The Hunger Games movie series is based on the 3 book series, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and The Mocking Jay. My wife began reading these books when they first came out. The writer of the books, Suzanne Collins, gave permission to Lions Gate Films to bring her series to Hollywood, much like J.K. Rowlings with the Harry Potter series. After hearing about my wife’s love for this series, I just had to see it for myself on the big screen. We knew that Mocking Jay Part 2, the end to the series, was hitting theaters in November. We decided to have a Hunger Games marathon watching all of the movies in order and then finishing up with Mocking Jay Part 2 in theaters. This review will consist of all of the movies.
First up is The Hunger Games which was released in March of 2012. The scene is set with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) hunting in the woods with her good “friend” Gale (Liam Hemsworth). She is lives in Panam which is comprised of 12 dirt poor districts, where the citizens are scrounging for food and life. Katniss lives in district 12. Every year the capitol forces all 12 districts to participate in a televised Hunger Games where only 1 person comes out alive and is thus crowned the victor. Names are drawn from the pool at an event that is called the reaping. Katniss’s younger sister Primrose Everdeen is the female chosen at the reaping along with Peeta Mallark (Josh Huterson). Katniss won’t allow this and volunteers herself to be part of the Hunger Games marking the 1st volunteer to enter the Hunger Games. The chosen are then taken to the capitol where they feed them, get the all gussied up and prepare them for battle. They, the chosen 24, are forced into an arena with limited supplies and cameras around every corner so that every moment is captured and televised to the rest of Panam. The warriors and common folk enter the arena and thus the killing begins. It is a game of kill or be killed. The game makers put fun little items in the arena to make things more interesting such as big dogs or bees filled with a fear toxin causing hallucinations. Katniss forms friendships and alliances with people from other districts and manages to stay alive throughout the first night. The game makers change the rules and announce that if two people from one district are left standing then they both can leave the Hunger Games. Great battles ensue and eventually it is Katniss and Peeta left from district 12. At this point they announce that only 1 victor will leave the arena throwing another monkey wrench in the mix. Katniss and Peeta have a plan of their own plan and have poisonous berries that killed one of the other participants. They each decide that instead of both coming out alive they would both eat and thus end the games without a victor. Just as they are about to do so they are interrupted and proclaimed the victors! The movie closes with Katniss and Peeta forming a strange relationship.
Catching Fire, the 2nd movie in the series, continues where the 1st left off and shows Katniss and Peeta making the rounds as the victors to the different districts. As you can imagine, these two people that emerged as victors, were not well received by the districts that had lost their citizens and loved ones. In district 11, where Katniss’s friend in the games Rue was from, they raise the sign to her that she gave at the games kissing her fingers and raising them in a boy scout manner as shown above. It is evident that a rebellion is building against the capitol and President Snow. Katniss is threatened by Snow telling her that she had better convince the other districts that she is in love with Peeta and that she did not defy him at the last Hunger Games or every body who she loves will be wiped out.
The Mocking Jay Part 1 is based around President Snow pulling some tyrant tricks again. He now declares that the 75th Hunger Games will be comprised of the victors from over the years. Naturally Katniss is the only female that has ever won the game from district 12 so she is chosen and her partner is Haymitch, Peeta couldn’t allow this to happen and volunteers himself as tribute. Once again they are forced into the games with a different game maker that involves more weather and wild beasts then before. These, the 75th Hunger Games, are abruptly interrupted by Katniss firing an electrified arrow at the top of the dome, thus frying the circuits and ending the games. The games end but the fire for the rebellion catches fire and Katniss is taken to the forgotten district 13. District 13 was once part of the districts but was destroyed by President Snow due to their lack of vision. District 13 had thus moved underground and out of the sight of the capitol and president. A rescue mission was conceived to rescue Peeta from the capitol. Once rescued and brought back to the underground rebel base, district 13, Peeta had to be restrained as he tried to kill Katniss. Part 1 ends with Peeta riling in pain in a hospital bed.
The exciting conclusion! I was pleasantly pleased that I didn’t have to wait an entire year to see this one as I just now watched Catching Fire and Mocking Jay Part 1 in preparation to see this movie at the theatres. I would have been upset because part 1 leaves quite a cliff hanger. That being said, part 2 picks up and continues the story with Peeta getting some much needed counseling and help. He is seen loosing control and attempting to kill Katniss and her friends in multiple scenes in the movie. Katniss stows away in a ship that is bringing medical supplies to the rebel front line in the capital. A team of warriors is found and Kitniss falls in line with secret plans to stow away with Gale and assassinate President Snow. President Snow on the other hand turns the attack into games, making pods all over the capital to trap and ensnare Katniss’s crew for pure entertainment and revenge. Kitniss ends up being the leader of this team as her team mates are taken out by these traps. One by one they are picked off and Kitniss storms the capital with Gale at her side. As she is about to be discovered by the peace keepers at the gates of President Snow’s palace bullets start flying and bombs start dropping. Katniss sees her sister Primrose at the front lines as a medic helping others right before the bomb start falling. The ships that dropped the bombs had capital logos on them so it assumed that President Snow dropped bombs on the crowds. President Snow is captured by the rebellion and kept inside of a green house. Katniss seeks him out as she has nothing else for her. President Snow informs her that it was not him that dropped the bombs but it was her precious rebellion framing him to unite the districts. At the head of the rebellion is President Coin (Julianne Moore). She brings an idea before the victors in a counsel to make another hunger games and have President Snow and his loyalists participate. Some vote yay and others nay with a final decision coming to Katniss and Hameth. Katniss tells the counsel that she will vote yes if she gets to kill President Snow 1st. At this point in the movie I was in awe how amazingly similar this new found democracy seemed just like the old one with a new president and new hunger games. They tie the dying President Snow up to a post in the colosseum and Katniss approaches with bow and arrow in hand. The audience looks on as she draws back her bow and suddenly aims higher and hits the leader of the rebellion, the newly self anointed President Coin in the heart and she falls over dead. Katniss is rushed out of there by troops and the people storm President Snow and assumingly kill him. The movie concludes with Katniss in a cell getting letters from the other friends of the rebellion letting her know that a true republic was now being formed. It was a republic where their new found leader would be voted in by the majority vote from the 13 districts. Katniss was allowed to go back to her district and live out her life.
I would highly recommend this great series that has so much action, adventure and cliff hangers. It does have disturbing images so it is not for the little ones. The mushy stuff isn’t that bad in it either and it is well written. It is suited for man and woman alike. This review junkie gives this series a solid 95% and two thumbs up.
The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 2