Last night, November 20 there was an advanced screening for “Horrible Bosses 2” at the CityPlace movie theater in West Palm Beach. There was a very long line to get into the theater, but it wasn’t for the advanced screening. Those lines were for the early showings of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.” It was not a surprise to see all those people waiting to see the latest entry in the successful franchise and those fans will not walk away disappointed either.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” takes place shortly after the events of the last movie, “Catching Fire.” Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has escaped the games and is now hiding out in the once thought destroyed District 13 (now that her home, District 12 has been destroyed by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and The Capital. The rebellion has begun and they want Katniss to help unify it. The Capital has a weapon of their own, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) who is still being held in The Capitol along with some of the other tributes.
Something that has irked fans with movies like “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” is studios taking the last part of the book series and splitting them up into two parts. The studios always claim it is so they can give adequate coverage to the source material, but everyone knows they are just trying to milk the series for everything they can get from it. Hey, it is show business. This book probably could have been told in its entirety from one three-hour movie. Instead fans are going to have to sit through this two hour entry and have to wait another year before they can see the final chapter.
Luckily, writers Peter Craig and Danny Strong turned in a much stronger script than the one the last movie had at its disposal. It does not take the movie long to find its legs and keep moving at an entertaining pace. Katniss is not exactly gun-ho to be the face of the rebellion at first. Once she does, there are some good action scenes and Jennifer Lawrence’s acting is so off the charts at times that it can practically move you to tears and make you want to jump into the screen and join the rebellion yourself. Movies like “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” don’t usually earn people acting nominations, but no one should complain if Lawrence nabbed another one with this role.
There’s little doubt “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” will be the #1 movie for at least the next couple of weeks. Thanksgiving is a great time to release a movie like this. If there is an upside to splitting the final entry in the film series into two parts, it is that fans still have something to look forward to next year. It is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material.