Himani Parekh / Staff Reporter
If you are looking for an easy, sugar-coated movie for the weekend, I would tell you to reconsider. You don’t want to miss The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. The first of the two-part movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay finds Katniss immersed in a full-scale rebellion. The movie opens abruptly and rapidly, not waiting for the audience to get comfortable with the back-story. Though this may seem unfavorable, the choice is, in fact, quite clever. Katniss herself has no time to recuperate and adjust to her shattered life, and the cinematography and script reflect that; they pull you straight into Katniss’s world, Katniss’s mind, revealing her emotions, her trauma and her strength.
The movie, as a whole, triumphs in this aspect, taking the audience into Katniss’s perspective. One of the biggest losses when translating a book into a movie is the reader’s awareness of the protagonist’s emotions and thoughts. However, Mockingjay successfully overcomes that separation between the viewer and the characters. A large part of that success must be attributed to Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Katniss Everdeen. Lawrence’s ability to convincingly portray the complex array of emotions running through Katniss is crucial; she draws the audience into Katniss’s mind with an ease and openness that erases the line between viewer and character.
Just as skillfully does the movie handle the messy morals of rebellion and war. Anyone who has read the book knows that Suzanne Collins tackles the individual and social effects of war through her characters and addresses the duality, cruelty and poignancy of rebellion. The movie, I am pleased to say, does not shy away from confronting these difficult topics with the same forthrightness. Whereas previous installations were slightly sugar-coated, panning away from the actual moment of violence when one tribute kills another at the Cornucopia, for example, this movie inches us closer to the horrifying truth. The audience is exposed to the pain and the power, the moments of triumph and the lingering regrets, the imperfection of fighting for freedom without losing track of one’s identity in the mess.
So no, this movie is not conceptually easy. But it is beautiful, not only in its success in handling the heavy emotions but also in its aesthetic choices. The color scheme is somber, playing with deeper blues and whites along with the prevalent slate gray. The music melts into the background, not noticeably wowing but providing fitting emotional undercurrent to the movie. The camera predominantly sticks to capturing Katniss’s point of view, employing a little bit of the shaky camera effect seen in previous movies that reflected her disorientation at times. And if, by now, you’re still feeling uncertain, remember Haymitch Abernathy: this movie will make you laugh, too.
Mockingjay Part 1 is absolutely worth the watch. The acting is impressive, the visuals lovely and fitting, the plot captivating, and Haymitch is hilarious. What more could you want?