The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 Written by Danny Strong and Peter Craig
The “finale” of the The Hunger Games trilogy-in-four-parts is coming-up soon, and my local cinema screened a marathon of them all. So I figured that as enough justification for reviewing them. The threequel/finale/penultimate instalment is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, based on Mockingjay. The Mockingjay is a symbol in Panem for the rebellion, ever since Katniss was appointed as its face at the conclusion of the previous film.
Why a Mockingjay? It’s a long story, and the Mockingjay finale is divided into two, a popular trend among many film series as a way of announcing their conclusion. If a studio ever announces the next film in a series will be in two parts, it means they’ve decided in advance it’s the ending (as opposed to cancelling it after its been released). That’s all very well, but could Lionsgate at least have gone for more imaginative subtitles than Mockingjay – Part 1 and Mockingjay – Part 2?
A title is the most important element of marketing, and putting “Part 2” in a title is the best way for it to under-perform at its opening weekend. That said, there’s honestly not much I can say about The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 that can’t also be said for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, and it’s there that the majority of my review will be formed. Mainly because I don’t want to repeat myself unnecessarily. But what I will say is that the ending was at the wrong moment.
There was one scene too many. The final scene, which mirrors the ending of the previous film was poetic, but came after a teased ending when Peeta tries choking Katniss, followed by a cut to black before the actual final scene. Had the end credits started when they were teased to start, and not after a weirdly tacked-on “epilogue”, it would have been much more effective. Were Lionsgate scared of making the final shot too violent?
Did they not want the last moment we remember for a year to be the protagonist being choked? Ultimately, it was still the better moment to cut it off. A film should never peak until the end. Speaking of which…