Photo Credit : The Hungergames.wikia.com Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch HeavensBee and Juilanne Moore as President Alma Coin in “The Hunger Games : MockingJay Part 1
If Mockingjay were to be compared to another YA film it would have to be Harry Potter and half Blood Prince. As Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) becomes an icon for the rebels of Pan Em, Harry trained his fellow wizards for a fight against Voldemort. However, the problem Katniss seems to have is that she needs constant reminding that without her there is no rebellion against the elite of Pan-Em. Instead of getting that swift kick in the ass from Dumbledore that would see Harry as the recipient, katniss is flown to look at the wreckage of her home in the rubble of District 12. It angers her, yet she still lacks the gravitas that made her so popular in the Hunger games in the first place.
As MockingJay opens we Find Katniss in the hospital wing of the underground rebel base in District 13, she is traumatized and tormented. Some nights she awakens kicking and screaming at things that aren’t even there. She imagines Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) because it comforts her. Katniss’s recovery is quick and immediately Plutarch Heavensbee, the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and president Coin (Julianne Moore) enlist her to be the “Mockingjay” for the rebels, because no revolution is without a good voice. Katniss reluctantly agrees, but has terms; Peeta, Johanna (Jena Malone), and Annie (Set Dawson) are to be rescued as soon as possible from grasps of President Snow (Donald Sutherland). She feels he may kill one of them in lieu of her defiance.
Plutarch and Coin film a series of “propos” or propaganda shorts with Katniss as the star, in a perfectly well lit and empty background designed be as if she had just walked off the battlefield. “ We fight to end this hunger for Justice!” Katniss proclaims in her first good take, but as haymitch (Woody Harreleson) retorts walking in “and that’s how a revolution dies”. He then encourages his fellow leaders to remember a time when Katniss touched them during her time in the games whether it be singing or even saving another’s life. Noting that they can’t continue to do propaganda in such a silly manor or no one will take them seriously.
Katniss is given a team of soldiers/filmmakers led by Cressida (Natalie Dormer) to film and protect her as she visits those in need thoughout the various districts oppressed by the capitol. Once they land in District 8 they visit a hospital and people reach out to Katniss and ask if she is going to help them fight the war. She obliges them, but President Snow seems to have gotten wind of this and has it bombed as they leave it. Keeping his word that anyone who is friends with the mockingjay will pay with their lives. Katniss responds via propo “I want the rebels to know I’m alive in District8 where the capitol just bombed a hospital full of unarmed men and women. We know they are and this is what they do! I have a message for president Snow you can torture us, bomb us, and blast our Districts to the ground. Fire is catching.. If we burn you burn with us!”
What follows is a series of the two powers going back and fourth with propaganda, the rebellion has Katniss and the Capitol has a brainwashed Peeta. The capitol uses peeta to calm the civil unrest and Katniss fires them up. It’s a ratings war without a Television networks to cash in on the shares.
There isn’t too much action this time around as everyone prepares for the inevitable battle that is on the horizon. Katniss’s sister Prim (Willow Shields) is given more screen time as is Gale (Liam Hemsworth) as both must support their friend in need of someone to lean on. This is of course well deserved as Katniss saved her sister from that fateful reaping years ago.
Photo Credit : Content-Img.NewsSinc.com Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games : MockingJay Part 1”
Jennifer Lawrence reminds everyone why she won the Oscar a couple years ago with a great performance as an unlikely rebel leader. Julianne Moore is grey and frail as the rebel president Alma Coin, but gives a strong performance as someone fighting for what’s right. Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Plutarch Heavensbee really provides nothing special here, but does know what he wants from Katniss as her distributor of propaganda. The film is dedicated to him due to his untimely death surrounding the film’s release as well as its sequel. Donald Sutherland is a creepy, yet reserved power that isn’t afraid to kick the rebels when they think they have beaten him at his own game. Not much can be said for Josh Hutcherson’s brainwashed Peeta as he primarily is seen from the many monitors within District 13, not really making physical appearances until the finale. Natalie Dormer however, seals the show as she directs Katniss to success with each propo driving that performance from deep within. Dormer’s Cressida is certainly a welcomed newcomer to the series.
One scene throughout the film stands out as Pollux (Elden Henson) one of the cameramen in katniss’s team tells her to sing a song listening to all the mockingjay in the background. Not only does it create a clever montage of desiring freedom, but it become a billboard topping single for Lawrence. Which Lawrence and the studio weren’t even expecting as fans bought the track off James Newton Howard’s album.
Mockingjay is solid entertainment that certainly rivals the boring Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1. The other Potter entrance that seems to find it would rather give its characters nothing do, despite going out further in the world on wild goose chase. Harry and gang may have been searching for three items as they dealt with horcroxes, but Katniss is given a slightly less intriguing task of filming propaganda. Something that she could care less about as the film slowly opens post Catching Fire. Yet, its far more entertaining and full of life even if most of the time is spent in underground bunker like Zion in The Matrix.
Photo Credit: jabberJays.net District 13