Review by Jonathan Godfrey for Mr. Will Wong
Suzanne Collins has gifted the Literary and now Moviegoing World with the remarkable Katniss Everdeen – a contemporary exemplification of Womanhood: its poetic strengths, emotional vigor; and divine connection to life. And when it comes to the role of Katniss, it isn’t correct to say that Jennifer Lawrence simply is reprising the role – she remains Katniss. Her bow, experience and heart remain in Lawrence’s worthy hands.
Director Francis Lawrence helms this Film and the last. He stole the show with Catching Fire, breathing true substance on-screen into the beloved literary Trilogy. The Hunger Games is more than just a discussion on democracy and certainly more than just a tragic Love Story. These are elements within the Series, two among several. Elements that are objectively analyzed through the experiences endured in and out of the Games.
The Games are over. In this Episode, the first of the conclusive Mockingjay Chronicles, we begin where Catching Fire left off. Katniss has survived the Third Quarter Quell, but at great cost. She has lost Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). She has lost District 12. Trapped within the underground military base that is District 13, she struggles to escape her mind. The post-trauma that began for her in the last Chapter is intensified in this one. She has fought for her life, and the lives of those she loves for so long, that in losing Peeta it’s as though she has lost everything and you feel this in the Script and in the Score. Katniss is the personification of something profound, not just the figurehead of rebellion.
And she is supported by phenomenal Actors playing phenomenal Characters. Here we meet two new entities in President Coin and Cressida played respectively by Julianne Moore and Natalie Dormer, playing a key role in coaxing of Katniss. When the late Philip Seymour Hoffman enters the stage as Plutarch Heavensbee, there is a hush that washes over the Audience. Like his namesake, Plutarch is the Author of an incredible narrative, that of the Mockingjay. In Catching Fire, he shapes Katniss‘ experience, developing a Leader for the disenfranchised to rise-up and follow. But now he must hold her up, creatively.
Artistically, this perhaps is the strongest Installment thus far in the Franchise. The Costuming, Set Design and CGI continue to be both innovative and captivating. They picture the Plot beautifully, while the Score by eight-time Oscar Nominee James Newton Howard, gives the Story a beautifully poetic tone. It is impossible not to be affected by the numerous complex emotions that we continue to witness and experience throughout this Series. That is the ultimate strength of its Heroine; she is the being in-tune with it all.
eOne Films release The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 on Friday, November 21, 2014.
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