After last year’s sublime film adaptation of the second book in the series, the same team is back with the first part of the final book, The Mockingjay. The approach of splitting the last book into two movies seems to be an amazing idea from a commercial point of view, and worked really well for the Harry Potter franchise. But does Hunger Games really need to do the same? I guess not, since there isn’t really enough content to sustain two whole movies. But leave it to director Francis Lawrence to keep you riveted to the screen for 2 hours, and come out with a satisfied smile.
The plot picks up right after the events of the previous movie, with Katniss in District 13 and Peeta captured by the Capitol. The leaders of 13 are not only planning an attack on the Capitol, but also scheming ways to get more people to join their revolution. They want to use the already revered Katniss, as a symbol of resistance against the oppression of the Capitol, in order to convince people to join them in the uprising.
Yes, the content is too little to keep the movie buoyant for this long and even the scriptwriters know it. They had to throw in some emotional scenes, that do tend to feel melodramatic at times. However, there is a clever obscurity between the reality and the telecast emotional depiction of the reality, employed by the leaders of an uprising, to foment a revolution. This, in some way, vindicates the scriptwriters from those mawkish scenes.
In spite of little action compared to its predecessors and even though the plot mostly unfolds in a dull bunker of the district 13, the movie isn’t boring at any point. Once we are into the second half, there is gripping political drama with people developing Machiavellian schemes on both sides of the war, and there are scenes of life-threatening danger where our leading lady can do nothing but wait, there is suspense and there is fear. The actors do their parts wonderfully, and not surprisingly, its Jennifer Lawrence as the audacious lead, who stands out, handling the part and all its complexities with extreme deftness. The few action scenes that do pop up are breathtaking. But the real beauty and grace of the movie lies in the way the work comes together. Everything from the background music to the cinematography, fits perfectly into each other, to make not a completely flawless, but an extremely enthralling experience all the same. Francis Lawrence wins again.
It may not have been the best decision to make two movies for the final book, but if its this enjoyable, I really don’t mind watching them. I’m giving it an 8 on 10. Watch it for the acting, direction (actor Lawrence and director Lawrence!) and the awesome experience as a whole.