The Games Are Over in “Mockingjay: Part 1”

The victors who return for the third installment of The Hunger Games are up against more than just Tributes and Gamemakers in Mockingjay Part 1.

The Quarter Quell has ended and Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) now finds herself far from the Capitol but far from home as well. The intense stress of the games has left Katniss suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the audience sees her grappling with her emotions, guilt, and loss of Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), who is in President Snow’s clutches back at the Capitol.

Katniss, her mother (Paula Malcomson), Prim (Willow Shields), and Gale (Liam Hemsworth), as well as a whole community of people are living deep underground within the protection of District 13. Years ago, 13’s defiance to the Capitol resulted in their entire district being bombed off the face of the earth. They survived underneath the radiation-soaked soil, biding their time for when they can defeat the Capitol once and for all.

The previous Head Gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour-Hoffman) has renounced his ties to the Capitol and is now working closely with District 13’s President Coin (Julianne Moore) against the city. To rally the other districts against the tyranny of the Capitol, Plutarch and President Coin plan to use propaganda posters and videos to bring people to their cause. Katniss is sought out as the emblem of revolution, and agrees to be the Mockingjay as long as President Coin vows to rescue Peeta and the other victors from the Capitol.

The controlled environments in which the propaganda clips are made come out horribly, and they wouldn’t sway anyone to the cause. Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), now sober, instructs the propaganda team to allow Katniss to see the horror outside the confines of 13 to produce a true reaction from her.

Cressida (Natalie Dormer) and her team film Gale and Katniss at various locations, including a nearby district’s makeshift hospital, where they visit the injured and revive their spirits.

President Snow catches wind of Katniss’ appearance at the hospital and gives orders to burn it; his law is that anyone associated with the Mockingjay be punished by death. A brief battle ensues, in which Katniss and Gale use their enhanced weapons created by Beeteee (Jeffrey Wright).

The pair manages to destroy some of the airships, but the hospital is already in flames. Enraged and with guilt gnawing at her heart, Katniss turns to Cressida’s cameras and points to the destruction the Capitol caused. Her face is streaked with tears as she explains how the districts will forever remain under the control of the Capitol if they don’t fight back their oppressors. Cressida has all she needs for the propaganda clips, and they instantly go viral.

In response to the Mockingjay clips, the Capitol has brainwashed Peeta to appear on Caesar Flickman’s (Stanley Tucci) talk show and persuade Katniss to end the brutality. On the last broadcast, Peeta looks physically hurt and blurts out that the Capitol knows where 13 is and that it’s planning to bomb them.

The community of 13 is sent to the lowest bunkers to wait out the attack. They survive, and President Snow leaves Katniss a gift outside 13 in the form of thousands of white roses. Keeping up her end of the bargain, Coin sends a specialized task force to the Capitol to rescue Peeta and the other victors held prisoner.

Slicing the book into two films gave the directors more time to explore Katniss’ emotional journey and her overall mental degradation. However, the film doesn’t really focus on much more than her shivering and muttering to herself in the supply closet of 13. Mockingjay Part 1 had some great imagery and passion in scenes involving Katniss, but the portrayal of the heroine is completely different than that of the book; she is much more pulled together than her book counterpart.

The film as a whole was rather underwhelming. It moved much more slowly than the other movies, but it failed to take advantage of the time available to explain how lost Katniss is at this point in the series. My hopes for Part 2 are that the directors fully explore the characters instead of only briefly showing their pain.

IMAGE TAKEN from filmofilia.com