Back when “The Hunger Games” came out in 2012 I enjoyed the movie so much that I decided that I wanted to read the books.
My goal was to read all three books before “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” came out last Thanksgiving. I made my goal with plenty of time. I really enjoyed reading “The Hunger Games” even though I knew what was going to happen. “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” was my favorite of the series. Unfortunately, I did not really care, like most people I know, for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay”. I found the third book to be the least interesting and I found that Katniss became a very passive character in the third book.
I found that the last quarter of the book was the only part of the book that was any good. Considering the fact that the third book of the Hunger Games trilogy is bar far the weakest of the series left me convinced that the only reason for splitting the last book into two movies was nothing but greed. I decided to see the movie anyway because I like the cast that is involved but I was almost dreading it. I didn’t see how they could make a good movie out of the first half of a book that doesn’t get good until the end.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1”. I don’t think I’ll ever be convinced that splitting the lackluster third book into two movies wasn’t purely based on financial greed but if I can put that aside an view the movie on its own terms I think it’s pretty darn good for what it is.
What has ALWAYS made the Hunger Games films special is the cast involved and that is what saves this movie. Jennifer Lawrence manages to keep Katniss from becoming the passive pawn that she is in the third book. It really speaks to her talent that in a story where I know what is going to happen she can still move to tears.
I have not been a fan of Liam Hemsworth in these movies, but that is really more about the character than his performance. He is passable but he once again fails to really make me care about dale. Josh Hutcherson is barely in this movie but he makes the most out of the screen time that he does have. Woody Harrelson and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman do a good job as well.
I found Julianne Moore to be quite effective as President Coin, the leader to district 13. Of course, Donald Sutherland is fantastic as President Snow. It was nice to see Natalie Dormer playing a modern role because as effective as she is on “Game of Thrones” it would be really easy for her to get type cast after playing a similar character on “The Tutors”.
As good as all the actors are it is one person who singlehandedly saves the first half of this movie from being the dreary snooze fest it is in the book and that is Elizabeth Banks as Effie.
I said to my husband that the filmmakers actually needed to make some changes from the book if they were going to make “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” a passible movie and by adding Effie(who basically only as a cameo in the book) to the first movie they have done just that. Elizabeth Banks steals every scene that she is in and really does a great job.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” is worth seeing in the theatre if you haven’t already. If you’ve read the books you can take heart that the movie improves on the source material and if you haven’t you’ll be in for a great cliffhanger.
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