Film review: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1′

November 11, 2014 10:45 AM

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Film review: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1′

For the millions who have devoured Collins' bestselling trilogy and are awaiting this movie with an obsessive fervor equal to that of the most rabid "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" fans (who also had to see their beloved franchises end on a maddening two-part note), the only real source of suspense here lies in the crucial question of where exactly Collins' story has been cleaved in two. Rest assured, the decision has been made with near-Solomonic wisdom, allowing for just enough incident to sustain this relatively trim two-hour setup until its quasi-cliffhanger of an ending, while leaving several big twists to come in "Part 2" (due out Nov. 25, 2015), along with a presumably epic final showdown. Audiences coming to this film with no prior knowledge of the material, however, may feel their patience squeezed and their appetite for action a bit neglected; following the bright-hued battle-royale spectacle of its predecessors, "Mockingjay" reveals a darkening shift in mood, emphasis and color palette as it decisively exits the arena and literally burrows underground.

After shooting the fateful arrow that brought the Quarter Quell edition of the Hunger Games to a tumultuous close in "Catching Fire," Katniss (Lawrence) was rescued and brought to the ultra-secret District 13, a large, gray-walled subterranean bunker that houses a growing movement bent on uniting th...

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