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Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
They strung up a man
They say who murdered three.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met at midnight
In the hanging tree.
-Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence)
It. Is. Time.
The book that destroyed me, ripped me apart. Leaving me darker, with my world view tainted grey.
They say that Mokingjay is the last sequel of the Hunger Games trilogy, but I would disagree. This is not a sequel, the other books are separate. A prequel series: as the final one has no more games, no more arena.
Now, we can finally get to what this book series always wanted to be.
A mature, no holds bar social satire.
It really is rising from it’s own ashes.
Gone are the overly feminine Capitol citizens. Gone are the blood sports, and gladiator style audiences. No more drinks that make you puke so you can eat more.
So, how was the movie version of it?
Really, really good.
Yes, in the grand tradition of this series, the newest movie has managed to outdo itself again. Delivering a surprisingly quiet narrative that explores civil unrest; conservative with it’s violence, and even going so far as to not show us things.
They actually build tension up, for more then like a few seconds.
Some critics have ragged on this movie, because they feel like they did not have to stretch out the final book into two, but I am fully in support of it here. If they had attempted to slam the entire book into one film it would have felt like a rushed mess. Instead, with this system, they can build up suspension with an entire other movie. This does have the downside of requiring you to re-watch part 1 right before part 2 comes out, but it’s a small price to pay for such good pacing.
Though, because this movie exists almost entirely as set up for the next film, I don’t actually have that much to talk about here. The acting is, of course, solid as a brick. Jennifer Lawrence proving yet again that she deserves all the praise she is getting, and Sam Claflin delivers, playing a beaten down and destroyed Finnick. My major complaint would be Prim (Willow Shields) who is simply not given enough to work with, and thus comes off as a bit flat.
There is one major stand out moment in the film. So expertly handled that it defines it. All conversations about the plot, or the film, or anything about it, will eventually come down to this one scene.
(Unsurprisingly, this next part contains spoilers)
That scene is, of course, “The Hanging Tree” song and the visuals that are played over it. It will make you feel a chill; the pacing, the haunting melody, it will stay with you for the longest time.
The movie is worth watching just for that one scene alone. As it fully sums up the feelings of every character, and the quiet rebellion that is forming in the capitol. A rebellion that will not really come into play until the next movie; but may just rock everyone who has not read the books to their very core.
After all, to quote Gale, when Katniss was about to shoot a deer with an arrow:
It’s like they’ve “never been hunted before”.
Something tells me that the movie is not actually talking about the deer.
So, on that sobering note, I move right unto the list.
TO THE CHECKLIST!
- The movie is clever and smart. CHECK!
- The viewer experiences the emotion or tone that was intended by the director. Literal chills. CHECK!
- The main characters are interesting, dynamic, and not stereotypical. Mostly, I have some issues with Prim and Effie.
- The movie is not a remake, prequel, sequel, or a mid-quell. If it is one, it needs to be better than the original. Oh hell yeah! CHECK!
- Engaging and well paced. Basically stuff happens at a good pace. CHECK!
- Has a story worth telling. CHECK!
- Has a satisfying resolution. Eh…I’m going to cut it a bit of slack on this one, as it is “part 1”. HALF CHECK!
- General technical excellence. Camera angles are good, and the lighting is pleasing to look at. CHECK!
- The movie does not have any plot holes in it. CHECK
- Not predictable, story does not follow a paint by numbers plot. CHECK
So, in the end it gets a score never before seen on this site:
A 7.5 out of ten.
Making the final score:
- Score: 7.5/10
- Buy or Rent: Buy
- Rewatch Value: Necessary, for when part two comes out.
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