I went into this movie with high expectations. This movie (and Part 2) need to be done right. The last two were missing so many things including: Avoxes, Peeta's disability and Katniss's partial deafness to name a few.
The standout thing about Mockingjay is the use of propaganda and the manipulation of people. District 13 heavily uses propaganda (propos) to fuel the spark of this uprising with Katniss as their symbol, their Mockingjay. While I did love this aspect of the movie I wish it had been used much earlier in the series. Yes, it was well done and yes, I was captured by these propos and then removed completely to see how it was manipulating the people in the movie to rebel. But the audience never saw propaganda (so far as I can remember) used on people in the Capitol. We also never got to see what was happening in the Capitol and how they were reacting to these propos. I wanted to see how their minds were changing. I wanted to see years of propaganda and brain washing undone.
Of course, the star of the movie was Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. Her performance was so great. She was able to be a complete person and not just a Strong Female Character. She completely humanised Katniss, further building up her character from the past two movies. I think I especially loved a scene where she sees the bones of the people who died in District 12. It really made me feel for these people, even though the audience was never really introduced to them. The other star of this movie was Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. He appears here and there throughout the movie and we were onlookers to Peeta's deterioration. It made me hate the Capitol even more. Honourable mentions go to Donald Sutherland as President Snow. Sutherland showed Snow for what he truly is: a ruthless dictator.
I also really liked the costumes in this movie, especially the outfit that Katniss wears. This is real amour, not a flimsy peace of chainmail or the "sexy" version of male amour that is usually shown in films.
I can't really end this review without mentioning the portrayal of Pollux, who is an Avox and the now wheelchair bound Beetee. I was just so glad that they finally included disability is this series. Pollux uses sign language to communicate and Beetee is now obviously wheelchair bound due to his injuries. It would have been so easy to gloss over disability, as the series previously has, but they didn't. It's not much, but its certainly a step in the right direction in terms of representation.
Though this movie has little action, I really enjoyed the propaganda angle of the movie and how it showed the beginnings of a rebellion. I think fans of the book will like what they see, especially if they thought the last book was the weakest in the series.
Anjulie Te Pohe
Founder of Koru Mag | Mookychick contributor | Avid reader and writer of YA | Takatapui (Maori & bi/queer) | She/Them | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org