Mockingjay leaves audience anticipating part two

Jessica Sieling , Managing Editor

November 21, 2014 marked the release of the highly anticipated movie The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, the third movie installment in the dystopian series. The movies are based on the novels of the same title written and adapted by Suzanne Collins. The third movie, although definitely a build up for the next movie, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, stayed relatively true to the novel and proved to be a nice edition to the previous movies. It left watchers intrigued, emotional and ready for the next movie.

The Hunger Games series, which includes The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, tells the story of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), and her long and tedious journey through life in a dystopian society. Panam, the future of America, is made up of twelve districts that are controlled by the tyrant center of the country, The Capital. The Capital is under the direction of President Snow (Donald Sutherland), and in the first novel the audience is introduced to the horrifying concept of the Hunger Games, an annual brutal competition in which two children from each district are randomly chosen and forced to fight to the death in an arena for the whole country to see. The Games are a product of the Capital to remind the districts of their power and the first movie focuses on Katniss as she and her district-mate Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), try to survive the Games.

The second movie, Catching Fire, follows Katniss and her struggle to maintain her normal life and stay alive after the rebellious act that ended the first novel continues to haunt her.  The movie is focused on Katniss and Peeta as they are once again thrown in the Games and forced to fight other previous victor of the competition.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, written by Peter Craig and Danny Strong and directed by Francis Lawrence, picks up closely after where the second movie ends; Katniss realizes that her life will never be the same after her experience with the Capital and the Games have sparked a rebellion throughout the country. With Peeta in the Capital’s hands and marked as the Capital’s enemy, Katniss is now chosen to represent the rebellion as becoming “The Mockingjay”, a symbol of hope to all of the suffering districts that had been repressed under the Capital’s laws.

Because the novel was spilt into two different parts, with most of the action and plot advances happening in the second half, Mockingjay Part 1 worked more as a transitional film. It held a lot of importance is showing the progression of the rebellion, however it did lack some of the action that the other two movies held. But that did not make the movie less interesting. On the contrary, the lack of action allowed time to emphasize Katniss’ character development and really show more of what was really going on in her head. The movie explores Katniss’ thoughts on the deaths of many of her friends, Peeta and how is his captured by the Capital, and even her best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and her feelings for him.

Many of the characters from the previous movies returned, including my personal favorites Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), Finnick (Sam Claflin) and Effie (Elizabeth Banks). The late Philip Seymour Hoffman was also played a large part in the movie as Plutarch Heavensbee, despite his tragic death earlier this year. Lionsgate has also released that he will be in the next movie, as he had already finished filming the majority of the movie with the exception of one unfinished scene.

The movie also welcomed some new faces in the mix, with Julianne Moore portraying President Alma Coin, the director of district 13 and the leader of the rebellion, Mahershala Ali playing the head defense director Boggs, and Natalie Dormer playing the spunky director Cressida.

Overall, the movie did fairly well in theaters, making $121,897,634 its opening weekend and as of now it has made an estimate of $257,700,000 total. The movie has also received some mix reviews, getting a score of 65 percent of Rotten Tomatoes.

Personally, I really enjoyed the movie. I thought that it had a nice mixture of plot and character development, and I especially like where the writers chose to end the movie. It was not so dramatic that the audience was confused but it left enough room for them to wonder what would come next. As someone who read the novels a few years ago, it was interesting to see the things that I forgot and try to remember what was coming next. Compared to the other two movies, I think that Mockingjay Part 1 is better then the first movie, but not as good as the second movie, Catching Fire, which is also my favorite novel of the three.

The next and final film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, is set to come out in theaters on November 20, 2015.