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The Hunger Games; Mockingjay Part 1

I'll be honest, as much as I love this franchise (books and movies) I really wasn't that excited for this one. Three reasons. 1-It was my least favorite of the books. I barely even retained any of it. B-The last movie felt like it lacked a little punch or something. III-Did they really need to split this into two? Except maybe a little for Harry Potter, did it ever work well? As fate would have it, I was actually quite into this one.

In retrospect, yes, it does feel like it was a little stretched, and I'm worried as all hell about part 2 being all action and not plot, but in the moment, I really did enjoy this one. I think a big part of why the first installment (book and movie) is my favorite is the games themselves. 2 dropped off since there was less games, and now there are no games. I'm always more interested in the status quo of these futuristic dystopian societies than I am in their rebellion and downfall (see also: Divergent). But something felt different. Maybe it's because I didn't remember the details and the story unfolded like new. Maybe it's the ridiculously strong cast. Maybe it's that Katniss is one hell of a character.

I was actually reflecting on her as a literary character while I was watching, and she's incredible. Someone I would want my one day future daughter to look up to. She's a strong leader, an independent thinker, fiercely protective, compassionate, and possessing so many other great traits. What I love about her is that she doesn't seek out the role that she has in the games and the rebellion, but bravely accepts her place out of love for those she cares about. That's ultimately what drives her, and it's beautiful. Within the past year of blogging I seem to have started caring much more about how women are portrayed in film, and I'm happy to report that this one passes the Bechdel test with flying colors. Katniss, Coin, Prim, Effie, all fully realized and strong characters.

Of course Katniss wouldn't be Katniss without Jennifer Lawrence behind her. She gets under her skin showing her strength and vulnerability with such grace. For me, though, as far as performance, the one I couldn't take my eyes off of was Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee. What stood out for me with this role is that for once he allowed himself to just let loose a bit. He's not digging into his emotional depths for a masterful but intense performance. He was clearly just having fun, and I loved watching it, and I wish he would have been around longer to see more of those kind of roles for him. There's some other examples early in his career, but he had such an air of freedom around him. *tear*

I'm still a little leery about our final installment next year, but I think this one got the job done quite well.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 -\m/ \m/ \m/ \n
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