Last night I went to catch an early screening of Mockingjay at my local theatre. Originally, a bunch of my friends wanted to go with me today (Friday) but when I saw there was an extra screening on Thursday at 8 pm I promised my friends I’d re-watch the movie with them the next day and went with another friend a day early. I have no regrets.
For all of you who don’t know, I’m a huge fan of this series.HUGE. I devoured the books in four days and loved The Hunger Games and Catching Fire adaptions as well. I’ve seen them countless times and they never fail to amaze me. I love the themes the books and the movies explore, faith, the reality of war, politics, the power of one voice, love, family and hope. Because of this I’ve always been very vocal about how strongly I agreed with the decision to split Mockingjay into two movies. I know this decision happened to anger a lot of people, some saw it as a way for the studio to just cash in more money and other’s were just angry about the year long wait in-between the two movies. I saw everyone’s points and even agreed with some but artistically I just always saw Mockingjay as two movies. I promise that after you see this one, if your uneasy about the idea of this one being split into two movies you won’t be afterwards. Of course, you’ll still be anxious for the year long wait until part 2 but we can’t always win everything.
If you’ve read the book (which you totally should have because it should be law to always read a book before watching the movie adaption) you know the first half of Mockingjay is relatively slow compared to the first two books. I knew this and loved it. I loved that part of the books because it let us understand the characters more and most importantly, Katniss. This was the characters time to finally break, to have everything they’ve been through catch up to them and I loved how that was explored in the movie. The character’s mental state’s are explored in this one so thoroughly it’ll surely break your heart.
Now, I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of adaptions that put in scenes that aren’t originally in the book. It’s a pet peeve of mine but I’ve found if they work with the story I can live with them. While Hunger Games and Catching Fire had a few of these scenes there were quite a bit more in Mockingjay.I did not see this as a ploy to fill up time. I actually think that all the added scenes worked in the movies favour. It really gave it the power to stand on it’s own. The scenes that were added explored the politics in the story and how the revolution was spreading. It just made it easier for the viewer to properly understand how oppressed the people were in the districts and what they were planning on doing about it, also just how the political decisions by the leaders in Mockingjay were being made.
I think it’s safe to say that everyone whose read the books has some sort of idea of where the movies going to cut off. I promise you, it’s good and in the words of Jennifer Lawrence “You’re going to be really pissed”. Francis Lawrence, the director teases us a bit with the ending, a tease that made the theatre gasp. Literally. My heart may have also stopped for a few seconds there too.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to properly choose a favourite Hunger Games film. They’re all amazing and I have no doubts Mockingjay: Part 2 is going to be as well (it’s also going to break my heart, my spirit and my soul but that’s a discussion for another day). What I love about this film series is that it’s good and each movie stands on their own. They are all amazing in their own individual ways and the themes in the series grow steadily with each book.