THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART 1 DVD (2014)
SYNOPSIS: Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire has survived. She awakens from the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell deep inside the bunkered catacombs of District 13. Separated from some of her closest allies and fearing for their safety in the Capitol, Katniss finally agrees to be the Mockingly, the symbolic leader of the rebellion. Still uncertain as to whom she can trust, Katniss must help 13 rise from the shadows, all the while knowing that President Snow has focused his hatred into a personal vendetta against her - and her loved ones.
At this juncture, you probably have watched the entire series sans the last part of course. Else I doubt you will be keen on a movie that requires heavy knowledge of the earlier two instalments.
The ordeal of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) continues as our leading lady has been turned into a pawn/PR spokeswoman under the hands of President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) of District 13. Her BFF, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) remains in custody under President Snow (Donald Sutherland) in the Capitol. At the same time, the ruthless Snow is hell bent on destroying anyone who is associated with Everdeen.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is apparently more character-driven as compared to The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Honestly speaking, it certainly has no fanciful games, no ruthless competition between tributes whatsoever. What it has is the movie’s strong lead, Jennifer Lawrence as the PTSD suffering Katniss. Unlike the strong, decisive old Katniss Everdeen who sacrificed for her younger sister's well-being. The present Katniss spent the almost two hours duration stricken with guilt, worries and being one heck of an emo monster. Nevertheless it’s a good opportunity for Lawrence to showcase her undeniable solid acting but the audience on the other hand needs to exercise more tolerance.
As this is a bridge leading to the grand finale (or as some put it, a money grab tactic by Lionsgate to prolong the lucrative franchise), the script by Danny Strong and Peter Craig lacks the tension of its predecessors with occasional long stretches of silence and awkward close-ups even though you can’t deny the underlying themes of oppression and power struggle delves deeper and darker.
Technicalities wise, director Francis Lawrence delivers a handsomely made episode despite a breakneck pace of shooting two movies back-to-back. The combination of CG and physical effects are flawless, the sets and costumes incredibly well-done and the music score by James Newton Howard soars to greater heights with a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “The Hanging Tree” by Lawrence.
Much has been speculated of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last appearance on the big screen. Indeed, his role as Plutarch Heavensbee, Coin’s adviser in the District is given slightly more screentime whether it’s intentional or not and he never disappoints as usual. The rest of the original cast members, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland returns with many other newcomers though many are relegated to fleeting appearances.
It’s not entirely fair to call The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 a teaser or cliffhanger. It’s merely a grim buildup to the finale and also underlining the fact that Jennifer Lawrence remains a force to be reckoned with.
Running at nearly two hours, the making of Mockingjay Part 1 is a generously packed documentary that consists of eight chapters.
Hope & Rebellion: Continuing the Saga goes into details, the tone and story of the franchise.
Designing Distopia: Visual Aesthetic discuss about the creation of gigantic sets.
The various cast members (with the exception of the late Hoffman) talks about the movie in Rebels & Warriors: The Cast
Fusing Form & Function: Costume, Make-Up & Hair takes viewers on a journey of how some of the characters; hair and costume is created.
The shooting took place from Atlanta to Germany to Paris in Fighting the System: Shooting on Location.
Not all the stunts are CG including the propelling scene in the climax. District 13: Rebellion Tactics: Stunts and Special Effects takes us behind-the-scenes of how they shot the sequences.
The sound mix, CG effects and the score are discussed in Perfecting Panem: The Post-Production Process.
Taking Back Our Future: Reflections & Looking Forward delves mainly on the ending of Part 1.
A missing Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack marred this otherwise sharp and fine looking movie.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee