The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay-Part 1: What Are the Critics Saying?

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The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay-Part 1 is out today, and most of Katniss’ loyal fans will be lining up for tickets no matter what the critics say. Still, it’s good to temper your expectations with reality and know exactly what will excite or disappoint you as a fan of the book. Are the special effects a perfect complement to the narrative or do they over power it? Are the actors easing into their roles more and more, or have their performances gotten wooden with repetition? Check out what five of top critics had to say.

The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay-Part 1 Reviews

The Wall Street Journal thinks the film bucks its action genre with smart acting, though it won’t disappoint action fans.

“And what of the action component? It’s sufficient and occasionally exciting, as in one moment of desperation when Katniss tries to bring down a swooping fighter plane with her bow and arrow. Still, the action is clearly subordinate to preparations for what will be, in the fourth and final film of the series, a climactic battle between contending forces—those of President Snow, the dictator played with fragrant as well as flagrant evil by Donald Sutherland, and the rebels led by Katniss in her role of Mockingjay, the defiant symbol of the revolution.”

The New York Times praises it for remaining an enjoyable, well made film under the weight of expectations and the success of the franchise.

“Each “Hunger Games” movie makes so much noise — it’s where the deafening clamor of commerce meets the roar of true fan love — that it’s a wonder you can detect the human heartbeat under the tumult. But it’s there, thumping and sometimes racing in a franchise that, more than most industrial movies and even putative indies, speaks to both its audience and its time. There’s heart in the vague yet stirring liberation story that comes to the fore in this chapter and that’s echoed in real-life struggles around the world. And it’s there, of course, in Katniss, the backwoods savior who, as played with guileless appeal by Jennifer Lawrence, is mounting an attack on the forces of oppression.”

The A.V. Club criticizes the films pacing, suggesting dividing the final book into two movies hasn’t translated well for this first half.

“Katniss, as it turns out, isn’t the only one facing new obstacles: The makers of this surefire smash have erected their own daunting hurdle, and that’s the difficulty in finding a way to cleave one self-contained tome—the final book in Suzanne Collins’ bestselling trilogy—into two satisfying installments. This is the future of big-budget filmmaking, a Hollywood hustle to turn profitable source material into multi-movie investments. It’s good for business but bad for drama, and the inelegantly titled Mockingjay—Part 1suffers from an unavoidable sense of anticlimax. It doesn’t build to an ending so much as just eventually grind to a halt, like a video game demanding more quarters to continue playing.”

Time Out London praises the film for handing the complexity of its subject and delivering an ever powerful protagonist.

“The politics of ‘Mockingjay’ are as intensely gripping as the games in the earlier films – and more deadly. And for a film targeting teen girls, who will be half-watching, half-texting their mates to tell them that they’re watching, ‘Mockingjay’ might just have more to say about the ethical ambiguities of war than Brad Pitt’s pseudo-thinking war drama ‘Fury’ (the book’s author Suzanne Collins is an army brat). Is the fight against the Capitol unavoidable? Can the rebels be trusted to do the right thing if they take power? And best of all, in Katniss ‘The Hunger Games’ has one of the all-time great heroines: strong, smart, stubborn, angry and full of heart.”

New York Magazine singles out Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as a highlight of the film.

“A part with this much sobbing, hand-wringing, and mournful gazing into the middle distance could be, in the wrong hands, a laugh riot, but Lawrence’s instincts are so smart that she never goes even a shade overboard. She’s a hell of an actress. Her adorable clumsiness in life suggests a reason she’s convincing onscreen: Spontaneity is all. She sings here, in a lovely, cracked voice with a touch of bluesiness, sounding as unaffected as when she speaks.”
 
 
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Your Typical Thursday Night Pregame, As Told By the Kardashians
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