The face of the rebellion

A country of the verge of an uprising needs a Mockingjay

By Kelly Respondek
Staff Writer

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Rating: 9 out of 10 stars
Duration: 123 minutes
Rating: PG-13

With the third and final book of the trilogy split into two part movies, the suspenseful and thrilling third installment in the “Hunger Games” film franchise “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” was released in theaters on Nov. 21. The movie is based on the bestselling series by Suzanne Collins and stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark. The film was directed by Francis Lawrence, who is famous for his work in the movies “I Am Legend” and “Water for Elephants.”

“The Hunger Games” books and movies have taken the world by storm. The intriguing and dark plot has caught the interest of millions and earned a spot among other iconic series.

The 2013 movie release in the series, “Catching Fire,” had Katniss and Peeta returning to the games for round two. The movie ended with the heroes being separated and with the knowledge of District 12 being destroyed. Katniss and Gale ended up safe in the protection of the secret underground compound of District 13, while Peeta’s fate was unknown, after he was left in the arena and was captured by the Capitol.

“Mockingjay – Part 1” picks up with the country of Panem on the tipping point of rebellion. When the entire nation watched as Katniss and several other victors were rescued from the arena by the rebels, a spark of rebellion was lit, causing unrest and dissent in the 12 districts. Now, everyone waited to see if Katniss would decide to sit by and watch or take action and become the symbol of the rebellion, the “mockingjay,” the people needed.

Lawrence delivered a brilliant portrayal of Katniss again, with passion and spirit. She found a way to convey sincere emotion and capture her character, touching the hearts of viewers. Hemsworth gave an equally strong performance as Katniss’s oldest friend, Gale, and Hutcherson played a perfectly broken Peeta.

While the first two movies in the “Hunger Games” franchise have been more action based, the third film takes a step back from focusing on fighting to expose the more emotional side of the characters showing how far they can bend until they break. For some viewers, the movie may be slightly lacking because of the lessened violence, but the depth of the plot more than makes up for it.

Lovers of the book series holding high standards for the films will not be disappointed. “Mockingjay – Part 1” sticks to the storyline of the book and presents the main themes with power and passion. The latest release of the “Hunger Games” movies will leave viewers counting down the days until the release of the next and final film. The ending is definitely something that will get people talking and might even push a few to read the book before the fourth movie is released in 2015.

The beloved characters of this series still have the final leg of the journey to go. Questions of how the rebellion will end, who will be left and what is in store for the future of all of Panem will be answered in “Mockingjay – Part 2.” Another query answered in “Mockingjay – Part 2” is what happens to those closest to Katniss. She makes her choice between Gale, who has stood by her side for years, and Peeta, the boy gave everything to protect her. The conclusion to the series, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,” will be in theaters next year Nov. 20.