“Mockingjay Part I” premiered on Nov. 21, and made $123 million its first weekend, making it the biggest money-making premiere of the year. Regardless, these numbers are still considered low in terms of “Hunger Games” revenue, as this is nearly $30 million less than the series’ two previous installments made on their respective opening weekends.
Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark), Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch Heavensbee) and Donald Sutherland (President Snow) reprised their roles in the film series, and were joined by Julianne Moore (President Coin).
“Mockingjay Part I” was fairly accurate in showing what fans of the book read, only tweaking a few things – mainly additions – to give the characters more depth. This is shown in Lawrence’s character talking directly to Sutherland’s, instead of having a broadcast to all the districts, about how she met Hutcherson’s character. In this scene, the script writers were able to incorporate more physicality to the hero’s swirling emotions.
Lawrence and Hutcherson were the standout actors in the movie, and not just because their characters are the leads. The two conveyed emotions that were more realistic than their acting in the movie franchise’s previous films.
Lawrence brought the character Katniss to life, especially in the scenes where she’s dreaming of Hutcherson’s character holding her, or in her first propaganda video after seeing the capital attack a hospital. Her almost-choked and angry tones really brought her character’s humanity to the forefront, emanating the pain and strength she has.
Hutcherson became his character entirely, even forcing himself to have real tears instead of using fake tear eye drops to create the illusion of crying. This gave his character an even stronger believability factor, and showed his strong points as an actor.
The other cast members were brilliant as well, with Sutherland and Moore portraying the dominance of their characters’ presidential personalities, Hemsworth displaying the sentiments of the “other guy” in the love triangle, and Hoffman playing up his leadership role in the rebellion, trying to be a voice of reason and go-between to keep peace between Lawrence and Moore’s characters.
The movie ended with a nice tribute to the late Hoffman, who died at age 46 before the end of filming for the series’ last movie. The production crew are using technology to complete his role in the final film, “Mockingjay Part II,” which is set to come out in November of 2015 to conclude the series.