By Helen Roddey
I have always been a firm believer in the “read the book before seeing the movie” rule and Mockingjay was no exception. Although busy life at Collegiate offers me little time to read many books outside of the realm of my English homework, I have managed to carve out the time to read the necessary series (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and even, regrettably, The Twilight Saga….). In this case, I was very grateful to have stuck to my rule because it saved me from the confusion and anger of those around me in the theater.
Mockingjay followed the profitable example of the final movies from both the Harry Potter series and The Twilight Saga by deciding to split their movie into two parts. To Hunger Games fans like myself, this is positive in its ability to lengthen the excitement of the series debut on the big screen. However, to the non-book-reading viewers, it meant that the cliffhanger that unsurprisingly ended the movie was that much more painful. To make matters worse, the producers have decided to postpone the showing of the second part, which they had already filmed upon the release of the first half of Mockingjay, until November of next year. These people will likely tell you that the movie was terrible and confusing, but they brought it upon themselves and cannot be trusted to offer an unbiased opinion.
My opinion is likely biased as well but unfortunately that is usually the case with movie reviews. I was very pleased with the way the directors adapted the book to the screen without straying too heavily from the original plot or having to cut any major scenes to create a reasonable length for the film- another positive of splitting the book into two movies. I have heard complaints that the movie drags on in both the characters’ despair and the lack of action but both of these themes were established by the books and therefore cannot be lost in the movies to appease Hollywood’s need for a happy ending. The more subdued action also serves as a nice respite from the previous movies’ death pageants and the final movie’s impending war. Mockingjay: Part 2 will most likely quell this disappointment in this absence of action but will lack the emotions that the less action-packed first movie was able to establish in its milder plot.
I would strongly recommend this movie to both the series readers and even the non-readers as I am sure that the film’s attention to detail, top-tier acting, and emotional pull will make up for any bitterness towards the devastating cliff-hanger. The only criticism I would give to this movie would be its musical byproduct- an iTunes Top 20 song called “The Hanging Tree” that has become inescapable on the radio and often plants itself in my head for hours on end. To be fair, the producers never could have guessed the popularity that this simple tune, which occupied a maximum of three minutes on the screen, would garner so rapidly, but it is Jennifer Lawrence singing- she probably could have put “Happy” back on the Top 20.