Moviemaking is moneymaking. A two-part finale is just part of that. Fortunately, moneymaking is still catering to the audience’s desires: with an extra two hours of film (and double the profit), I hope that “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” makes waiting another year for the finale worth it.
The book seems to be challenging adaptation material. After all, it’s really less a story set on a backdrop of war than a war with other storylines running through, and you don’t often find those targeted at a young adult audience. It is much darker than the first two books of the trilogy, something not all readers appreciate.
“I have read a lot of the bad reviews for this last book and I see a theme running through them all. They didn’t get their fairytale ending and the people they liked didn’t end up the way they wanted,” wrote one Amazon reviewer.
As with most adaptations, the movie must capture the book’s essence to avoid complaints from hardcore fans, but still take steps to sell itself as a movie that fans may even enjoy more than the book. Here are some popularized ploys (always, the moneymaking) I expect to see in the movie, for better or for worse.
The Love Triangle It will ultimately make its appearance, along with its hordes of drooling fangirls. But over who? Actors Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth? Or characters Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne? It’s infuriating enough that two dynamic characters have been emphasized as love interests to the main lead, but their more important roles, especially those of Gale, have been downplayed by the films. Who is Gale meant to be? The childhood companion? The jealous suitor? The leader of rebellion? My hope is that this movie will show all of those, as well as a new, darker side that all of the characters have.
In the book, “Mockingjay” shows the development of Peeta, Gale and Katniss in almost entirely separate paths. From what we’ve seen so far, I don’t anticipate nearly as much portrayal of the male leads’ development on the big screen.
Team Katniss What’s the title? “Mockingjay.” Who’s the Mockingjay? Katniss. She is a protagonist, if not a hero, and I expect her— and Jennifer Lawrence— to present the best part of the character: not necessarily a classic heroine, but someone you can root for.
Black and White, Good vs. Evil Hollywood tropes will never die. The book portrays an ambiguous side to war, but those nuances of war, politics, what’s right and what’s wrong may not even make it into the movie. Let’s still hope the film maintains the theme that not every act in war can be judged as right or wrong.
Censorship, torture, avoxes, prostitution, mutations — they have all avoided mention so far. Apparently, “Mockingjay” is PG-13. Remember seeing six-year-olds in the theaters for “The Hunger Games?” They were never supposed to be there. This isn’t a series for the faint-hearted, or for kindergartners. Let’s think back to the very basic premise of the first book: kids killing each other for the entertainment of society. There will be blood. There will be fun. There will be war and gore and character deaths and God knows what else. The Capitol and its cruelty have been downplayed so much in the previous movies that viewers don’t get a grasp of it at all.
Cast In “Catching Fire”, Jena Malone (Johanna Mason) and Sam Claflin (Finnick Odair) caught eyes in their scenes, whether entertaining or sobering. I expect excellent performances and a significant role in “Mockingjay” from both. Philip Seymour Hoffman, praised for his acting for Plutarch Heavensbee, will make a posthumous appearance in this movie. Accomplished actress Julianne Moore is appearing as double-sided character Alma Coin, someone I look forward to seeing in action. Natalie Dormer, impressive in drama series “The Tudors” and “Game of Thrones,” will take on the very different role of a gritty, intrepid director.
Ending, I wouldn’t mind a dramatic cliffhanger to lead toward the next movie. Considering previous two part movies and reviews from movie previewers, “Part 1” will be all buildup for a climax in “Part 2”. I do hope that screenwriters will have written “Part 2” a much better ending than the hopeless stab at ambiguity Suzanne Collins created, my least favorite page of the book.