Mockingjay Part 1 : Movie Review

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There’s no holding back in saying that this is a fantastic movie adaptation, it has established my faith once again in book to movie adaptations after The Maze Runner last month.

If you haven’t read the book yet or seen the movie adaptation of Mockingjay I would recommend not reading this review until a later stage. I am always adamant on making my reviews spoiler free, however there are some parts of the movie and book I will be referring to when discussing certain points so please turn back now because I would hate to ruin something for you before you had the chance to enjoy it.

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The characters we are all familiar with were once again portrayed exactly as I had imagined them in the book. Although this was something I thought would be apparent in Mockingjay as it was a perfect attribute through the first two movies. I can’t emphasise more how I thought Jennifer Lawrence did a brilliant job playing Katniss, her emotions were so clearly portrayed through the movie. For example when she visited District 12 after the attack or when she was trying to find Prim during the attack on District 13. The same can be said for Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth as Peeta and Gale. The movie could not have portrayed the characters more perfectly.

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Something I thought was amazing throughout the movie was that I felt the same way towards characters and towards the plot as I did when I was reading the book. As the plot develops I started to feel and think differently of certain characters and where their loyalties lay. The only character I noticed I had a differing opinion for than in the book was President Coin whom I believed to be a bit suspicious in the book. I didn’t think she could be trusted and suspected her motives as she always appeared very mysterious and reserved yet established control over the ‘visitors’ to District 13. In the movie I felt this personality of her in the book was toned down for an on-screen adaptation. I didn’t find her as untrustworthy or wary in the movie as I had done when I read the book.

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There are a few small changes in the movie however with the time slot and the need to make it a visual representation of the book I can understand why some of these were made. However in saying this, generally I am completely against changing the plot of a book even slightly for a movie adaptation so please don’t mistake what I mean. For example in Mockingjay Part 1 the prep team is not imprisoned at District 13 like they are in the book and Effie plays an important part. I can understand this decision for the movie as the onscreen Effie has become a well-loved and important character throughout the movie adaptations and I think audiences would have been disappointed without her presence. Also we see a lot more of what is happening in other Districts and the actions of the Capital on individuals. It is heart-wrenching yet puts it into perspective and gives the viewers an emotional kick in the stomach that I believe Suzanne Collins creates in her writing throughout the book.

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The movie stuck to the book’s plotline perfectly and I felt it did the book and Suzanne Collins justice with her creation. One final point I want to commend in the movie is the version of The Hanging Tree sang by Jennifer Lawrence as it was hauntingly beautiful. I was so taken back by such a morbid song being transformed into something so beautiful, the setting, the feelings and expressions of the fellow characters in the scene really made it into something more than a song. The use of it in the following scenes and as a foreshadowing of events to come was such a powerful effect; it was something that really gave me goose bumps through the movie. Also the song has been stuck in my head since Friday night and I can honestly say I expect it to stay around in many others for a long time yet.

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If you haven’t had the chance to see this movie yet, make a point to see it as soon as possible. I would honestly say that the creators, actors, producers and everyone else that contributed have done a wonderful job. Despite knowing what happens in the second half already and knowing it will destroy me, I cannot wait to see how it is portrayed on the big screen. It is refreshing as a reader to know that there are movie adaptations that complement the book and plot especially in the final stages of an exciting trilogy.

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