Splitting a film into two entries is a tricky concept. Creating a blockbuster that is guaranteed to lack of closure is a dangerous idea. Instead of giving the audience a complete story, the credits roll just before things begin to ramp up. Unlike television where cliffhangers are a common occurrence, studios split the story in hopes of more profits and prolonged suspense. Frankly, the concept is ruining franchises. Why make a two-hour prologue when it’s proven that movies longer than two and one-half hours can make bank?
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” continues the story of Katniss Everdeen. After the events of previous film, we see Katniss and family living underground in the long thought destroyed District 13. Her actions have sparked a rebellion as The Capital seeks to quell it at every turn. Other survivors coax her out of hiding to unite the Districts and take down The Capital tyrannical rule. As a battle between the haves and have-nots becomes closer to breaking out, Katniss tries to save Peeta and liberate her fellow citizens.
For a two hour film, which is likely going to have an equally long counterpart, introduces a slew of new characters and storylines. The problem with the extra screen time is the inclusion of a great deal of unnecessary elements. The success of the previous films was Jennifer Lawrence and her embodiment of Katniss. She balances strong with vulnerable, making her a great role model for young girls. Here, she becomes a puppet of propaganda aiming to help fuel the rebellion and bring her friends home.
The first film was a welcome surprise, followed up with a sequel that easily upped the ante. By having a third and fourth film intended to close the saga, the strength of the story suffers. The franchise is starting to show age and thin plotting along the lines. Though it is still an enjoyable story, and an almost complete one, it still suffers from a lack of climax. The other side of the coin is the storyline about propaganda and lionizing Katniss as the face of the revolution. Allusions to standoffs and clichés of similarly setup films, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” is the weakest of the series. Though the grand finale will likely make this film gel better. On its own, the film deviates for the style and tone of the earlier films. A darker, bleaker story unfolds than the David-versus-Goliath games of the arena. 2.5 out of 5 stars
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