HUB Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

posted February 6, 2015 in CommRadio by Sofia Westin

It’s about to go down… underground!

The Hunger Games Saga is back with its second to last movie before the end of the franchise. In the preceding movie, Catching Fire, we saw Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) destroying the arena of the 75th Hunger Games and being rescued by her fellow allies. Though her best friend, and “fake” lover, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), was left behind.

She is transported to District 13, which was believed to have been destroyed many years ago, but really has been building a military base underground, preparing for the one day when they will fight against the Capitol. With the arrival of Katniss, A.K.A the Mockingjay, symbol of the resistance, they are ready to fight.

The movie opens with Katniss, showing how she is struggling with her new situation. District 13 is a place of strict rules. Peeta is not with her; she doesn’t know if he’s alive. Her former home, District 12, has been destroyed. At the same time, President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) is forcing her to be her propaganda puppet for the revolution, and Peeta is not with her.

Mockingjay chronicles Katniss as she goes from being scared child to the forefront of the revolution, showing though she did not want this to happen, she has to face reality. She has to be the Mockingjay, in order to help the people who will die for her and save Peeta.

Mockingjay fared well with critics and audiences, though it fell short of Catching Fire, which precedes this one, by around 20 percent. Oops. Critics at MetaCritic scored it at 64; RottenTomatoes critics at 65 (it does not have the Certified Fresh seal), its audiences at 75 percent, and IMDb, which is all audience votes, rated it at 7.1. But the score most certainly did not stop Mockingjay from grossing in over 713 million dollars at the worldwide box office, according to IMDb. Dayum.

On the Penn State Scale...
1—when Penn State loses a game (Ohio State...),
2—an 8 a.m class (which are awful),
3—a canceled 8 a.m class,
4—free books for a year,
and 5—free Creamery for a year,

Mockingjay is around a 3.8, whereby it wasn’t in the gutter, yet it reached for the stars. The problem with splitting one book into two movies (a la Harry Potter and Twilight), is the first part feels very much like a filler. Is it there to build up tension and background so that when Part 2 comes around, you know everything that’s going on and the action can finally start.

Now, this is not saying lots of exciting things aren’t happening. Obviously there is lots of things going on, otherwise “The Hanging Tree,” the song well-fitted for a House party, wouldn’t be playing everywhere right now. Yet, the scenes are dragged out, stares go on for longer than they need to, the dramatic music just fills silence as people stare shocked at what’s going on around them. This is the biggest drawback.


The actors offer solid performances to show the gravity of what is happening around them, from the fighting to the killing to the struggles of war.

It very brilliantly showcases the power and deceit that comes with propaganda, and how effective it is when people need something to fight for. It also interlaces with political undertones, which, by knowing Coin is only using Katniss for the purpose of her campaign, doesn’t make you support Coin’s justifications for what she is doing. It almost feels like you reject Coin, even though you admire her strength and strategy as a leader, which the rebellion desperately needs.

In addition, the title: Mockingjay. Yes, the Mockingjay is special because Mockingjays like Katniss’ singing. They copy it. It’s also the pin she wears. It’s the association everyone has with her. But, just like I said, Mockingjay’s copy. Katniss is copying Coin’s voice as she treks out to film propaganda. So though the title is mainly to showcase Katniss accepting her role as the symbol of the rebellion, this double edged sword also showcases Katniss acting as a puppet.

The action does not disappoint, apart from Katniss barely shooting any arrows at all, which is her whole big thing.

Considering the time element of the whole saga, it has just been over a year since Katniss first defied the Capitol in her first Hunger Games… and now look at where they are. All the world needs is a spark… and the Girl on Fire started it.

P.S. One thing I found quite disconcerting was when Katniss says, “Fire is catching… If we burn, you burn with us.” This has a very striking resemblance to what Thorin Oakenshield says in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” to be honest: “If this is to end in fire, then we will all burn together.” Original, indeed.

Sofia Westin is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and economics. To contact her, email