I caught this movie over the weekend and wow, I do miss the feeling of watching a blockbuster at the cinemas. I've read Hunger Games and Catching Fire, but purposely left Mockingjay untouched so that I would be more excited for the movie (but guess which impatient person has actually wiki-ed the plot years ago).
Coming from the perspective of someone who hasn't read the book but know just enough to anticipate what the movie is going to be about, I think this movie was great. It was such a joy to watch good actors act. The big screen enlarges their emotions and you see their feelings being expressed through their eyes. Jennifer Lawrence still rocks at being Kaitness but other than that, I really enjoyed watching Julianne Moore's rendition of President Coin (I'm very, very ashamed to admit that I always thought President Coin was a male, based on a skim read over Wikipedia ages ago.)
Things I've loved about the movie (not in chronological order):
- We're allowed time to experience each emotion in depth with Kaitness, instead of being hurried through a flurry of actions. That is of course because most of the action is going to be in Part 2, so Part 1 is mostly about building up to the grand finale.
- Effie's apperance in Mockingjay. As far as I understand, Effie doesn't appear that much in the book so I'm really pleased to see her again. She provides so much comic relief for this dark movie and I love it especially when she knows how important she is – she is not just an airhead, she knows her stuff.
- Kaitness' song 'Hanging Tree' around the middle of the movie. If you haven't heard it yet, LOOK FORWARD to it because Jennifer Lawrence's voice and the chorus of singing afterwards gave me chills. This is one song that is so simple but builds up to so much haunting emotions.
- Josh Hutcherson's portrayl of a crazy Peeta. I actually jumped when he crashed onto Kaitness and urgh, the whole scene was just disturbing. In a good way?
- How President Coin learns to be a better speaker with obvious help from Plutarch Heavensbee.
- When Kaitness shot down a hovercraft – her synchronised action with Gale was so cool.
- Kaitness' horrible acting for the propaganda movie. HAHA.
- An almost Inception-like manner as the audience of the movie watches the propaganda videos which were produced for the other districts. These videos were made just like trailers of any blockbuster movies. It highlights how people of an uprising rebellion can be manipulated with words and images, a method which something so starkly different like a blockbuster movie uses too.
- How Peeta's warning gave the rebels extra minutes to evacuate, and how these extra minutes were enough to save everyone.
Things I didn't like:
- That OMG moment when Kaitness discovered that President Snow had left behind a crater-full of roses. I felt like the moment could have left so much more impact, but due to the lack of music/whatever (perhaps? I wasn't really paying attention to what was going on because I didn't know it was gonna be a moment) it simply became a scene where Kaitness looked at something in front of her in shock, and then oh okay…she took up a rose. Yeap.
- Repetition of Kaitness surveying damage – felt that the movie was trying to stuff more of these scenes in to lengthen the movie.
- Kaitness being forced to react rather than having an active role in her decisions. Then yet again, this is an interesting point to note how Kaitness who was once being used by the Capitol is now used by the rebellion.
- When Kaitness kissed Gale. Okay for you guys who have read the book, it all makes sense to you. But for me, I was just like What?? Didn't you just spend an entire movie pining for Peeta? I do like Gale's statement after that. Short but on point, about how he has to be in pain before she notices him.
- The ending could have been more impactful, even as it is not a cliffhanger per se. My ideas might be cliche, but I thought a shot of Peeta staring at Kaitness, or at the camera might have brought chills. Or perhaps if President Coin's speech could contrast even more with Peeta's situation, like an emphasis on how the Victors have their freedom back/are happy/are well etc. You get the gist. I do recognise that the speech already touched on freeing the Victors but it didn't contrast very starkly with Peeta's situation in my opinion, since the speech was more to brag about what the rebels have managed to done, rather than putting a focus on the state of the Victors.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed the movie. I like it for how it explores political ideas (manipulation, war of words, propaganda, tools, taunting etc) and for how dark it is. It is a build-up to the finale, everyone knows that, but for a build-up, I think it has done a decent job. You don't get bored (unless you thrive on action, then well…) and you are left wanting to watch more, to know more, to interact more with this world.