Mockingjay Part 1 is just another Hollywood cash grab and barely makes an effort to justify its existence.

Having twice survived the Hunger Games, Katniss finds herself in District 13. Under the leadership of President Coin (Julianne Moore) and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss reluctantly becomes the symbol of a mass rebellion against the Capitol and fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage.

After the previous installments, the Hunger Games being a watered down version of Battle Royale and Catching Fire merely a copy of the first movie, shit is about to get real in Mockingjay…or so we are lead to believe.

In usual Hollywood fashion, the last installment of a popular franchise is split into two. Part 1 promises to be the emotional introduction.

The performances of the whole cast is good, with Jennifer Lawrence and the veteran actors doing their best with what they’re given. Liam Hemsworth is adequate enough but bland. Josh Hutcherson has proven to be consistent enough throughout the series.

The bleak set pieces set the stage for a much darker tone. You finally get to see the real impact of the Capitol’s authority in a bigger scale and injects a bit more gravitas to the dystopic world of the film. Haymitch and Effie keeps it light when needed.

But with all its topical and interesting ideas that separate it apart from your typical romantic comedy for the young adult demographic, part 1 predictably lacks anything substantial. There’s not enough emotional conflict and action to justify its existence.

Katniss is pushed to be the poster child of a revolution she didn’t ask, but it would have been more interesting if it delved deeper into the intentions of District 13. Once again she’s being peddled to the masses, but for the other side. The media satire is still there but focuses on war propaganda with political subtext.

Her motivations revolve around the safety of Peeta and her family. It would have been more interesting if her lost love has a real motivation instead of a convenient explanation.

What you get is a film that has a penchant for pointing out the obvious with a lead character staring at cameras and walking through rubble.

Mockingjay Part 1 could have been more compelling if it capitalized on the ethical dilemmas that spring organically from its themes, but becomes another blatant cash grab by its producers.

My Rating: 5/10

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