The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 DVD Review

DVD Review by Jon E Clist
The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1

The Premise
With the Games now destroyed and in pieces, Katniss Everdeen, along with Gale, Finnick and Beetee, now end up in the so thought "destroyed" District 13. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her friends, Katniss becomes the "Mockingjay" and the symbol of rebellion for the people.
The Review
Firstly, it’s all about the hair. Let’s get a couple of hair facts out of the way before we really dig into Mockingjay. Due to Jennifer Lawrence having shorter hair she had to wear a wig for her role of Katniss, while on top of wearing a wig, Julianne Moore also wore dark contact lenses for her role as President Alma Coin. However the prize for commitment to a role goes to Natalie Dormer, who as a new addition to the cast, actually shaved half of her head to look a little more rough and tough in the role of Cressida. Rumour has it that Dormer was going to shave her entire head and had to be talked out of it.

Plus this film is all about ‘Firsts’. It is the first film in the series to be shot digitally. This is the first not to be released in IMAX and the first movie poster in the series which doesn't feature Katniss aiming her arrow.

Now to the film at hand here’s what I really enjoyed about the film. After all the crazy action and fighting in the first two films and the heavy focus on the events in the arena, this time the emphasis has shifted to the characters and the furtherance of the rebellion. This time we get to see the moment when Katniss truly becomes the mockingjay, while her love for Peeta becomes more concrete and even more central to every choice she makes. The drama is intense and I think more realistically portrayed than in your usual teenage girl targeted drama. There isn’t that usual over the top emo feel that so many of these franchises lean so heavily on.

This has been a film series that has surprised me greatly. I was sure before seeing the first that I wouldn’t like it all that much and yet I have found myself really enjoying it, and not just down to the inclusion of Lenny Kravitz in one of the core roles in the first two films. However for me, he is sorely missed in the third film but that lack has certainly been filled with the inclusion of several new cast members. Natalie Dormer comes in hot off her superb role of Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones. This is certainly a role that has put her on the thespian map and opened the doors for a lot more acting choice in her career. While it certainly helps to have such a quality actress the calibre of Julianne Moore to step into such a pivotal power role within the overall storyline. I am sure that we at times all wonder what makes actors choose the roles they take and in some cases leave the ones they don’t. Julianne Moore stated that her two children, both fans of the novels, convinced her to sign on for the role of Alma Coin. Sounds to me as though her kids could find themselves in a lucrative career directing mums career.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays Plutarch Heavensbee, tragically died with one week of filming left. Due to the fact that the majority of his scenes for the final two movies were already filmed, the role was not re-cast, but finished with a combination of re-writes, camera tricks and digital special effects. So even though he has gone from our existence, Hoffman will continue to live on at the box office for at least another year.

The Verdict
Certainly an intense continuation of The Hunger Games franchise. Well thought out tension building bridge to the ensuing crescendo yet to come. I really did enjoy the film and certainly give it the two thumbs up for a night out on the town.
The Trailer
The Info
DVD Releases: 18th March 2015
Rating: M – Contains violence
Duration: 123 minutes
Genre:  Action
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Director: Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games Catching Fire, Water For Elephants)
The Extras
In an attempt to prevent spoilers and keep secrecy, the working title of the project while filming was "Seashore".
 
Lily Rabe, who was set to play Commander Lyme of District 2, had to back out of the film because of a previous commitment with the stage play "Much Ado About Nothing". Gwendoline Christie was soon found as her replacement.