Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hunger Games: The Mocking Jay, Part I - Succeeds

A few reviewers have stated that Mocking Jay, the third installment of the Hunger Games series, is a bit slower than its predecessors.  I am okay with this.  While Mocking Jay is not all special effects and action sequences, it is well acted.  I am always amazed at Jennifer Lawerence's skills as an actor.  She is a natural. What is more, she is surrounded by consummate performers. There is Donald Sutherland as President Snow who is now allowing subtle cracks to appear in the sanity of his character. There are also the ever present character performances of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Woody Harrelson.  I for one appreciate character development far more than over-blown action sequences and CGI effects. So it is a good thing that Hunger Games has chosen to let its actors work rather than try to 'wow' us with effects.

It is for this reason that Hunger Games: The Mocking Jay, Part 1 succeeds.  It is not that it has a particularly complex plot. It doesn't.  If anything, Part 1 fails to make it clear that many of the events that occur in the movie are weeks even months apart in the book.  Perhaps, the movie relies a bit too much on Lawerence's ability to cry.  The scenes of her with tears running down her cheeks, work well for the movie though and are not over-the-top. So does the character development of other characters such as Katniss Everdeen's once boyfriend, Gale Hawthorne who is played by Liam Hemsworth. Another character who continues to grow in the movies is Effie Trinket, the vacuous escort for Katniss and Peta to the Games.  Effie, played by Elizabeth Banks, grows more and more with each movie to become loyal friend and confidant.

I also must admit I find the theme of the movie to be a truly relevant one if not a bit over-simplified. It is not just a good vs. evil theme. It is a statement not just about an oppressed populace, but a statement about the have and have-nots.  If you will, it is the story of the masses who must oppose the one or two percent who have bought and control their world.  Not to be too political, there is clearly a struggle for democracy. Effie even makes an off-hand remark when she notes, "Everything old can be made new again, like democracy."  There is, in the story, a clear cost that must be paid. A revolution has cost for both establishment and rebel.   The question is what is the price?  Change is never cheap and neither is freedom.  As it says in the movie:

Hunger Games: Mocking Jay, Part 1 is well worth the watch.