If you know your Hunger Games, you’ll know that heroine and coal miner’s daughter, Katniss Everdene (Jennifer Lawrence) was rescued from a life or death struggle in the Quarter Quell area at the end of the second film, by a group of rebels from Panem’s District 13.
The film is based on the popular Suzanne Collins series of novels.
It was widely understood that District 13 was bombed into oblivion two generations ago, which resulted in the beginning of the Hunger Games, but in fact, much of the population survived and went to live underground plotting their revenge. Now the moment to strike back has come.
They live in a subterranean missile silo, they have been stockpiling for years and they even have a leader with determination and the strategic nous to overthrow the despots in the Capital.
The problem is that President Coin (Julianne Moore) of District 13 lacks the personality to ignite the districts into war, so they turn to Katniss, who has become a heroine to all the districts of Panem through her actions in the Hunger Games.
Assisted by Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman, in his final screen role) Coin devises a plan to transform Katniss into a weapon to sell to the masses.
And that basically, is where we come in to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. Katniss is increasingly uncertain about how she might be used in this rebellion and seems more concerned about the well-being of Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), her on-again, off-again boyfriend who has been captured by the Capital dictatorship and is being used as a central part of a propaganda campaign.
“I never wanted any of this, I never wanted to be in the Games, I just wanted to save my sister and keep Peeta alive,” Katniss pleads with the villain of the series, Panem dictator President Snow.
As Warner Bros did with Harry Potter, the final book in the Hunger Games franchise has been divided into two parts which result that Mockingjay Part I is about the build up to the war. This means although there is a lot of tension, it lacks the action of the first two movies in the series. At times the film seems stretched, and too much like a link between the previous instalment and the next, but the story line and tension is strong enough to hold.
With a notable cast involved this makes for a funny and enjoyable movie and Lawerence comes into her own giving the film depth and emotion in some outstanding and haunting scenes. But one thing’s for sure we have an action packed Part II to look forward to next year, and as Katniss puts it…
“Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!”