Movies and TVThe Hunger Games: Everything You Need to Know Before Mockingjay - Part 2
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
Directed by Francis Lawrence. Produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik. Written by Danny Strong and Peter Craig. Release date: November 21, 2014.
It was decided at some point in time that the final book in the Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay, would be split into two movies. The decision is primarily a monetary one, after seeing the amount of money similar splits have made studios in the past. The result is a story we need to pay twice to see in full, and a first half that meanders its way to get us to the payoff, also known as the second film. Mockingjay - Part 1 is a disappointment, but has the chance to be made retroactively better after Part 2 is released.
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence): The film's protagonist. She volunteered for the 74th Hunger Games and was a co-winner. She showed direct defiance of the Capitol during the 75th Hunger Games and is now acting as a symbol of resistance against the Capitol and President Snow.
Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson): The co-winner of the 74th Hunger Games, and possible love interest of Katniss Everdeen. He was part of a plan to defy the Capitol during the 75th Hunger Games but didn't escape afterward. He has been captured.
Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth): Katniss Everdeen's best friend and possible love interest. Helped plan the act of defiance that was the 75th Hunger Games.
Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson): An alcoholic who mentored Katniss and Peeta in the 74th and 75th Hunger Games. One of the key figures in plotting the rebellion against the Capitol.
President Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland): The ruler of Panem and the Capitol. The series' antagonist. Hates Katniss and the other rebels.
Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman): The Gamemaker of the 75th Hunger Games. Revealed to be a rebel and part of the group planning to overthrow the Capitol.
Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks): The Capitol-assigned chaperone of the District 12 tributes. Joins the rebellion.
Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci): The Master of Ceremonies and commentator for the Hunger Games.
Primrose "Prim" Everdeen (Willow Shields): Katniss' sister. Initially chosen as District 12's tribute for the Hunger Games, but her sister took her place.
President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore): The leader of District 13. Part of the rebel group looking to take down the Capitol.
Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin): A contestant in the 75th Hunger Games. A rebel fighting against the Capitol.
Johanna Mason (Jena Malone): A contestant in the 75th Hunger Games. A rebel fighting against the Capitol.
Beetee Latier (Jeffrey Wright): A contestant in the 75th Hunger Games. A rebel fighting against the Capitol.
After the conclusion of the 75th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen finds herself being taken to District 13, a place formerly bombed and about which the Capitol did not know. President Alma Coin, its leader, tells Katniss that she is the symbol of the revolution - the Mockingjay. Katniss refuses, as Peeta was left behind, but eventually she agrees after seeing the now-bombed District 13, as well as viewing the way that the Capitol has brainwashed Peeta. Her condition is that Peeta and anyone else who was captured be rescued and pardoned as soon as possible.
Katniss and co. begin visiting Districts and filming Katniss giving speeches that are meant to inspire other Districts. It begins working, as Districts begin to fight back against the Capitol. The Capitol bombs District 13, but everyone survives after getting into underground shelters. After the weakening of a dam, which cuts out the Capitol's primary source of power, a rescue attempt is made. Peeta and a few other previous Hunger Games winners are rescued. However, upon seeing Peeta, Katniss is strangled. He's been brainwashed into hating her.
The plan, now, is to launch a full-scale attack on the Capitol.
Is It Any Good?
If you've read the previous pages, you'll note how significantly shorter the plot summary of Mockingjay - Part 1 is compared to both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. The reality is that most of it happens to set up bigger events in the series finale. It is also true that there was no reason to split the final book into two films, except to charge double the admission price for audiences. Despite being the weakest Hunger Games film thus far, it's still not bad. It's decidedly okay, not being boring enough to be worthless, but not entertaining enough to be must-see material. Not enough happens, and it all feels like filler as we wait for the important events of the next film. In combination with Part 2, it might wind up retroactively being great. But as we sit now, it's not great; it's simply okay.