Ever since watching Mockingjay part 1, I have been trying to figure out how to review it. I really enjoyed it, but I know the purpose is to set the table for part 2. I felt the same way about the “Dark Water” episode of Doctor Who, but in that case I only had to wait a week for the resolution, not a year.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows more or less started the trend of splitting the final book in a series into two films, but there was only a eight month wait in between installments. Allegient, the third book in the Divergent series, will continue the trend. The question remains: Is it really worth it? In the case of the Deathly Hallows–absolutely. I think some of the other Harry Potter films should have been split in two, but that’s another story.
Here’s yet another labored television analogy: In some ways Mockingjay part 1 felt like a “bottle episode.” What’s a bottle episode? Glad you asked. A bottle episode is when an episode of a TV series takes place mainly in one location; usually it’s done to save money. I’m not saying this is what happened in Mockingjay part 1, it’s just what it felt like, since most of the movie takes place in a bunker. In certain cases, the bottle episode can be one of the best of the entire series, since it is often used for character development.
I feel that we got to see a lot of growth from Katniss in this film, mainly because she has become the face of the revolution, whether she wants to be or not. Unlike Harry Potter or Luke Skywalker, Katniss wasn’t born into destiny–she had it thrust upon her. It’s up to you to decide if that makes Katniss the more interesting character.
A lot of people say that Mockingjay was the weak link in the book trilogy; having not read the books, I cannot say. Yeah, I know. I do think it made for a fascinating film, or at least, half of one. Even though most of the movie consisted of people having conversations, I was never bored. I thought it was well paced, and made me even more excited to find out what happens next. The film flew by rather quickly; maybe due in some small part to the one hundred twenty-three minute running time, and partly because the last two films I saw in the theatre were Gone Girl and Interstellar. I don’t mind long movies, and in some cases, they could stand to be even longer.
Minor spoiler ahead.
As for the ending? I thought Catching Fire had the better cliffhanger. The ending of Mockingjay part 1 wasn’t bad, but I cannot be the only one that thought it should have ended with a “Clang!”