Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review of Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I

Keywords: dystopian, oppression, propaganda, rebellion
Audience: PG-13
Violent content: shots and blood
Sexual content: one short kiss

[if you know nothing about Hunger Games series, you'll find this review unhelpful]

I went to see Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I today. I'd waited for the press screening, but somehow there was none.

The second movie of Hunger Games series was one of my favorite movies on 2013. So this is very unfortunate that Mockingjay Part 1 doesn't win my heart. It doesn't mean the movie is bad. The filmmakers have captured the essence of first half of the book well, but perhaps I expected too much. You can't blame me; they made great campaigns!

This is my favorite "trailer". So clever of them!

[mild spoilers ahead... but most of you have read the book, right?]

Mockingjay Part I is about the height propaganda war and how Katniss and Peeta are used by opposing sides. Katniss is torn seeing Peeta on television, appealing people of Panem to maintain "peace" and telling everyone that Katniss has never meant to be the Mockingjay. Toward the end of the movie, Katniss realized that she should stop eating President Snow's baits. But Capitol seems to be always one step ahead of the rebels.

In the book, Katniss too often hides away, brooding, until Gale drags her out. Fortunately, it happens only once in the movie. Compared to the previous movies, I think Mockingjay Part I focuses more on Katniss. I wish it was otherwise. I've read the book, so I want a different perspective. I want to know more about Coin and the other tributes.

Still, the movie gives me a compelling visualization of Panem. I'm intrigued by how the Hunger Games world feels so real (to the point that Bangkok protesters adopt the iconical salute). It reminds me that colonization is happening to us in different forms and scales. The movie also highlights some important things that I missed when reading the books, such as why President Snow instructed Katniss to love Peeta.

Mockingjay Part I sends us deeper to the eerie world that Suzanne Collins created. It makes us hungry for more, but it refuses to feed us enough. Perhaps that's the reason why I feel so unsatisfied.

Lastly, someone who hasn't seen the previous movies or read the book will find Mockingjay Part I boring. So if your friend wants to see Big Hero 6 instead, please give in.

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