I’ve been to many first screenings, late night screenings and preview screenings for teen franchises over the years, but this is the first time I’ve even seen the 500 seater screen at Reel almost completely sold out.
Perhaps it’s because the third Hunger Games movie is no run of the mill young adult film – it’s something that appeals to a much wider audience both through its impressive adaptation and the issues that it tackles.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (Cert 12A)
All York cinemas
Mockingjay: Part 1 picks up from where Catching Fire left off and we are reintroduced to Katniss Everdeen, victor, survivor and heroine who is broken by the horrors she has experienced.
True to form she quickly goes from strength to strength, realising her need to recover and mourn for the loss of her hometown and Peeta pales in comparison to the need for revolution against the evil Capital and President Snow (played by a wonderfully creepy and enigmatic Donald Sutherland).
As with all part ones, Mockingjay is slow in places, and focuses on strategy, planning and propaganda rather than action.
It’s an exploration of ruined cities and a cat and mouse Skype session between the District 13 rebels and an increasingly gaunt-looking Peeta, Josh Hutcherson, who is incredibly emotive and vulnerable on screen, considering he doesn’t interact with many other actors.
Jennifer Lawrence is unfailingly brilliant as Katniss, bringing her Oscar-winning acting skills to a great role model for girls all over world. She steers the helm of a great franchise with effortless prowess – never once breaking character.
It’s a shame Mockingjay: Part 1 under-utilises many of the other wonderful actors in the film – most notably Elizabeth Banks as the refreshing and cynically comical Effie Trinket, and Sam Claflin as the sweet and troubled Finnick Odair.
Overall, Mockingjay leaves you much like Katniss and the revolutionaries – tense, rilled, grateful that things are happening but wanting more.