Under Review: Mockingjay, Part 1

Preceded by The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, this third installment in the Hunger Games series will be joined by Mockingjay: Part 2 next November, according to IMDb.

Preceded by “The Hunger Games” and “Catching Fire,” this third installment in the Hunger Games series will be joined by “Mockingjay: Part 2” next November, according to IMDb.

Michael VerMeulen, Staff Writer

Despite its fine acting and camera shots, “Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1” just does not have enough plot to be satisfying.

Directed by Francis Lawrence, Part 1 of the final episode of the Hunger Games series begins its story soon after “Catching Fire.” Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has escaped to District 13 and is recovering from her experiences in the Quarter Quell, a special anniversary Hunger Games. The districts’ revolution against the Capitol has intensified, and leaders such as President Coin (Julianne Moore) want Katniss to serve as a symbol to inspire further rebellion.

The film’s high production value greatly assists its look and feel, as the environment feels believable and real even with the dystopian setting. The direction is smooth and clean.

Jennifer Lawrence again gives a solid performance as Katniss by accurately showing her PTSD from the Hunger Games and the grief of losing people whom she cares about.

Supporting players like Natalie Dormer and Elizabeth Banks also provide depth, while the late Philip Seymour Hoffman demonstrates his great skill as the propaganda master Plutarch Heavensbee, who helps spearhead the message of rebellion that is spread to the districts.

Despite the superb acting, the flim lacks substantial plot until its final moments. While the individual scenes aren’t bad and sometimes give decent character development and atmosphere, the actual story seems to stall for the majority of the run time. Scenes in which Katniss is filmed by a camera crew for propaganda take up a large portion of the film, and there are almost no tense moments until the end.

The lack of action scenes is also apparent because there are not enough gripping moments for viewers to be thrilled without them. Furthermore, the movie cuts off right when it is about to reach its natural climax and leaves the audience slightly unsatisfied.

Ultimately, an all-star cast and exciting camera angles are not enough to help this penultimate installment of the Hunger Games live up to its potential.

Mockingjay-Part 1” runs 123 minutes and is rated PG-13 for violence, action, disturbing images and themes.