The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Blu-Ray Review

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The Movie: 7/10
Our hero, the young lady from District 12 is now the reluctant face of a rebellion she stumbled into one day on the way to The Hunger Games. Oh, you don’t know what that is? It’s a competition set up by the Capital of Panem to keep the masses under control. It’s a simple little game, children chosen from each district to go play a little game to the death. Last one standing becomes rich, famous, and a symbol/reminder of how the government has their thumb firmly planted on the population.

In this section of the overall story we go along with Katniss while she finds that inner strength and anger to become the spokesperson for the President of the revolution, Julianne Moore. It all sounds so interesting, and I did like the movie overall, it’s just that there was a certain disconnect with the whole “oh terrible overlords crushing the people into submission”. It’s not got the guts of having an actual hunger games, remember the kids killing each other, but we see the devastation of a whole district and the cruelty of the President of Panem as he declares war on our braided brave-hearted self-sacrificing sister.

I like the action, the plot is going in a direction I can kind of get behind. It’s just that the lack of believing in the relationships in this installment left me a bit blah. Peta is held in the capital, little Primm and the nameless mother are just barely hanging in there as vital characters, and that other guy, I can’t even remember his name. It’s all just a bit ungripping for me. I like Harrelson and the rest of the cast is fine, of course Elizabeth Banks is the best thing in the whole movie, possibly the whole series. She’s subdued without her colors and big outfits, but she makes me care about her, which is not easy in a movie where I’m feeling middle of the road about if I want all the humans to make it through to the end or not.

We get new characters and a more political note digging at our heals. Is the leader of the revolution a good woman or a bad woman? Is the leader of the oppressive regime going to let it all fall to pieces just to get the chance to obliterate our Katniss? These and more pressing questions to be answered with more of the story in Part II.

There is that, the other movie to come, the rest of the story, and I am hoping when I see it I will be fully satisfied. I know I’ll go back and watch it all again some day and maybe if I have a few glasses of wine and some delicious chocolate it will all seem a lot more heart wrenching, as any child killing, soul crushing, oppressive government, rebellion, uplifting (hopefully) theme should be.

Features: 10/10

  • Audio Commentary With Director Francis Lawrence & Producer Nina Jacobson – A very informative commentary the only thing missing is the star of the film.
  • The Mockingjay Lives: The Making Of MJ1 (2 Hours 14 Minutes) – An impressive lengthy documentary on the making of the movie, you can play all or watch the various chapters which include. Hope & Rebellion: Continuing The Saga, Designing Dystopia: Visual Aesthetic, Rebels & Warriors: The Cast, Fusing Form & Function: Costume, Makeup & Hair, Fighting The System: Shooting On Location, D13 Rebellion Tactics: Stunts & Special Effects, Perfecting Panem: The Post Production Process.
  • Straight From The Heart: A Tribute To Phillip Seymour Hoffman (11 Minutes) – A nice tribute to the late actor who passed away on Groundhog Day 2014.
  • Songs Of Rebellion: Lorde On Curating The Soundtrack (8 Minutes) – Lorde takes us through the tracks used in the film, I like her shes goofy in a good way.
  • Lorde Yellow Flicker Beat Music Video – The music video to the track used over the credits.
  • Deleted Scenes (11 Minutes) – A few deleted scenes, worth a watch just to see a little more of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s final onscreen appearances.
  • Insurgent Sneak Peek (4 Minutes) – The next big YA movie, this is basically a promotional piece.
  • DVD & UV Digital Copy

Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
The cover is fine, but not poster material for me. The menu is the menu.

Audio & Video: 9/10
MockingJay Part One comes to Blu-Ray courtesy of Lionsgate Films in a stunning 2:40:1 AVC transfer that equals the previous two movies. It’s clear that Lionsgate are technically adept as the fine detail especially on faces is breathtaking throughout the movie. MockingJay Part One is the darkest of the films so far and you would think that would cause problems such as black crush or loss in shadow detail, neither of those faults show up here in fact the movie looks pristine the entire runtime. What is most impressive is for such a dark piece filmed on an Arri digital camera there is little to no noise in the image.

The first time we heard Dolby Atmos on a home format was last years Transformers Age Of Extinction, The Hunger Games: MockingJay Part One also has a Atmos track that leaves standard Dolby Digital in the dust. It’s clear from the demo trailer that Dolby include that this movie has some serious surround sound action. Also included is a 7.1 surround headphone track which also sounds incredible, and on top of that a late night listening track that keeps all the explosions to a reasonable level. The Hunger Games has always been a technical showpiece on Blu-Ray and MockingJay Part One is no exception.

Overall Score 7/10