Known to be among the films with the highest worldwide opening, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1" is the third installment of the “Hunger Games” film series. Directed by Francis Lawrence, this sci-fi film portrays the first part of the novel "Mockingjay," the final book in the "Hunger Games" trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. Produced and distributed by Lionsgate, it is considered to be the production company’s most internationally distributed film.
Continuing the story of “Catching Fire,” main character Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and some of her friends survived the last two “Hunger Games” and finally reaches District 13, where her family is currently residing. Persuaded by rebel leader President Coin (Julianne Moore), and with the advice of her friends, Katniss becomes the “Mockingjay” and lead a mass rebellion against the Capitol. She agrees to do so with the condition that her on-screen partner Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and the other victors be rescued. The story proceeds on telling Katniss’ development as the “Mockingjay” and the start of the army’s rebellion against the Capitol.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” was released in the United States on Nov.21, 2014. Earlier releases on different countries included Nov. 19, 2014 in Brazil and Nov. 20, 2014 in Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Greece, and Indonesia. It was later released in India on Nov. 28, 2014 and is also set for release in January 2015 in China.
The film had a worldwide opening of $273.8 million. This made “Mockingjay” the sixteenth largest movie opening of all time and of the “Hunger Games” franchise. As of Nov. 30, 2014, the movie has grossed $225,693,000 in North America and $254,400,000 in international views, thus totalling to $480,093,000. The movie also became known to be the most anticipated movie in Fandango's list of most-anticipated films of 2014.
The movie generally received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 66 percent approval rating. James Berardinelli of ReelViews describes the movie to be “as grim as PG-13 can get; the darkness is comparable to that of “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Meanwhile, Joe Morgenstern of Wall Street Journal says that “Mockingjay is a rare bird in its genre, an action adventure with an interesting mind and a resonant spirit.” Justin Chang of Variety comments on the film series’ two-part finale “get[ting] under way in solid, absorbing if not exactly inspired fashion.”
In contrast, Richard Corliss of the TIME Magazine thinks that the movie is rather dragging, saying that “the two-hour foot-soldier slog through Mockingjay Part 1 forces audiences into mostly wasteful waiting for something special to happen.” Rafer Guzman of Newsday thinks that Lawrence’s character “…mostly holsters her weapons and plays dress-up, just as the movie itself gives up any higher aspirations of offering social commentary or insight.”
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