Katie Linder –
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
“Intense.” That seems to be the common thought going through most people’s minds after seeing the newest blockbuster of the year: Mockingjay Part 1.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was skeptical about the third installment of the widely-popular Hunger Games series for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, I am not a fan of the novel Mockingjay. Out of the three books in the series, it seemed to have the least amount of action, especially the first part when it seems like all Katniss does is sit around in District 13 thinking about Peeta and shooting propaganda clips to air in defense of the upcoming war.
Because of Katniss’s distance from the majority of the action in the first part of the film and the shift of setting from the Games in the first two films to District 13 on the outskirts of Panem for the final installments, I had a hard time imagining the need to split the final book into two films. Of course, the common sense side of me knows that money is always the driving factor in these decisions, but as a true fan of the franchise, I could not imagine why, in a literary sense, it would not be possible to just release one film like the filmmakers did with the other two books.
Interestingly enough, a lady behind me in the theatre was in agreement with me. “I would have paid double the money to see it released as one longer movie,” she commented (in a very loud voice) about halfway through the film. Even though her comment was unsolicited by me or anyone else in the theatre, especially those around her, her comments probably rang true, at least in part, for most Hunger Games fans. I would not have gone so far as to pay double the money to see it when movies are already so expensive, but I certainly was not a fan of having my least-favorite book in the franchise drawn out into two movies over the course of an entire year.
That being said, I was pleasantly surprised after the conclusion of the film. Most of my previously-mentioned complaints of the novel were solved during the film. The lack of action was easily solved by the third-person narrative of the film. Whereas in the novel, we are exclusively given the storyline from Katniss’s first-person narrative and all of the actions not involving her are lost, the filmmakers chose to directly give the audience those actions. Instead of merely being told about the mission that freed Peeta from the Capital, the mission is actually shown as Gale and the others are freeing him.
The same holds true for the rebellions that arise across Panem. Instead of simply mentioning the attack on the dam that led to the Capital’s loss of power, the attack is shown from the rebels in a scene that was one of the highlights of the film.
However, due to the nature of the film and the fact that so much more action is seen than in the novel, viewers should be cautioned. The filmmakers don’t shy away from showing the death and destruction that the Capital has caused, even among the innocents. Some parts were particularly difficult to watch.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with how Mockingjay Part 1 turned out. It by far exceeded my expectations, but those were admittedly not very high to begin with.
If you find yourself with a few hours of free time, make a point of it to go and see the movie that will be one of the biggest hits of the year before it is all said and done. It has been the best Hunger Games film to date and, after watching it, I got the urge to reread Mockingjay when I’m home over break. Maybe after seeing the film I’ll be able to better appreciate it.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with me, may the odds be ever in your favor!
On a side note: If you’re a broke college kid like me (and who isn’t?) you’ll be happy to know that on Saturday mornings at 10, RMC Cinemas in South Jacksonville shows movies for just $4.50.
Katie Linder, from Jacksonville, Illinois, is a sophomore majoring in English at Illinois College. Katie is an opinions writer for The Rambler, a consultant in the Campus Writing Center, and a member of the IC concert choir.