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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
PHOTOGRAPHY

MOCKINGJAY Part 1

Blu-ray Review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS: 123 minutes, audio commentary, making-of documentary, featurettes, deleted scenes, Lorde music video, Insurgent Sneak Peak and trailer, DVD, digital HD copy

VIDEO:  2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition

AUDIO: English Dolby TrueHD Atmos Mix, English 2.0 Dolby Digital for Late Night Listening, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, DTS Headphone Audio Track, English Descriptive Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish

 

STUDIO: Lionsgate/ Color Force

Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 11-21-2014

Blu-ray/ DVD RELEASE DATE: 3-6-2015

STARRING Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Julianne Moore, Donald Sutherland, Jeffrey Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Josh Hutcherson, Sam Caflin, Elizabeth Banks

Adapted from the book MOCKINJAY by Suzanne Collins

Screenplay by Danny Strong and Peter Craig

DIRECTED by Francis Lawrence

 

MOCKINGJAY Part 1 is a good adaptation of the weakest book in THE HUNGER GAMES book series and the changes helps improve on the book.   Even though some complain about the pacing of the movie, I do think it is a better book to adapt as two movies than BREAKING DAWN (which should have always been a one movie adaptation).  Also Part 1 acts as a slow burn for what is to come as THE HUNGER GAMES movie series will conclude next year with HE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY Part 2.

 

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is taken to an underground facility in the believed-to-be-destroyed District 13 where she is introduced to President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) who wants Katniss to become the Mockingjay to keep the tide of rebellion from the other Districts up against the Capital and President Snow (Donald Sutherland).   Katniss’ actions in the last two Hunger Games have sparked riots.   President Snow is somehow using Peeta in a propaganda effort to squash the rebels which convinces Katniss to join in District 13’s effort to stop the Capital.  Also seeing District 12 being leveled by firebombs goes a long way in convincing Katniss.    She becomes a part of the District 13 propaganda effort (under the guidance of Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final film role and you will probably see more of him in Part 2) against the propos effort from the Capital.

 

MOCKINGJAY Part 1 is a darker turn for THE HUNEGR GAMES series where it paints the larger picture of what everyone else is doing where the first two films were mainly Katniss vs. President Snow.  Her actions helped set the stage for what we see in the two part MOCKINGJAY.    I do say this adaptation is an improvement on the book where you get to see the events beyond the POV of Katniss (as it is in the books).  I do hope they improve on the ending of the third book for MOCKINGJAY Part 2.   I think it is interesting to see the war propaganda effort from both sides and what all the players in it are doing.   I can’t wait to see how it all plays out and how the narrative will play out when Part 1 and 2 of MOCKINGJAY are watched back to back.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

DISC 1 (Blu-ray)-

Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson

 

THE MOCKINGJAY LIVES: THE MAKING OF MJ1 documentary:

HOPE AND REBELLION: CONTINUING THE SAGA- introduction to making MOCKINGJAY as two movies and getting Francis Lawrence back as director for the final two movies.

DESIGNING DYSTOPIA: VISUAL AESTHETIC- production design of MOCKINGJAY Part 1

REBELS AND WARRIORS: THE CAST- interviews with the cast

FUSING FORM AND FUNCTION: COSTUME, MAKE-UP & HAIR- a look at the costume design, hair and make-up as the crew bring the look of District 13, the Mockingjay outfit for Katniss, and other characters to life

D13: REBELLION TACTICS: STUNTS & SPECIAL EFFECTS- behind-the-scenes look at the stunts and the visual effects (which were used to enhance locations and the Mockingjay craft).

PERFECTING PANEM: THE POST-PRODUCTION PROCESS- the most interesting thing I got from here is where they decided to end the movie and how they could have ended it a scene sooner (which thankfully they didn’t)

TAKING BACK OUR FUTURE: REFLECTIOSN AND LOOKING FORWARD

 

STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART: A TRIBUTE TO PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN- cast and crew reflect on their memories of the actor and his talent

SONGS OF REBELLION: LORDE ON CURATING THE SOUNDTRACK-

LORDE- YELLOW FLICKER BEAT music video

 

Nine deleted scenes which could easily be re-inserted for a longer TV cut, but I think they were cut for pacing reasons and all (but one scene) have finished effects work and music score.

 

INSURGENT SNEAK PEAK and INSUREGENT trailer

 

DSISC 2 (DVD)-

MOCKINGJAY PART 1 in Standard Definition

 

Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson

 

Nine deleted scenes which could easily be re-inserted for a longer TV cut, but I think they were cut for pacing reasons and all (but one scene) have finished effects work and music score.

 

INSURGENT SNEAK PEAK and INSUREGENT trailer

 

DISC 3 (DVD- Target Bonus Disc)-

RUBBLE AND ASHES- concept art, the production design, and filming of District 13 in low ceiling sets and parking garages

UTILITARIAN CHIC- all about the costumes design and make-up featuring interviews with Face-Off’s Vie Neill and Glenn Hetrick

THE PROPOS TEAM- all about the propos team- interviews with the actors who play the characters

COMBAT ZONES: STUNTS- a behind-the-scenes look at the stunts

 

Code to stream and download a Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy of MOCKINGJAY PART 1

 

WHAT’S MISSING FROM THE EXTRAS:

The trailers for MOCKINGJAY PART 1 and the Propaganda trailers for President Snow and the Rebels

 

No subtitles for any of the special features

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  MOCKINJAY Part 1 has some great special features like the deleted scenes and a well-put together making-of documentary, but I do wish they included all of the promos and trailers for the movie.   The movie does improve on the source material and I can’t wait to see MOCKINGJAY Part 2.

 

This review is 3-11-2014 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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