THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 | MOVIE REVIEW

I had a great night last night attending THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 premiere in Sydney with good mate Sam thanks to Roadshow Films. Crowds of invited guests filled the cinemas and waited in anticipation to view the penultimate picture in the production (#alliterationwin). Make sure you take note, this is a Part 1, like Harry Potter, it will end smack bang in a moment of awesome and leave you distressed at a wait of exactly 370 days (at time of writing). That being said, this is THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK of the franchise, so far it is the best, it is the best paced and darkest, it is the moment before the grandiose epic conclusion and it fits the bill nicely. It is superior to the previous two films on every level, this is no longer a kid’s series, this is a world class franchise. MOCKINGJAY PART 1 is out this coming Thursday 19th in Australia (20th in U.S.), it is rated M and runs for 125mins. 

 

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY JASON KING 

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE from 2013 ended with Katniss basically exploding the games arena forcefield/ holographic wall. She was delirious and in and out of consciousness, as it happened the good guys from the secret, and long believed dead, District 13 came to the rescue and got Katniss and Finnick safely out of there before the Capitol could get their hands on them. The problem with this is that Peeta and two other tributes were left behind. Pushed beyond imaginable pain and emotional destruction Katniss is now struggling to cope with life. She never wanted a part of The Hunger Games and stood up solely to protect her sister. She also fell in love with Peeta and would do anything to protect him. The districts, seeing Katniss becoming their symbol and hope for freedom of the Capitol commence rebellion against the “leaders” of Panem and this leads to thousands of people being slaughtered in the name of order by the Capitol and dastardly evil President Snow.

All these deaths Katniss feels responsible for but nothing she can do can stop the building tsunami of rebellion she started and the people longed for. President Snow will not stop, he wants to completely destroy her in every way possible and hates anyone not of the Capitol, he sees them as mere slaves to continue his privileged life. The people are willing to die for the fight and so begins the most political and intelligent film in the franchise. This is the commencement of war, covert battle movements, propaganda and mind games. President Snow is much better at destroying the people from within and he has the master weapon against Katniss, the rebellion and Panem……….Peeta Mellark.

It is the ultimate piece of Snow’s pain puzzle, the one move that can fully push Katniss over the edge.

 

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THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | PEETA MELLARK (JOSH HUTCHERSON)

 

Katniss spends this movie in and out of torturous depression and sombre hatred towards Snow. JLaw again goes above and beyond in what appears to be the hardest role of the series for her, she is just sensational, surprisingly she burst into tears and had a set-meltdown over the oddest of issues, that she had to sing on-set, she still has not seen her singing scene and will try to avoid it forever. It must have been a heavy shoot for her to take home at nights. She borders on psychotically destroyed in the movie and the pain Snow pushes on her never relents. She returns to her own District 12 to see the devastation wreaked on it by an unhappy Snow that she outwitted yet again. Thousands upon thousands torched. It is in this and a hospital scene that you can see the warrior Katniss start to emerge from a cloud of pain. If you have read the books you know where this is going, if not you get a pretty decent idea, and it proves how stupid Snow is. Katniss is best under pressure and in anger – she is, after all, the girl on fire. You know this movie is her second act, where she is put in the worst of everything and there appears to be no hope, but like Bruce Banner, push that guy too far and he becomes the Hulk, push Katniss too far President Snow, and I cannot wait to see the clouds clear for Katniss in the Part 2. If it is as good as part one I can see a part two to rival and/ or better HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS.

Donald Sutherland is also superb, he must have so much fun being so evil, I would love it :). Woody Harrelson has a much smaller part but again he owns every scene he is in, he has so much character in front of a camera, as does Elizabeth Banks as a much more toned down but as eccentric, Effie Trinket. Julianne Moore is a brilliant addition as President Alma Coin, the leader of the rebellion, she is the other side of the coin, she is the leader of politics, she is incredibly serious and her role is very undertoned, she has a sombre position as the president of the rebellion going up against the almighty Capitol, if she fails she will see millions killed.

 

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 MOVIE IMAGE
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | PLUTARCH HEAVENSBEE (THE LATE GREAT PHILLIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN) AND PRESIDENT ALMA COIN (JULIANNE MOORE)

 

It was incredibly refreshing but sad to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman onscreen, the film is his last and it is filmed and completed in his honour, his role is flawless and you can hardly notice any digital additions made for finishing touches. I suppose I better mention the love triangled duo – they should both swing and it would be awesome, and make my day! Liam Hemsworth’s role I found him quite flat, even though I still find him one of the hottest guys on the planet, he is great as a combat warrior and shoulder for Katniss but sometimes his heart hardly seems in it. It should be noted he did fracture his ankle on the set so this may have limited some movement and made him appear a little wooden? Then there is Hutcherson, his performance in this film is sensational and for the first time it matches JLaw’s. He filmed the entire movie without his lead partners as he was in the Capitol as a hostage, his role was also much smaller than the previous outings. That being said, his performance in the last 10-15mins of this movie is his best in the entire series, the entire cinema’s jaw hit the floor.

There are a lot of new characters in the movie and a bunch of them are Katniss’ unit when she’s out in the world battling bad dudes and shooting planes down with a bow and arrow, they are also her documentary propaganda filmmakers who try and film her to play throughout the districts for motivation. Natalie Dormer, Elden Henson and Mahershala Ali being most notable but their parts in this first half of the finale are quite small, Sam (my guest for the evening) was even quite surprised that they were in it and found them quite boring. But they are all warriors and this was the quieter half, each these characters will come into their own in next year’s outing.

 

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 MOVIE IMAGE
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | GALE (LIAM HEMSOWRTH)

 

Director Francis Lawrence has given us the best movie in the franchise, a movie that has lifted the production values of everything to next level, this is possibly one of the greatest young adult movies of all time. You can also see that everyone involved got on board, everything just looks, feels and is huge, no shortcuts, epic in visuals, effects, scripts, acting and then the music, sombre dystopian brilliance including peeps like Lorde, Major Lazer with Ariana Grande, The Chemical Brothers and Tinashé. I loved this soundtrack and that of INTERSTELLAR so much, I bought them both this morning, its payday 🙂

This is definitely not for younger children and I cannot recommend this film enough. It is superb and it will be great seeing cinemas all over the country’s cinemas selling out again – this film will destroy the box office for 2014 and make everything else grovel for scraps.

Thanks for a superb night Roadshow.

 

4 and a Half Pops

 

 

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