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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part - 1 Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by on Mar 05, 2015
Rating: 5 Star Rating

As the Hunger Games saga continues, Kidzworld reviews the exciting Mockingjay Part - 1 Blu-ray. It’s packed with extras!

By: Lynn Barker

 At the beginning of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part - 1, heroine Katniss Everdeen is exhausted mentally and physically after permanently destroying the games with one well-placed arrow. She’s lost Peeta to the Capitol and is being sheltered in the mysterious District 13. She’s being forced to lead a Panem-wide rebellion and you thought your life was a pressure cooker! 

Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) sees the hospital destroyedKatniss (Jennifer Lawrence) sees the hospital destroyedCourtesy of Lionsgate

Story Goes

After wrecking The Hunger Games forever, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) was rescued by rebellion leaders headquartering in District 13. Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Finnick (Sam Claflin) are there along with a “de-glammed” Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), slightly toned-down Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), tech whiz Beetee (Jeffrey Wright) and Katniss’s mom and sis Prim (Willow Shields). Missing and captured by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) are Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Johanna (Jena Malone) and Finnick’s long-lost girlfriend Annie (Stef Dawson). 

Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) gives his pitch in the CapitolPeeta (Josh Hutcherson) gives his pitch in the CapitolCourtesy of Lionsgate

Katniss is in very bad emotional shape but 13’s President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), with rebellion PR leader Plutarch Heavensbee (the late Philip Seymour Hoffman), is determined to force her to lead their rebellion and appear in videos as the Mockingjay inciting the districts to war against the Capitol. After seeing the total destruction of her beloved District 12, Katniss is in.

Coin and Heavensbee plan the rebellionCoin and Heavensbee plan the rebellionCourtesy of Lionsgate

After she discovers that Peeta and other victors are being held prisoner in the Capitol, Katniss tells Coin she will be the Mockingjay only if they are rescued. With Gale by her side, she visits the districts. After witnessing a hospital full of helpless injured rebels bombed by Capitol planes, Katniss shoots a rousing video to the districts telling Snow that she and the people will never back down.

Katniss at the doomed hospitalKatniss at the doomed hospitalCourtesy of Lionsgate

Katniss and Gale share a quiet moment but he realizes that Peeta has all her attention now. She learns how valiantly Gale struggled to save those he could when 12 was destroyed. District 13 is bombed by Snow’s military but Katniss and the others take refuge deep underground and survive. Gale and the team rescue Peeta, Johanna and Annie. Gale says that Snow just let them all go. Peeta is weak and in horrible condition. Can he recover? Whose team is he really on now? Stay tuned for Part 2 next year!

Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Katniss go into battleGale (Liam Hemsworth) and Katniss go into battleCourtesy of Lionsgate

Special Features

  • The Mockingjay Lives: The Making of Mockingjay – Part 1 is an amazing 8-part, movie length documentary that is one of the most comprehensive I’ve ever seen on home video. Subjects covered are choosing the director, deciding where the book would be split for films, designing the look of the film, picking locations in three countries, picking the new cast, designing make-up and creating costumes, doing special visual effects, shooting on location, stunts, all post production including music, editing and sound design and looking forward to Mockingjay 2.
  • Throughout this doc are scenes of on set action and fun and plenty of cool actor interviews, We watch Jennifer help the crew spread thousands of roses in Snow’s bomb crater, Jen and Josh roll around on the floor goofing off before their intense “I’m gonna kill you” scene. Etc.  If you are a fan, you will love every interesting minute of this step-by-step breakdown of the creation of the movie. Well done!
  • Straight from the Heart: A tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman – Various cast members and filmmakers talk about working with the late, great actor who played Heavensbee. Very touching and well done.
  • Songs of Rebellion: Lorde on Curating the Soundtrack – is a very complete look at the music artist Lorde with her interview covering her own feelings about the Hunger Games films, how she chose various artists to contribute to Mockingjay’s soundtrack and her reasons for her musical choices in her video for “Yellow Flicker Beat”. If you enjoy the artist or even the film’s overall score, you’ll love this extra.

Mockingjay Part - 1 SoundtrackMockingjay Part - 1 SoundtrackCourtesy of Republic Records

“Yellow Flicker Beat” – the entire music video – cool.

  • Deleted Scenes – There are several short ones but the most enjoyable is an omitted scene in which Snow calls the captured Peeta into his office to convince him to willingly speak against the rebellion. Great scene.
  • Audio Commentary – with the director and producer is interesting as they speak on changes they made from the book and why, their various casting choices, what was shot where. Mostly, a good listen.

Wrapping Up

Mockingjay Part - 1 is everything the fans of the books and films expect and more. Yes, it will seem unfinished, especially to newbies trying to follow the story, but it has to be so. Watching teen heroine Katniss transform from country girl/huntress to accomplished rebel leader has never been so satisfying. Acting is great throughout and the film looks amazing with eye-popping and true-to-story production design.

Snow (Donald Sutherland) at his deskSnow (Donald Sutherland) at his deskCourtesy of Lionsgate

The film effectively puts out the call to all, especially tweens and teens, to speak out for what they believe in, stand up and be counted and that, as author Suzanne Collins intended, is inspiring. You will recognize even more of a satire on our public obsession with the media, our tendency to fall victim to political propaganda than ever which gives the film deeper meaning than the usual YA angst. 

Katniss discovers that Snow has left her a roseKatniss discovers that Snow has left her a roseCourtesy of Lionsgate

This Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is well worth adding to your collection. The video and audio is sharp and effective and the extras are simply great! As a fan of the novels and films, I was very satisfied and for newbies, watching the “making of” documentary is like a very engrossing class in filmmaking. It’s a win/win. We liked the film in theaters and we give this thorough home entertainment version five stars. 

Mockingjay Part - 1 Blu-ray Rating:5

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part - 1 Blu-rayThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part - 1 Blu-rayCourtesy of Lionsgate

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part - 1 is now available on Blu-ray & DVD!