And it’s fitting because The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is exactly that, the first part of the conclusion to the massively popular teen friendly near future dystopia-’em-up.
Picking up immediately after The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, we join the plucky heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) who in the aftermath of the 75th Games has been whisked away to District 13 by the anti -Capitol rebels led by Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and President Coin (Julianne Moore).
But rebellion doesn’t come easy, especially as Katniss’s childhood friend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) was left behind, captured and is being used by evil Capitol President Snow (Donald Sutherland) to spread morale-sapping propaganda messages.
What’s a girl to do? Well Katniss takes on being the rebels’ symbol of resistance – the Mockingjay – and inspires those sworn to take down the corrupt Capitol regime in planning just how they might fight for freedom for all the districts.
As the Capitol begins to up the ante by blanket bombing District 13, the rebels strike back by knocking out one of the main hydro-electricity dams which disrupts power to their anti-air defences and allows for a potential daring mission led by Katniss’s romantic interest Gale (Liam Hemsworth). As Katniss says: “I have a message for President Snow: If we burn, you burn with us!”
So Mockingjay moves the action beyond the original Hunger Games and replaces the life and death arena struggles with a grittier bigger picture of all-out civil war. Having not read the books I was pleasantly surprised because I wasn’t looking forward to any more ‘games’ and was wondering where author Suzanne Collins was going to take the action.
With kick ass special effects, several nail-biting set pieces and an overall ramp- up of tension, Mockingjay delivers not just an interesting political element but also a rousing human spirit adventure which is well worth checking out for fans of the books and sci-fi movie lovers, too.
As this is only ‘Part 1’ the end of Mockingjay is left hanging, meaning that viewers will have to come back and find out how it all ends.