This was my most anticipated film of the year and for November, see here for further information on that. So, after looking forward to this film for 12 months, was it worth it...
The Hunger Games; Mockingjay Part 1 returns to not long after where we left off in Catching Fire, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) has been captured by the Capitol, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is holed up in District 13 under the watchful eye of President Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Katniss is recruited at the Mockingjay, the symbol of the rebellion and thrust into the limelight to rally the troops.
I loved these books, the last was my least favourite but was also the most dark and grown up of the three so I had high hopes for the movie. What it definitely did was keep to the dark tone of the book, it was much bleaker than the first two and the death and destruction seen by Katniss is a lot more jarring and heartbreaking in this one. They do a really good job of making you feel as though you are seeing these horrific scenes through your own eyes, I got a bit teary when Katniss goes to visit District 12 by herself and seeing the sights that I had toned down in my head when reading the books.
Jennifer Lawrence and the rest of the cast were brilliant as they have been in the previous two movies. The make up work on Josh Hutcherson was great, but what I couldn't get my head around was if they have all these make up techniques in the Capitol why did they let Peeta go on camera looking gaunt and sick. Logically, Peeta could have stayed looking his healthy self until Katniss sees him when he is brought back and then realised that he was being forced, after realising how damaged and gaunt he is. It's a minor gripe but it bothered me! Effie Trinket played by Elizabeth Banks brought some much needed humour to the proceedings, Banks did an amazing job of portraying someone who has been raised with everything handed to her having to fight with the 'lower classes' to save people she has actually grown to care about. Her lack of understanding of why she has this bond with these people is brilliant and provides a bit of light-heartedness in a very dark movie.
There didn't seem to be much need for splitting the final book, this one felt quite dragged out and like it could have easily been half the length it actually was. This has reinforced for me that they have only split the films for the finance side of it not because it would make better movies. Bit disappointed but it does mean I get to look forward to another instalment next year :-) I don't know if anyone else thought this, but when I read the Mockingjay book, everything that happened up to the end of this movie felt like an introduction to the real story, the attack on the Capitol. In that respect, this movie just felt like an opening to the 'real' story in the next movie.
The only part of this movie that REALLY bothered me was Jennifer Lawrence's terrible wig, it was quite obviously not her hair and looked awful to the point that I probably missed a few key points obsessing about it. (This is what happened to me with Footloose when I got obsessed with the leading ladies wide shoulders and missed most of the film because it was annoying me that much!!)
Fans will love it, even if they do find it a bit long for the story it's telling and it makes you itch for the next instalment but all in all really good adaptation of the book, kept to the story well and didn't shy away from the dark and sometimes uncomfortable.
Would have been 8 if it wasn't for that damn wig!!!