Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.
war and its cost—devouring both the unjust and the just
Every human life is valuable. The taking of lives is tragic.
What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer
the comment that it’s the things we love most that destroy us
bravery / courage / self-sacrifice
Evil governments, and our enemy the Devil, use FEAR to control people. How can we overcome that?
importance of personal freedom
dangers of big government control
What are the mechanics of totalitarian governments?
society in a repressive and controlled state, under the guise of being utopian
compare the film’s live televised spectacles to the ancient Roman Colosseum’s games and events, produced for public entertainment and political control
the trilogy’s coming constant battle for freedom against tyranny
media control and manipulation / What are the ways that media “play” the masses in the favor of those in control?
What is generally wrong with the way celebrity is created in our culture?
Are today’s youth being overexposed to contrived reality on television, leading to a detachment from images of others’ real pain and terror?
“What’s your relationship to reality TV versus your relationship to the news?”
Author Suzanne Collins says, “Too much of people’s lives are put on television, and we’re desensitised to actual tragedy unfolding before us.”
the importance of hope
Jennifer Lawrence … Katniss Everdeen
Josh Hutcherson … Peeta Mellark
Liam Hemsworth … Gale Hawthorne
Woody Harrelson … Haymitch Abernathy
Elizabeth Banks … Effie Trinket
Julianne Moore … President Alma Coin
Philip Seymour Hoffman … Plutarch Heavensbee
Jeffrey Wright … Beetee
Stanley Tucci … Caesar Flickerman
Donald Sutherland … President Snow
Toby Jones … Claudius Templesmith
Sam Claflin … Finnick Odair
Mahershala Ali … Boggs
See all »
See all »
“The courage of one will change the world”
When the first “…Hunger Games” came out, there was much discussion over its theme of kids killing kids, but when I saw the film I saw it was really about government control and about two simple kids who defy the system by loving one another. The second film went further, showing the fragility of governments which thrive on fear and distraction. The film ended with the beginning of a revolution. Now “Mockingjay Part 1” tells the story of that revolution. There is no “Hunger Games” in “Hunger Games III.”
The story begins immediately after the last film where Katnis Everdeen finds out that Peeta, one of her two possible love interest, is captured by the Capitol. Meanwhile, the rebels enlist Katnis as their symbol for the Revolution. She is to be their “Mockingjay”—a bird which has come to represent rebellion and revolution.
They begin making propaganda films and integrating Katnis into the rebels’ camp, but she continues to demand the rescue of Peeta, who many believe is now a traitor, because he, too, has been making propaganda videos… for the Capitol. Eventually. a rescue operation is undertaken to save Peeta and the other Hunger Games winners who were captured.
One good thing about “Mockingjay” is the simple fact that it is based on a book. Most Hollywood scripts are superficial and lack the depth of novels. “Mockingjay” offers intriguing thoughts on politics, love, propaganda, and the simple humanity of people caught up in history. None of the characters are simple. One of the leaders of the revolution is actually a man who suggested that the Capitol double its executions of rebels.
Likewise, Katnis is a reluctant leader. She never wanted to be a leader, which is what makes her right for the job. This is, also, why the film is believable. Whereas most Hollywood script writers would have made Katnis a tough feminist, Suzanne Collins wrote the story of a family girl who is thrust into history. Katnis only wants to live in peace with her family. She has no desire to prove her superiority to anyone.
One intriguing aspect of the film is the role of propaganda and advertising in modern politics and war. I have seen how the Internet has served to divide people politically, rather than bring us together. The media has massive power to sway the masses. A great deal of the film involves the “moves and countermoves” between the rebels and President Snow (the dictator). Much of this involves the pitting of Peeta against Katnis in video messages broadcast to the residents of Panem.
In terms of family friendliness, “Mockingjay” is naturally one which warrants caution. The violence is pervasive, but not bloody. Many skeletons, charred and wounded bodies, and other scenes of violence are seen throughout the film. After all, it is about revolution. However, the most violent scenes involve the results of torture upon Peeta and other rebels. Having said this, the violence is contextual and non-exploitive. In fact, there is a surprising lack of blood in the film, considering the premise. Anyone who has seen the first two films should have a good idea what to expect. In fact, I would hazzard to say that “Mockingjay” is the “least” disturbing of the films, but only in the context that the violence is not perpetuated by children, but by a corrupt government.
There is little in the way of sex, save a kiss. There is even a noticeable shortage of cleavage, as the characters are arrayed for battle, not seduction. There is, however, a scene where one of the characters reveals that he was forced into prostitution by the President. Language is also largely absent. One site reported hearing the s-word, although I missed it.
Overall, “Mockingjay” is a fine film based on a book which speaks to political issues and topics of the day—issues which are becoming all to relevant in the modern world. Like the previous films, “Mockingjay” has a depth lacking in the typical Hollywood script. It is not a happy film, but it is a film of substance. It is not for everyone, but it is a film for those who care about freedom of thought and rebellion against tyranny.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.