Third Hunger Games Movie Disappoints

by Johanna Wong

by Johanna Wong

By Devon Stoeber

by Johanna Wong

by Johanna Wong

The third film in the Hunger Games series, “Mockingjay: Part One” based on the book by Suzanne Collins, was not the film many fans were hoping for. The movie follows the story of Katniss Everdeen, a girl living in a futuristic setting in the country of Panem. Katniss and her friends and family struggle to survive after Katniss volunteers in the place of her sister in the annual “Hunger Games,” a battle to the death. The role of the Hunger Games is to remind citizens of the power the governing people have in the “Capitol” and to create fear among Panem’s 12 districts.

As a long-time Hunger Games fan, I may have been a little too critical of the simplicity of the film, however the director had a very bland way of expressing a very bold and deep concept. The third book seems to be the least popular book in the series, and the film apparently followed a similar path. It is as though the director tried too hard to keep the plot the exact same as the book in hopes of not angering the fans. However, because of this the film was so direct it seemed forced, which took away a lot of the emotional power that the book had. I knew the characters already, but I would assume that someone who did not read the books would be unable to understand some of the emotional pain the characters feel in Mockingjay. The last book is often criticized as depressing and the director seemed to do nothing in hopes of improving this. Without the glam and glitz of the Capitol, the final movie is dreary and lacks a lot of the humor of the previous two films. While it is understood that the plot is dark and depressing, I feel there could have been another way to improve parts of the movie that the book did not, such as including more of the Capitol.

Another aspect I found frustrating was the decision to cut the movie into two parts. It is clear that this was only a ploy to make more money off of the series considering the last book isn’t at all longer than the previous two books. It does not make sense to cut the story in half because it is necessary that the plot progresses quickly and action is taken immediately, rather than dragging out each individual scene. Because of the decision to make two films, the first film felt like nothing happened because there was so much of Katniss crying or scenes which left the audience rather bored. Worst of all, the place where the director decided to cut off “Mockingjay: Part One” left me furious and confused because to my recollection there is hardly anything good that comes in the remaining part of the book, leaving only a fight and a blood bath for the final film.

The only thing redeeming quality of the film was the amazing casting. Each character is portrayed fittingly by the actors and they all seem to be very involved and excited to be in the series. While it was very difficult to watch Philip Seymour Hoffman as the gamemaker after his death this last year, it was a very good way to recognize his talent as an actor. I was pleased that at the end of the film the director added a note dedicating the film to him.

While I remain disappointed with “Mockingjay: Part One,” I still don’t think it’s a waste of time for anyone who enjoyed the first two movies or the books. The plot does remain true to the book. I am intrigued to see how the director decides to use the remaining plot in the book to create an entirely new movie. And even though I may not be as excited for the next film as I thought I would be before seeing this one, I can guarantee I will be in the crowd to watch it. Just like I have every November for the last three years.