets off some more action and leads to the rescue mission of Johanna and Peeta, the tributes who were taken by the Capitol. In the end we learn that Peeta has been tortured with tracker-jacker venom to fear Katniss. The movie ends with Katniss watching Peeta. When I heard they were splitting the movie into two parts I was disappointed, but the split was executed well and done in a fantastic way.

Of course if you’re strict with your adaptations, there are a few key differences to note between the book and movie. First, one of the best lines of the book was left out (who knows maybe they’re saving it for part two). When Katniss is negotiating her terms for being the mockingjay with President Coin she demands to be the one to kill Snow, however this was left out in the movie. That was a huge moment for Katniss because we see her turn from a confused girl from District 12 into what the games made her; a protecter who is willing to kill to save those she loves. Secondly Effie is also in District 13 with Katniss, which is the biggest difference. Instead of rescuing Ovtavia, Venius and Flavia (Katniss’ prep team) Effie fills their position and plays a larger role in what Katniss does throughout the movie. Effie is one of the few people who know Katniss well, so this makes her transition a lot easier in the movie than it was in the book. Effie also portrays the twisted logic of the Capitol as she comes to accept the rebellion, so at this point the movie goes deeper than the book.

The movie was amazing from start to finish, but if I had to pick out my favorite parts I would narrow it down to three. The first one being in the beginning when Katniss has a dream/flashback of Peeta. This one is a little biased just because I’ve always been Team Peeta, the scene really showed just how important Peeta is to Katniss. The second one being when Katniss sings the hanging tree and it turns into this fantastic montage with District 5 marching to the beat and blowing up the dam. I got chills and it was an amazing moment just to see the Districts finally realize their own power and fight for themselves. Finally the rescue mission scene because it was very stressful to watch. At that point in the movie I was hiding beneath my scarf and biting my nails because I was nervous, I knew what was going to happen but the way it was played really kept me on edge.

Considering the movie was so great it’s very hard to think of negatives. I have to be really picky in order to think of anything. The movie is meant to be in HD and they want to make you feel like you’re there. This led to me feeling, at some points, like I was watching a really bad episode of Survivor.  Gale (Katniss’ best friend and brief love interest) is a lot more involved in the plot in this movie however the series continue to make Gale’s character pointless and under-develop the original character. Gale is a soldier and does a lot of the fighting as he protects Katniss but his moments of  glory were few and far in between. He’s supposed to be a lot more emotional and closer to Katniss but the we don’t get to see that on screen as much. Hopefully that changes for part two.

Overall if you’re headed to the movie theater soon, go see Mockingjay. The production and graphics were excellent, and I think this installment will please a majority of people. This is stretching it, but the movie just might be better than the book. I think we can all collectively agree as a book, Mockingjay was a bit dry, but the movie wasn’t. It held my interest the entire time which is more than I can say for the book. Part two will be out in November 2015.