“I have a message for President Snow: if we burn, you burn with us!” These are the words of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) as she tries to fan the flame of rebellion. I have a message as well, this is Jennifer Lawrence’s world, and we are all just living in it. When she is not winning an Oscar for another David O. Russell film, she plays everyone’s favorite Mockingjay in the popular Hunger Games series.
The games have come to an end and now the real battle is about to begin. Katniss is safe is District 13, where Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) has convinced President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) that Katniss is their Mockingjay that will unite all the districts against the capital. Katniss though is reluctant at first as she worries about Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and his safety after leaving him behind during her extraction from the Capital. After witnessing the Capital’s response to her escape, Katniss agrees to become the face of the rebellion in hopes that she can be the giuding force against the common enemy. President Snow (Donald Sutherland) has is own voice, as he uses Peeta as his own source of propaganda and attempts to convince everyone that Katniss’s motives may not be her own. While Katniss fights for the district’s rights, she also has to fight for the man she loves.
In 2010 the makers of the Harry Potter series made a decision that in order to keep the complete story of the final book in the series, they would need to make two films (but we all know its about the money). That decision was rewarded as both part one and two of “The Deathly Hallows” was a success both critically and commercially. Soon the “Twlight” film series followed the same formula, which has now become the trend as films try to milk every last dollar out of a franchise. Where things get fuzzy is the reasoning why filmmakers decide to split a book into two movies, while Harry Potter’s reason was for the size of the story, it seems “Twlight” and “The Hunger Games” are doing it just for the money. When it comes to “Mockingjay part -1 “ the story doesn’t feel complete, as you only get the build up and not any sort of payoff at all. It must have been hard to determine where to have the stopping point, without taking any of the climatic scenes from “MockingJay part-2”. So instead of the usual formula of letting everything simmer until it gets to the boiling point, “Mockinjay part-1 just gives us a lot of simmering, that leaves you unfulfilled by the end. This idea of turning one book into two films works great if the story justifies it, but the act of doing it to just double the box office total, feels like it is cheapening the material. With all that said “Mockingjay part-1”is a ok of a movie, where Lawrence usually shines in everything she does, it feels like she has outgrown this material. While “Catching Fire” seemed to gain steam and maybe start to separate the series from the other Young Adult novels out there, “Mockingjay part-1” feels more like the disappointment of the first film than the enjoyment of the second one. With all that said, it really is hard to judge a story that is not complete, so just like any time you turned in homework not completed in school, I give this film a grade of incomplete until I can see the film in its entirety.