I’ve just had the pleasure of watching the third installment in The Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay Part 1.
After being rescued from the destroyed arena in the 75th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen, along with fellow tributes Beetee and Finnick Odair, are taken to District 13, now an underground district isolated from Panem that has been spearheading the rebellion. There she is reunited with her mother and sister Prim.
While recuperating, she is introduced to President Alma Coin, the rebel leader, and is told that her actions in the arena sparked riots and strikes against the Capitol. Coin asks her to become the “Mockingjay”—the symbol of the rebellion—as part of their “hearts and minds” strategy but Katniss declines. But after seeing how Peeta is being manipulated by Capitol state television to quell the rebellion, Katniss reluctantly agrees to become Coin’s Mockingjay on the condition that Peeta and the other captured victors will be rescued and pardoned at the earliest opportunity.
After Haymitch notes that Katniss thrives on spontaneity, she meets her film team (led by Capitol escapee Cressida), is dressed up in a specially-designed outfit, and is given Effie Trinket as a stylist and close friend Gale as a bodyguard. They go out to District 8 to visit a hospital, but as the visit concludes, a Capitol bombing squadron arrives and bombs the hospital, killing everyone inside. In her rage, Katniss gives a rousing speech to the camera, which is broadcast when Beetee hijacks the Capitol’s news feed. After it is broadcast, strikers in District 7 kill an entire team of Peacekeepers with hidden land mines.
After seeing a weakened Peeta on a TV propo (propaganda shots) the team return to District 12, where Gale reports on District 12’s destruction; Katniss is filmed singing “The Hanging Tree”. Soon after, hundreds of protesters in District 5, singing the same anthem, launch a suicidal human wave attack against a hydroelectric dam that is the Capitol’s primary source of electricity. The attack destroys the dam, and causes a power cut in the Capitol, forcing the Capitol to revert to backup power generators and weakening their ability to broadcast propaganda.
That night, Katniss watches Peeta being interviewed by Caesar Flickerman, the Games’ former presenter, when Heavensbee and Coin hijack the signal to air a clip of Katniss. After seeing it, Peeta shouts a warning that the Capitol is about to attack District 13. Coin orders a mass evacuation into deep underground shelters and the facility survives the attack unharmed. Upon emerging, Katniss discovers the area littered with white roses, and realizes President Snow sent them to taunt her, and presumes that he will kill Peeta.
As Peeta’s warning gave the District an additional eight minutes evacuation time, Coin dispatches an elite special forces team, which includes Gale, to rescue him, along with Johanna Mason, and Annie Cresta, the remaining Victors, from their prison in the Capitol’s Tribute center. The rescue is successful with surprisingly minimum opposition from capital indicating that they have reduced the security on purpose. When Katniss goes to greet Peeta, he unexpectedly attacks and strangles her into unconsciousness, before being knocked unconscious himself by Boggs.
Katniss wakes up in the medical facility, and is informed that Peeta has been “hijacked” — a form of physical/mental torture in which he is brainwashed into wanting to kill Katniss by associating memories of her with the psychological terror created by tracker jacker venom. This explains why the Capitol allowed Boggs’s team to escape. Peeta is restrained to a bed and placed in solitary confinement, while a serum is being developed to reverse the hijacking effects. Meanwhile, Coin announces that the Victors have been rescued; their next objective is the Capitol’s principal military stronghold in the ravines on District 2.
It was a good film, taking on a more political theme than the previous installments. With the absence of the actual Hunger Games, we see the fallout from the resolution of Catching Fire as the Rebels of District 13 fight against the terror of the Capitol – insighting rebellion in the other districts as well. There was some strong character development, and ultimately superb performances and directing made the film enjoyable. It’s definitely a film that I recommend.
Thanks for reading.